Matrescence: On Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood (Hardcover)

Matrescence: On Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood By Lucy Jones Cover Image

Matrescence: On Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood (Hardcover)


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WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION FINALIST • From the acclaimed author of Losing Eden (“Powerful, beautifully written”—Anthony Doerr) an important, moving, passionate and passionately written inquiry—personal and scientific—into what happens—mentally, spiritually, physically, during the process of becoming a mother, from pregnancy and childbirth to early motherhood and what this profound process tells us about the way we live now.

“I read your book, or more accurately devoured it! Loved it . . . It will be the new classic text in Motherhood Studies.” -Andrea O’Reilly, founder, Motherhood Studies

“The best book I’ve ever read about motherhood. Matrescence is essential reading, bloody and alive, roaring and ready to change conversations.” –Jude Rogers, The Observer (UK)

In this important and ground-breaking, deeply personal investigation, Jones writes of the emerging concept of “matrescence” – the wholeness of becoming a mother.

Drawing on her own experiences of twice becoming a mother, as well as exploring the latest research in the fields of neuroscience and evolutionary biology; psychoanalysis and existential therapy; sociology, economics and ecology, Jones writes of the physical and emotional changes in the maternal mind, body, and spirit and shows us how these changes are far more profound, wild, and enduring than have been previously explored or written about.

Part memoir, part scientific and health reporting, part social critique, ecological philosophy, eco-feminism and nature writing, Matrescence is a kind of whodunnit, ferreting out with the most nuanced, searing and honest observations, why mothers throughout this heightened transition are at a breaking point, and what the institution of intensive, isolated motherhood can tell us about our still-dominant social and cultural myths.

“Jones seems to come as close as it’s possible to describing this indescribable moment in a woman’s life.” –Joanna Pocock, The Spectator (UK)
LUCY JONES was born in Cambridge, England, and educated at
University College London. She has written on culture, science and nature. Her articles have been published on BBC Earth and in The Sunday Times, The Guardian and the New Statesman. Her first book, Foxes Unearthed, received the Society of Authors’ Roger Deakin Award. Jones lives in Hampshire, England.
Product Details ISBN: 9780593317310
ISBN-10: 0593317319
Publisher: Pantheon
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English
Longlisted for Women's Prize for Non-Fiction

“In this maddening journey of motherhood, I encourage everyone to let Matrescence be your soothing guide. From my early days of motherhood to a few years deep in the trenches, Lucy’s words and wisdom continues to guide and comfort me. Matrescence is the sister I never had but always longed for as I try to figure out how to mother in this world. It’s a fierce book, equally tender as it is sharp. It is my kind of bible that I will carry with me (and gift to others!) for a long time.”
Szilvia Molnar, author of The Nursery

“Sweeping and courageous.” —Tom Mustill, biologist, filmmaker, author of How to Speak Whale

"A deep dive into the radical transformation of becoming a mother...An intimate, insightful memoir."

“The best book I’ve ever read about motherhood. Myths are . . . smashed from page one, which makes this a thrilling read. Matrescence is essential reading, bloody and alive, roaring and ready to change conversations.” —Jude Rogers, The Observer (UK)

“To read this book – and I very much hope its audience is not confined to women who are about to or have recently given birth – is to emerge chastened and ready for change. Anger is not an emotion we expect from mothers. But, as Jones says, good anger is necessary. Let us hold to that.” —Marianne Levy, I News (UK)

“I loved this book. It’s a questioning, intelligent investigation into the process of becoming a mother, sparked by Jones’ own life but looked at from all angles: environmental, social, historical, neurobiological, psychoanalytical, and more. She suggests that portrayals of motherhood as either rose-tinted bliss or boring drudgery means we fail to prepare women for its reality—and we also fail to allow for its wilder, radical possibilities. Revelatory.”
Joanna Quinn, author of The Whalebone Theatre

“A beautiful contemplation of the extraordinary yet ordinary metamorphosis that adult humans undergo as they become mothers. I was entranced . . . a passionate and powerful maternal roar for change. Wonderful.” —Gaia Vince, award-winning journalist; author of Adventures in the Anthropocene

“Excellent on the difference between historical views of motherhood and actual experience. In fact, Jones seems to come as close as it’s possible to describing this indescribable moment in a woman’s life.” —Joanna Pocock, The Spectator (UK)
“[Jones] charts the monumental impact of having children from every angle. A boundary-pushing book that is more complex and creative, transcending even the ‘part-memoir, part-critical analysis’ genre that has become such a commonplace format for female authors in recent years. There is much to be gleaned as Jones skillfully elucidates the monumental shifts [motherhood] brings. The chapter on the maternal brain is especially fascinating and, more importantly, validating for those of us who feel society’s minimising of matrescence flies in the face of our experience of it. Jones never becomes bogged down in the material, which is quite an achievement considering its scope. At times, I wanted more. Jones is a pioneer, and as such has left some ground unexplored. This book is a beginning, and a fine one at that.” —Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, The Guardian

“[A] probing meditation…Jones emphasizes the beauty and volatility of maternity…Seamlessly weaving personal recollections with broader social analysis…Elevated by inventive formal flourishes and searching reflection, this will resonate with mothers of all stripes.”
 —Publishers Weekly
“A beautiful, intelligent book that is as tender and moving as it is demanding and urgent. An absolutely essential new addition to the literature of mothering and parenthood.” —Clover Stroud, author of The Wild Other

“Jones writes beautifully with searing honesty about life-changing physical and emotional impact of having a child.” —Rachel Sylvester, The Times (UK)

“The single most powerful, life-changing, heartachingly healing thing I have been given. Matrescence holds the power to carry us back to ourselves, to the rituals and community from which we came. . . 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 ní Dochartaigh, author of Cacophony of Bone