Review: The Female Assumption

The Female Assumption A Mother’s Story: Freeing Women From The View That Motherhood Is A Mandate

I have been looking forward to reading this book by Melanie Holmes.  It is an important idea, that on the surface, may not seem that earth shaking.  TCFL is a site for the childfree and it is with that perspective I approached this book.

The Female Assumption, has an important message for the children who are being raised with only half of the options available to live a full and happy life.  Melanie has put into words that raising children to realize that they have many options is the key to living a full and meaningful life.

She is raising her daughter to develop into her own person free of pressure to conform to a role that she may not choose for herself.  Melanie discusses motherhood from a more realistic perspective and does not leave out the hard parts.

This is an excellent book to open up conversations between a parent and child.  It is well written and does a good job presenting the childfree decision.  It is a change to hear a parent accept that a child may make different choices.  Melanie does not know if her daughter will choose to be a parent.  I can say that her daughter is fortunate to have a mother who can express what it was like for her to parent children, but also to present that there are women who make other choices and lead fulfilling lives.

I recommend this book for parents, grandparents, and teenagers.  Childfree readers will find this book well written and perhaps a good book for their own parents.  As someone who is older; the mantra of grand-kids is ever present.  What about those couples who are not sure about wanting children?  It is for these couples; I am so glad Melanie wrote this book.


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6 Responses to Review: The Female Assumption

  1. The official launch for this book was yesterday, Nov. 1st. Almost 50 ppl in attendance including local newspaper. My interviewer was a performer who has sung to critical acclaim for the Berlin & New York Philaharmonics, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Met, Lyric Opera of Chicago, among many others. I presented her with a copy of Jennifer Castellano’s CD Spectrum. I also had several door prizes, one of which was Spectrum. Those in attendance were women with & without children. The discussion included several PhDs, sociology professionals, women & men, a wide range of ages & ethnicities. Very thought-provoking conversations ensued. Everyone–those with & without children offered enthusiastic words of encouragement for this book, which brings people together around this topic, calls attention for the need for less judgment, more understanding. Thank you for presenting this book review for this audience. It’s my honor to have written the book; the greatest honor are the words of those who say it has made a difference/adjusted their assumptions. Peace.

  2. I jumped onto a comment thread on Dr. Ellen Walker’s blog on Psychology Today (Walker wrote the book, Complete without Kids). Walker wrote an open letter to Sigourney Weaver who expressed sympathy for Katharine Hepburn because Hepburn never had kids. I’m including a link here to the “comments” section…a little sparring ensued…until I mentioned that I’m a PARENT…then…crickets (silence). It’s a shame that it takes another parent to declare that supporting the rights of persons NOT to pursue parenthood is a parenting issue. How parents react to their children (youth, adolescence, adulthood) is important. Respect starts at home (whether it’s CF, career goals, LGBTQA) is important. Here’s the link

  3. Katherine says:


    I read your comments regarding the article in Psychology Today. Thanks for representing a different point of view. It should keep the conversation about choice in lifestyle a little more diverse. Critical thinking sometimes gets lost in the mix. You have made your points well and without all of the emotional cliched statements that sometimes are part of the comments section. Well done!

  4. vutai says:

    Melanie Holmes speaks the truth! This is not something that many dare to do when it comes to having children. Too often people speak from the social script they have been given and say that parenthood is the only thing that will make you whole—neglecting to mention the hardships. As a result, the young among us assume that parenthood is the only acceptable path. In THE FEMALE ASSUMPTION, Melanie talks about parenthood from every angle: good, bad, expensive, and exhausting. As a mother of three, she’s been there. Yet she is brave enough to say that parenthood is not for everyone. She advocates that every person go out of his or her way to have as full an understanding as possible of what parenthood is before embarking on the journey. Most of all, she notes that it’s okay if you decide parenthood is not for you. The book’s main message is one that cannot be repeated enough: Life is rich with opportunities and choices. Choose what’s best for you—not what’s best for everyone else.

  5. Thank you, vutai…and you all may be interested to know that The Female Assumption just earned a Global Media Award — I was one of 8 awardees, including 2 who traveled from Uganda to Washington DC to accept their award, one Pulitzer Prize winner, and other international journalists working for education and equality. I was humbled to say the least.

  6. antigender says:

    Shocking that nothing has changed (I made do somehow on the pill, finding out the longterm scheme doctors now sometimes recommend, until menopause).
    Sterilization (or this ablation procedure, that was not available 40 years ago) would have been so much better for my health!

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