Publication Date: 22/06/2023 ISBN: 9780241513484 Category:


Lucy Jones

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication Date: 22/06/2023 ISBN: 9780241513484 Category:


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*A New Statesman and Daily Mail BOOK OF THE YEAR*
*Longlisted for the 2024 Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction*

‘The best book I’ve ever read about motherhood’ Jude Rogers, Observer
‘I kept scribbling in the margins: ‘We need to know this stuff!” Joanna Pocock, Spectator

A radical new examination of the transition into motherhood and how it affects the mind, brain and body

During pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood, women undergo a far-reaching physiological, psychological and social 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 remains, for the most part, taboo.

In this ground-breaking, deeply personal investigation, acclaimed 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 and ecology – 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 and interrogates the patriarchal and capitalist systems that have created the untenable situation mothers face today.

Here is an urgent examination of the modern institution of motherhood, which seeks to unshackle all parents from oppressive social norms. As it deepens our understanding of matrescence, it raises vital questions about motherhood and femininity; interdependence and individual identity; as well as about our relationships with each other and the living world.

Publisher Review

Matrescence took me on a journey of reminescence through my own pregnancies and early years of motherhood, eliciting wry recognition, surprise at new evidence and insight, and gratitude for a work that really sees what it is to mother -- Clare Chambers A beautiful contemplation of the extraordinary yet ordinary metamorphosis that adult humans undergo as they become mothers ... I was entranced ... Matrescence is a passionate and powerful maternal roar for change -- Gaia Vince Hypnotic, fascinating and long overdue. I am so glad it exists. A gift of a book and told beautifully. -- Laura Dockrill Matrescence is the book I've been waiting for. It feels like a gift. Radical, questioning and profound, it urges us to recognise and honour the many transformations of motherhood. With the deepest compassion for her fellow mothers, Lucy Jones shows us how contemporary society stacks the odds against them and calls us to imagine new ways of parenting which care for and support those at its heart -- Liz Berry You'll marvel, wince and want to take to the streets after reading Lucy Jones sweeping and courageous multidisciplinary survey of the motherlands. I wish we'd read it before we had our kid. (Mother) nature read in truth and awe -- Tom Mustill I was challenged, comforted, educated and nourished by this book ... It is the single most powerful, life-changing, heartachingly healing thing I have been given ... The kind of book we must ensure every one of us reads -- Kerri ni Dochartaigh A beautiful, intelligent book that is as tender and moving as it is demanding and urgent. There is something insightful and original in the way Lucy Jones seamlessly combines the analytical with the emotional, and it is an absolutely essential new addition to the literature of mothering and parenthood -- Clover Stroud This book should be a must-read for pretty much everyone. We don't talk about the hidden realities of the biological, social and psychological effects of matrescence nearly enough. Thank you, Lucy Jones, for changing that -- Dr Jodi Pawluski I was challenged, comforted, educated, nourished, soothed and reassured by this book. Almost three years into my own matrescence, this book is the single most powerful, life-changing, heartachingly healing thing I have been given. For it is, first and foremost, a gift. To have journeyed , and still be journeying, through this wild, raw, many coloured land of such unknowns, and to share that journey-the pain and the joy; the grief and love; the anxiety and the hope - in this way is nothing short of grace. This book is the kind of book we must ensure every one of us reads; every single person sharing this earth side by side with our kin of every form. For, as Lucy shows us so tenderly and luminously; we are more finely interwoven than we've been led to believe; more animal than we might ordinarily take ourselves for. Certain experiences change us, bring us closer to the blood and shit and milk and bone. Matrescence holds the power to carry us back to ourselves, to the rituals and community from which we came; the caregivers we all hold the seed within us to become- and Lucy Jones is the person who should have written it. I am so glad she did . She has given us mammals such a gift, one that will save lives -- Kerri ni Dochartaigh

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