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, Laura Carroll 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.
Ms. Carroll 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.
Laura and her husband reside in San Francisco, CA.
Could you please tell us a bit about your book?
The Baby Matrix looks at why it is time for us to take a hard look at a set of beliefs that has influenced how we have thought about parenthood and reproduction for generations. That set of beliefs is called “pronatalism.” At its core is the belief that having children should be the central focus of every adult’s life. This book:
• examines the historical origins of pronatalist beliefs
• explains why these beliefs have become so embedded such that people see them as “true”
• scrutinizes seven major pronatalist assumptions that lead people to accept them without question
• offers alternative mindsets that reflect realities, true reproductive freedom and responsibility in today’s society
• gives readers ways to make post-pronatal mindsets come alive in their lives
Whether readers are already parents, want to be parents, or don’t want children, they will never think about parenthood in the same way. Without compromise, The Baby Matrix is a reality check for us all. Are we willing to hold on to beliefs that aren’t necessarily true … even to our detriment? This book will make you examine your own intentions and beliefs, will rile you, and might just change your mind.
The Baby Matrix is a must-read for anyone interested in psychology, sociology, anthropology, parenting issues, environmentalism, and social justice. But most of all, it’s for anyone, parent or not, who reveres the truth and wants the best for themselves, their families, and our world.
How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?
In the movie, The Matrix, the “matrix” is something that feels so real to people but we find out it is not reality at all. The more I dug into “pronatalism” the more I saw it’s the same. In this case, it’s a set of beliefs that we’ve come to believe so strongly they feel “real” or true, when they really are not. I collaborated with a fabulous cover designer and we created the cover together.
Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?
From the chapter titled, “The Destiny Assumption”: “We can look at the question of whether men or women have a biological instinct to want or have children another way. Rather than biological, the urge, the wanting has its roots in a learned desire from strong social and cultural pronatal influences. And we’ve been influenced so strongly that it feels like the desire for children is “innate”—it’s so ingrained that we’ve thought it’s just part of who we are. For too long, pronatalist propaganda created by social institutions to control human behavior has influenced our emotions, thinking, and social values. It’s time to recognize that the pronatal assumption that we are biologically destined to want children is not a biological reality. What is the reality?”
What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?
I enjoy promoting my books on my three websites. One is my author website. Another is my book review and bookstore site, LiveTrue Books, and I also have a blog called La Vie Childfree.
In the digital sphere, I enjoy promoting my work on social networking sites, on other blog sites, and on book sites such as Goodreads. Outside of digital media, I have done quite a bit of radio, television and print media, and continue to welcome the opportunity!
What is a typical writing day like for you?
I generally tend to website management and book promotion efforts in the morning, and devote a good part of the afternoon to the current book I am working on. I work most of the time in my office, but am very productive when I get a chance to work in a beautiful place, such as beach house or cabin in the mountains.
What are some ways that you like to relax?
I enjoy taking long walks, reading, going to the movies, cooking, and looking at antiques, especially from the art deco period.
What author/s do you think are overlooked in the writing/reading world today?
There are fiction writers out there who are writing novels with main characters who have no children by choice. They find it hard for publishers to pick up their work. I think if they did, publishers would be delighted to find out there are lots of readers who would read works with childfree characters.
What author would you most like to meet and why?
I have a background in the behavioral sciences, and am a big fan of the nonfiction author Cordelia Fine, who wrote Delusions of Gender. She is pushing the envelope about how we think about gender differences. Fine takes a critical look at how culture, more than biology, drives the development of our beliefs about differences, and because of our socialization and gender stereotyping, how easily gender differences can become self fulfilling prophecies.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with readers?
I am doing a longitudinal study right now, and will be for the next seven years. When it is complete, I may very well develop a book based on the results of the study. What’s the study? Well, I am going to keep it under wraps for now, but it involves surveying women who were in their 20s at the start of the project.
In addition to this project, I already have an idea for my next book, but will embark on it after The Baby Matrix tour has settled down a bit—that’s all I’ll say!
What is something about yourself that would come as a surprise to many people?
I adore art deco fashion, particularly the fashion from the 1920s!