Tag Archives: parenting

Why We Need to Challenge the Pronatalist Offspring Assumption by Laura Carroll

Why We Need to Challenge the Pronatalist “Offspring Assumption”

By Laura Carroll

On June 22-24, 2012, the Rio+20 Conference occurred in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Government delegates from all over the world talked about findings from an analysis done by a group of international scientists that deserve all of our attention. The scientists report that the Earth is in a “critical transition,” and reaching a “tipping point” when it comes to irreversible destruction of the global environment.

What are the problems that are bringing the mounting pressure on the Earth’s environmental health? “Unchecked population growth, the disappearance of critical plant and animal species, the over-exploitation of energy resources, and the rapidly warming climate.”

And if it continues the way it’s been going, according to the lead scientist Anthony Barnosky,  the Earth could reach this tipping point at a “time scale of a century or even a few decades.”

As David Perlman writes in the San Francisco Chronicle article, “Close to the Tipping Point of Warming, ” the problems include:

– “Rapid growth in the world’s human population – to 9 billion by 2050 and possibly 27 billion by the end of the century – is quickly consuming available resources.”

-Fossil fuels are being burned at a “rapidly increasing rate.”

-Vast”dead zones” in the ocean (where there are no fish) are growing.

-Loss of biodiversity on land – “40% of Earths land mass was once biodiverse, and now, it “contains far fewer species of crop plants and domestic animals.”

-Loss of animal and plant species – we are seeing more extinctions than ever before.

-The impacts of the rising global temperature – in the next 60 years, it will be “higher than it has been since humans evolved.”

To slow or reverse the critical transition we are in, the scientists urge “international cooperation to slow population growth, curb dependence on fossil fuels, increase the efficiency of food production, and manage both lands and oceans as reservoirs of biodiversity.”

What do we need more of at an individual level?  When it comes to decisions to bring more children into the world, as David Paxson, President of World Population Balance, insightfully puts it, we have to come to terms with the fact that we are now in a time where “a person’s biological right to have children must be mediated by his or her social responsibility not to have too many.”

As the Offspring Assumption chapter discusses in The Baby Matrix, given the population and environmental realities we face, it is time to challenge pronatalism’s assumption that we all have the right to have as many biological children as we want.  We need to shift from a mindset that adulates the birth if another child, to one that hold couples who choose to adopt, or have one or no biological child in the highest regard. Why? Because they are doing their part to mitigate the catastrophic impact of a rapidly growing population on resource decline, rather than what they might personally want first.

The Baby Matrix also address why we need to do some serious rethinking about the supposed problems with having only one child and negative myths about adopting, and how policies need to change so that rather than encouraging births, they provide incentive to reduce biological births.

It’s time to shift away from pronatalist offspring assumptions that harm our society and natural environment. Each person’s existence has an environmental impact, which affects other humans and other species. We’ve reached a time, even the tipping point, to where it is up to all of us to choose reproductive action that lessens that impact.

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Laura Carroll is the author of The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction will Create a Better World, Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice, and Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out.

In addition to writing nonfiction books, she has worked over the last 15 years as a business and litigation psychology consultant and used her expertise in behavioral sciences, psychology, and communications to advise business, legal, and nonprofit professionals on their communications strategies and goals.

Laura is a seasoned leader of personal and professional development seminars, and has appeared on a variety of television shows, including Good Morning America and The Early Show. She has been a guest on many radio talk shows to discuss social science topics.

You’ll also find her online at her nonfiction book site, LiveTrue Books, and her top blog, La Vie Childfree.

