by Natalie Kon-yu
Natalie Kon-yu was nine weeks pregnant when the trembling began. Two weeks later she checked herself into a mental health unit. Rather than a woman with a health concern, the doctors saw Natalie as a vessel carrying precious cargo. This loss of agency carried on through childbirth and into her early years as a mother. Natalie discovered that she was far from alone.
In fact, her experience typifies the inequalities that weigh heavily on child-bearing women, as well as the devaluation of what is still perceived as ‘women’s work’. With bracing clarity and verve, Kon-yu tackles the outdated institutions, expectations and ideologies that hold us hostage as parents. The pressure is building and the cost on families is stacking up. Something has to give.
Drawing on personal narratives, history, social research and interviews, The Cost of Labour tackles the expectations that keep us all hostage to a dynamic unfit for contemporary society and offers hope for a way out of the trap.