Part memoir and reflective analysis, Pragya Agarwal examines motherhood and fertility and how it shapes all our lives
‘An exhilarating, genre-defying read’ Observer
‘Brilliant, brave, beautiful’ Elif Shafak
‘Absolutely sensational’ Michael Cashman, CBE
In a world where women have more choices than ever, society nevertheless continues to exert the stigma and pressures of less enlightened times when it comes to having children. We define women by whether they embrace or reject motherhood; whether they can give birth or not.
Behavioural Scientist Pragya Agarwal uses her own varied experiences and choices as a woman of South Asian heritage to examine the broader societal, historical and scientific factors that drive how we think and talk about motherhood. She looks at how women’s bodies have been monitored and controlled through history, and how this shapes the political constructs of motherhood and womanhood now.
Extremely open in its honesty and meticulously researched, (M)otherhood probes themes of infertility, childbirth and reproductive justice, and makes a powerful and urgent argument for the need to tackle society’s obsession with women’s bodies and fertility.
“An exhilarating, genre-defying read … seamlessly interwoven with statistics, quotes and scientific evidence to clever narrative effect … reminiscent of Olivia Laing’s writing on loneliness or the body … The whole thing adds up to the most thoughtful, empathic and inspiring science of the self”
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“Absolutely sensational. Revelatory and of its time, challenging myths and ingrained perceptions. I could not put it down. Everyone should read this”
Michael Cashman, Cbe, Co-founder Of Stonewall
“Brilliant, brave, beautiful … such an inspiring book”
“Riveting. Agarwal writes with searing honesty and tenderness about the joys and agonies of becoming a mother, of trying and failing to conceive again, and then of pursuing a route to motherhood that’s widely seen as taboo … Agarwal writes beautifully about her own complicated experience”
“Intimate and insightful, Pragya Agarwal expands the meaning of the word motherhood in this brilliant book. This is urgent, essential reading for everyone”
Dr Pragya Agarwal is a behavioural and data scientist. After gaining her PhD from the University of Nottingham, she was a senior academic in US and UK universities for over twelve years. As well as numerous research papers, she is the author of Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias and Wish We Knew What to Say: Talking with Children about Race. Sway was picked as a ‘best science book of 2020’, Guardian Book of the Week and was shortlisted for the Transmission Prize. A passionate campaigner for racial and gender equality, Pragya is a two-time TEDx speaker, a TEDx Women organiser and the founder of a research think-tank ‘The 50 Percent Project’. As a freelance journalist, she writes regularly for the Guardian, Prospect, Forbes, Huffington Post, BBC Science Focus and New Scientist among others. She has also written for AEON, Scientific American and the Wellcome Trust.
@DrPragyaAgarwal | drpragyaagarwal.com