To get your copy of The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Matrix-Parenthood-Reproduction/dp/0615642993/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1339007434&sr=8-2

Pick up your ebook copy at Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-baby-matrix-laura-carroll/1110625478

To get your e-copy of The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll for your Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Matrix-Reproduction-ebook/dp/B0081HSF3S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339007434&sr=8-1

To learn more about Laura, go to her website: http://lauracarroll.com/

Visit Laura Carroll on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/LauraCarroll88

Like Laura Carroll on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheBabyMatrix

Find out all about The Baby Matrix at Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13641241-the-baby-matrix

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THE BABY MATRIX: Interview with Laura Carroll on Parenthood, Reproduction and New Book

Laura Carroll is the author of The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction will Create a Better World, Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice, and Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out.

In addition to writing nonfiction books, she has worked over the last 15 years as a business and litigation psychology consultant and used her expertise in behavioral sciences, psychology, and communications to advise business, legal, and nonprofit professionals on their communications strategies and goals.

Laura is a seasoned leader of personal and professional development seminars, and has appeared on a variety of television shows, including Good Morning America and The Early Show. She has been a guest on many radio talk shows to discuss social science topics.

You’ll also find her online at her nonfiction book site, LiveTrue Books, and her top blog, La Vie Childfree.

To get your copy of The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Matrix-Parenthood-Reproduction/dp/0615642993/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1339007434&sr=8-2

Pick up your ebook copy at Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-baby-matrix-laura-carroll/1110625478

To get your e-copy of The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll for your Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Matrix-Reproduction-ebook/dp/B0081HSF3S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339007434&sr=8-1

To learn more about Laura, go to her website: http://lauracarroll.com/

Visit Laura Carroll on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/LauraCarroll88

Like Laura Carroll on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheBabyMatrix

Find out all about The Baby Matrix at Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13641241-the-baby-matrix

___________________________________________________

Q: Thank you for this interview, Laura. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Baby Matrix is all about?

The Baby Matrix looks at long-held beliefs about parenthood and reproduction, and unravels why we believe what we believe. It boils down to a set of beliefs that has influenced society for generations called “pronatalism.” So many of the beliefs that make up pronatalism have become so embedded we think they are “true,” yet are not, and negatively affect us, individually and collectively. The Baby Matrix lays out what is true, and explains why society can no longer afford to leave pronatalism unquestioned.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for your book?

My previous book, Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice, received international attention and paved the way for me to become an expert on the childfree choice.  After its publication, I wanted to delve deeper and get to the core of why society finds this choice hard to fully accept. My research led me down a path to not only talk to many more childfree, but to parents, those who want to be parents but are not by circumstance, and the child “less,” — those who want children but do not have them.

The path got even more interesting when it led me to “pronatalism” and to the surprising fact that most people remain unaware of it. Realizing this along with seeing how much pronatalism does a disservice to society fueled the fire to write this book!

Q: What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book?

I dug into lots of books and many research studies, and talked to subject matter experts. Sometimes the research turned into interesting detective work. For example, in researching the historical origins of pronatalism, I found books that were over 30 years old. I tried to find the authors, and after quite the hunt, found some authors, but learned others had passed away. This was not a dead end however; like with any book, there is magic that happens along the way. For those I did not find, I found others who ended up taking me in the direction my research needed to go.

Q: If a reader can come away from reading your book with one valuable message, what would that be?

Question what you have been taught to believe about having children! Understanding, questioning and letting go of pronatalist beliefs will make for better parenthood decisions, not just for ourselves, but for our loved ones, society and our world.

Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?

This excerpt is from the Introduction:

“It’s time to take another hard look at pronatalism. Many people have begun to question its tenets, and rightly so. They are waking up to the fact that this set of implicit assumptions furthers the agendas of power structures such as the church, state, and industry—not individuals. They are questioning how they’ve been unconsciously influenced to accept beliefs that ultimately serve others’ agendas, and how this negatively impacts not just themselves but people from all walks of life. Pronatalist assumptions dictate how we’re supposed to follow the “normal path” to adulthood. They also put unwarranted pressure on us to have biological children (and the “right” number of them), fail to foster a society in which those who are best suited to become parents are the ones who have children, and do a disservice to children who are already here in need of loving homes. The assumptions also result in inequitable workplace and tax policies that favor parents over people with no children. And they work against leaving future generations a better world.

