The Motherhood Complex

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What to expect

‘THE MOTHERHOOD COMPLEX does for mothers in particular what INVISIBLE WOMEN did for women as a whole: exposes the myriad ways in which the system is stacked against us, while celebrating the strengths and successes we achieve in spite of it all’ Leah Hazard

‘A welcome, refreshing and clear-eyed look at the twenty-first century expectations of motherhood’ Gina Rippon

Enriched with discoveries from biology, psychology and social science, THE MOTHERHOOD COMPLEX is a journey to the heart of what it means to become a mother.

Melissa Hogenboom examines how the suite of changes we experience during pregnancy and motherhood influence our sense of self, both physically and from the wider world. From the way our brain changes during pregnancy and the psychological impact of our changing body, to the true cost of the motherhood workplace penalty and the intrusion of technology on family life, Hogenboom reveals how external events and society at large shape the way we see ourselves and impacts upon the choices we make.

Interweaving her personal experience as a mother of two young children with the latest research, Hogenboom confronts the modern myth of maternal perfection and highlights the importance of understanding how and why we change for our physical and emotional health.

Critics Review

  • THE MOTHERHOOD COMPLEX does for mothers in particular what INVISIBLE WOMEN did for women as a whole: exposes the myriad ways in which the system is stacked against us, while celebrating the strengths and successes we achieve in spite of it all. A meticulously researched investigation, and a movingly intimate memoir

    author of HARD PUSHED
  • A wonderful, compassionate, honest and scientific book. A must-read for mothers – and fathers too

    Professor Alice Roberts
  • An upbeat, authoritative tirade on the contradiction between what we think motherhood is supposed to be like and what it is really like … Hogenboom unfurls a proper anatomy of motherhood, delving into the physical and emotional changes … This book is reassuring, warm and subtly challenging

    Observer
  • A welcome, refreshing and clear-eyed look at the twenty-first century expectations of motherhood and what they can do to twenty-first century mothers. From the biological consequences, such as the self-fulfilling prophecies of a belief in the ‘mummy’ brain, to the political and legal consequences of the ‘pregnant then screwed’ type (all played out on the stage of social media), this book catalogues how the demands of parenting can damage women who become mothers. Women feel like less, so they have to do more! But it also offers uplifting insights into the more relaxed alternatives seen in other cultures. This is a wake-up call to encourage more positive ways of thinking about women-as-mothers, both to the parents themselves, to enjoy what they are doing, and to the society to which they are contributing, to value this contribution

    author of THE GENDERED BRAIN
  • Brilliant. Beautifully written and rigorously researched. A much-needed evidence-based voice in a world of so much taboo and sexist nonsense

    author of LOSING EDEN
  • THE MOTHERHOOD COMPLEX offers a fascinating and deeply engrossing portrait of identity change after one of life’s biggest events. Along the way, Melissa Hogenboom debunks many parenting myths, and dissects the paradoxical demands placed on mothers at home and in the workplace. THE MOTHERHOOD COMPLEX shows that we need more open and honest conversations about our society’s expectations of mothers. Anyone who cares about gender equality should read this book

    author of THE INTELLIGENCE TRAP

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