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Matrescence : On the Metamorphosis of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Motherhood - Lucy Jones

Matrescence

On the Metamorphosis of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Motherhood

By: Lucy Jones

Paperback | 10 September 2024 | Edition Number 1

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A revelatory account of the transition into motherhood and how it affects the mind, brain and body

A New Statesman and Daily Mail Book of the Year

During pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood, women undergo a far-reaching physiological and psychological metamorphosis. There is no other time in a human's life course that entails such dramatic change-other than adolescence. And yet this life-altering transition has been sorely neglected by science, medicine and philosophy. Its seismic effects go largely unrepresented across literature and the arts. Speaking about motherhood as anything other than a pastel-hued dream is virtually taboo.

In this ground-breaking investigation, acclaimed science journalist and author Lucy Jones brings to light the emerging concept of 'matrescence'. Drawing on new research across various fields - neuroscience and evolutionary biology; psychoanalysis and existential therapy; sociology, economics, ecology and cultural history - Jones shows how the changes in the maternal mind, brain and body are far more profound, wild and enduring than we have been led to believe. She reveals the dangerous consequences of our neglect of the maternal experience - today, one in ten women develop a mental illness in the first year of new motherhood; a third of mothers with more than one child suffer from postnatal depression - and she explores the patriarchal and capitalist institutions that have created the untenable situation mothers face today.

Here is an urgent examination of motherhood and mental health, which seeks to unshackle mothers from the weight of unrealistic medical, cultural and economic expectations. It is an unignorable rallying cry to deepen our understanding of matrescence, and to make the experience of pregnancy, birth and child-raising better for future parents.

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