It’s time for all of us to understand why we can no longer afford to leave pronatalist assumptions unquestioned and why now is the time to transition to a “post” pronatal society.

Q: In your own experience, is it hard to get a nonfiction book published today?  How did you do it?

Getting a book published in the traditional way remains very competitive. However, more than ever, authors can get great work out there without having to solely rely on the traditional publishing route.  With the digital book world the way that it is today, I decided to self-publish The Baby Matrix. I worked with excellent freelance editors, an interior design and cover artist to develop the book. And I’ve had the help of great digital and other media publicity experts for savvy promotion.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

I greet the day with dark roasted coffee, and get news from a variety of sources. I work on website management and book promotion for most of the morning. At mid-day, I do some sort of physical activity–a walk, yoga, aerobics or resistance training. I always devote a good part of the afternoon to the current book I am working on. In the evenings, I love to cook!

Q: What’s next for you?

I am definitely percolating on my next book, but am primarily focusing on getting The Baby Matrix message out there right now. I will say the next book will be nonfiction as always, be about my quest for the answer to a question I am passionate about, and include something I love to do in developing my books-interview lots of people!

Thank you so much for this interview, Laura.  We wish you much success!

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The Joy of Working with Children

The Joy of Working with Children

by Emma Piers

I’ve always loved working with children, which really started many years ago, when I went and helped as a classroom assistant in my children’s primary school. It was a wonderful education watching and learning the varying ways that the children absorbed information. These children were fortunate in attending a school where the wellbeing of the child was primary, and learning secondary. Very different to the ways in which my peers and I were taught!

During the interim years, I’ve become deeply concerned with the rise of endless league tables and learning models based on ‘achievement by comparison.’  I believe these forms of ‘testing’ start at an inappropriately early age, when children should be allowed to enjoy the playfulness and fun of learning, and simply being in the world. During my later work as Special educational needs coordinator and counsellor, I was becoming aware of the increasing volume of children with various emotional issues, showing up in our little department. This was simply a mirror of a broader malaise sweeping through our country. Children are being placed under increasing pressure as they struggle to fit into one size fits all learning systems. Combine these learning approaches with personal issues, like coping with loss through bereavement, or crippling feelings of anxiety and depression, or confusion and despair through watching their parents separating, and you have a simmering cauldron with a loosely fitting lid. In our work, my partner and I are developing ways of facilitating both adults and children become calm, happy and self confident from inside out.

Our current book, the first in a series, is targeted to help children access their own inner reservoir of contentment and happiness, so that they don’t develop an imbalanced need for approval, control or stability as they develop; allowing harmonious flow instead.

Emma Piers is an author, wellbeing coach and narrator. She lives in rural Dorset in the UK with her life/working partner Mark Turner. Emma was born in a rambling old vicarage in Kent, in 1958. Her father was a vicar, and she had two siblings. During her early years, the family moved five times. During these years, Emma developed a deep love and sense of connectedness with the natural world around her. Walking and writing stories about mythical creatures and people became a big preoccupation, alongside a love of English that was instilled in her by two teachers who were both passionate about their subject. As a counter balance, she managed to fail her Maths ‘O’ level three times. Friendships came and went with five different schools in short succession being attended. A working year exploring the USA and France was followed by another year feeling out of place in a technical college studying pitman script, shorthand typing and profit and loss accounts. Many years and several homes later, after her younger child started grammar school, Emma started studying counselling and creative writing. After a number of years in counselling practice, and travels in Australia, Emma’s more recent studies are encompassing both traditional therapeutic and mythological storytelling. This form of storytelling incorporates understandings of the holistic ways in which human and environment interact.

Her latest book is Night Knight: Therapeutic Bedtime Stories.

You can visit her website at www.emmapiers.com.

 

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