cover image The Parenthood Dilemma: Procreation in the Age of Uncertainty

The Parenthood Dilemma: Procreation in the Age of Uncertainty

Gina Rushton. Astra House, $27 (224p) ISBN 978-1-662-60238-2

In this thoughtful debut, journalist Rushton explores the question of whether she—or anyone—should become a parent. Diving into such topics as reproductive rights and climate change, Rushton interrogates if and how these issues should impact her personal decision to have children. Acknowledging that her perspective is that of a middle-class white woman, she leans into archetypical middle- and upper-class concerns like the unfair division of emotional labor by gender, but also critiques the notion that liberated women should inherently feel that work is more rewarding than childcare. To break out of her limited viewpoint, Rushton profiles a wide range of parents and nonparents. Tinu, a Black woman who gave birth in the British maternity system, describes being ignored when begging doctors to address her serious bleeding, while Australian climate scientist Joelle Gergis, who is not a parent and has incredible grief over the global impact of bushfires, nonetheless thinks “self-flagellation” around whether to have kids in a warming world is unproductive. Elsewhere, Rushton highlights the perspective of such experts as fertility specialist Kate Stern, who discusses the sheer effort involved in pursuing IVF. Seamlessly combining memoir and reportage, Rushton gives articulate voice to the anxiety of a generation for whom the future feels more unclear than ever. It’s a comprehensive look at parenthood in the 21st century. (Sept.)