The Parenthood Dilemma: Procreation in the Age of Uncertainty (Hardcover)

The Parenthood Dilemma: Procreation in the Age of Uncertainty By Gina Rushton Cover Image

The Parenthood Dilemma: Procreation in the Age of Uncertainty (Hardcover)

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Our Culture Magazine Best Book of 2023

“Rushton's work is generous, thoughtful, and honest, taking care neither to romanticize nor to disparage the choice to become a parent.”
—Jenny Hamilton, Booklist (starred review)

A bold feminist investigation into the mother of all questions; whether or not to become a parent in these turbulent times.


Should we become parents?

This timeless question forces us to reckon with who we are and what we love and fear most in ourselves, in our relationships, and in the world as it is now and as it will be.

When Gina Rushton admitted she had little time left to make the decision for herself, the magnitude of the choice overwhelmed her. Her search for her own “yes” or “no” only uncovered more questions to be answered. How do we clearly consider creating a new life on a planet facing catastrophic climate change? How do we reassess the gender roles we have been assigned at birth and by society? How do we balance ascending careers with declining fertility? How do we know if we’ve found the right co-parent, or if we want to go it alone, or if we don’t want to do it at all?

To seek clarity on these questions, Rushton spoke to doctors, sociologists, economists, and ethicists, as well as parents and childless people of all ages and from around the world. Here, she explores and presents policies, data, and case studies from people who have made this decision—one way or the other—and shows how the process can be revelatory in discovering who we are as individuals.

Drawing on the depth of knowledge afforded by her body of work as an award-winning journalist on the abortion beat, Rushton wrote the book that she needed, and we all need, to stop a panicked internal monologue and start a genuine dialogue about what we want from our lives and why.
Gina Rushton is a reproductive rights and women’s health reporter and editor whose work has been published in BuzzFeed News, The Guardian, Vogue, Associated Press, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Monthly. This is her first book.
Product Details ISBN: 9781662602382
ISBN-10: 1662602383
Publisher: Astra House
Publication Date: September 5th, 2023
Pages: 224
Language: English
"Moving . . . Showing equal kindness and compassion."
Jessica Winter, The New Yorker

“Rushton's work is generous, thoughtful, and honest, taking care neither to romanticize nor to disparage the choice to become a parent.”
—Jenny Hamilton, Booklist (starred review)

"Rushton is asking a question that is likely to resonate with anyone paying attention: "I want to know how people parent without living in permanent denial or perpetual dread." [ . . . ] The Parenthood Dilemma, in its inability (or perhaps refusal) to offer a black-and-white response to a complex, messy inquiry, may actually be an answer in and of itself, inviting insight, reflection, and comfort."
Kerry McHugh, Shelf Awareness

"As a woman who struggled with whether or not to have a child, I appreciated Gina Rushton's The Parenthood Dilemma immensely. I loved the beautifully written introspection and the meticulous reporting around considerations like climate change, fertility, genes, and reproductive rights -- even as Rushton comes to understand that ‘no one is going to write the ending for me.’ I hate the term ‘must-read,’ but damn it, everyone considering having kids in this chaotic era should read this book." 
—Amber Sparks, author of And I Do Not Forgive You

"Gina Rushton brings her forensic journalistic eye to the question of whether we choose to be a mother or not. This is an honest, compelling, well-researched book that makes a valuable contribution to the contemporary discussion about reproductive choices and rights in a nuanced and thoughtful way." 
—Dr. Pragya Agarwal, author of Sway and (M)otherhood

"With a journalist’s doggedness, a philosopher’s scope, and a thirtysomething woman’s sense of a deadline looming, Gina Rushton rips back the sentimental gauze of motherhood to confront a question as urgent as it is unmentionable: Should I -- should anyone -- bring a child into a world on fire? For parents and non-parents alike, this book is a call to arms to build a fairer, freer, more sustainable, and more truly feminist future."
—Joanna Scutts, author of Hotbed and The Extra Woman

"A fiercely intelligent meditation on the decision to have a child, and an interrogation of all that modern motherhood entails."
—Leah Hazard, author of Womb: The Inside Story of Where We All Began and Hard Pushed: A Midwife's Story

"Gina Rushton reports unflinchingly from the disjunction between received wisdoms about motherhood and received realities that continue to constrict the choices of women of her generation. A significant and vital book; a must-read." 
—Sarah Krasnostein, author of The Believer

"The Parenthood Dilemma changed the way I view my life, myself, and the way I relate to the world. I say that without exaggeration. This is a vital, necessary read not just for those considering parenthood but for anyone who wants to live a more conscious, compassionate life and to more deeply understand the relation between individual and community, human and climate, and between our present lives and the past and future."
—Emma Bolden, author of The Tiger and the Cage: A Memoir of a Body in Crisis

"A vigorous interrogation of one of the most significant decisions of our lives. Exceptionally clever, unfearing, and tender. An important addition to a growing body of contemporary literature that examines the intersection between our personal lives and global justice."
—Alice Kinsella, author of Milk: On Motherhood and Madness

"A smart and insightful exploration of parenthood – both personal and political – that’s sure to move, stir and inspire."
—Chloë Ashby, author of Second Self and Wet Paint

"A passionate and punchy exploration of modern parenthood, mixing memoir with journalism, the personal and the political. A propulsive and powerful read."
—Sam Mills, author of Fragments of my Father and Chauvo-Feminism: On Sex, Power & #MeToo