The Cost of Labour

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Natalie Kon-Yu was nine weeks pregnant when the trembling began. Two weeks later she checked herself into a mental health unit. Though she was in crisis, the GPs, nurses and psychiatrists couldn't see beyond Natalie's precious cargo. She was made to feel that her pregnancy outweighed her mental health. This loss of agency lingered long into her early years of motherhood. In that time, she discovered that she was far from alone. In fact, her experience typifies the harsh inequalities endured by 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With bracing clarity and verve, Kon-Yu tackles the outdated institutions, expectations and ideologies that hold us hostage as parents, especially as mothers. While women are invested in working outside the home like never before, they are still expected to be the primary carers. The pressure is building and the cost on women is stacking up. Something has to give.

Drawing on personal narratives, history, social research and interviews with a range of Australian and international experts, 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.