Project Description

8 February 2022
RRP: $32.99
ISBN: 9781922626868
Paperback,  320 pages
234 x 153 mm
Current Affairs

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The Cost of Labour

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 With bracing clarity and verve, Kon-yu tackles the outdated institutions, expectations and ideologies that hold us hostage as parents.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.

PRAISE for The Cost of Labour

‘Fascinating, persuasive and urgent!’
Monica Dux

‘Buy this for your friends who have given birth, so they know they are not alone; for anyone who is thinking about having a child, so they may better advocate for themselves; and, perhaps most importantly, for those who will find the contents a revelation.’

‘Edifying and galvanising.’ The Guardian

‘Necessary reading for all, whether planning on being pregnant at some stage of their life or not’. – Jasmine Pirovic, RUSSH

About the Author

Natalie Kon-yu is a writer, academic and editor whose work has been published nationally and internationally. She is the co-commissioning editor of #Me Too: Stories from the Australian Women’s Movement (Picador, 2019), Mothers and Others: Why Not All Women are Mothers and All Mothers are Not the Same (Pan Macmillan, 2015) and Just Between Us: Australian Writers Tell the Truth about Female Friendship (Pan Macmillan 2013).