Book details

Opting In

Having a Child Without Losing Yourself

Author: Amy Richards

Opting In

Opting In


About This Book

For contemporary women, motherhood has become as polarizing a proposition as it is a powerful calling. For some women this tension is manifest in a debate over whether or not to have children. For...

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Book Details

For contemporary women, motherhood has become as polarizing a proposition as it is a powerful calling. For some women this tension is manifest in a debate over whether or not to have children. For others it concerns whether to stay at home with their children or stay in the workforce. Still others feel abandoned altogether by the supposedly pro-family and pro-mother social justice movement that is feminism and are at a loss when it comes to reconciling their maternal instincts with their political beliefs.

With Opting In, Amy Richards addresses the anxiety over parenting that women face today in a book that mixes memoir, interviews, historical analysis, and feminist insight. In her refreshingly direct and thoughtful approach, Richards covers everything from the truth about our biological clocks and the trends toward extending fertility, to parenting with nature and nurturing in mind, to our relationship with our own mothers, to what feminism's relationship to motherhood is and always has been. Speaking from the vantage point of someone who is both a parent and one of our leading feminist activists, Richards cuts through the cacophony of voices intent on telling women the "appropriate" way to be a mother and reveals instead how to confidently forge your own path while staying true to yourself and your ideals.

Imprint Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Reading Guide

In The News

“With Opting In, Amy Richards does an impressive job of showing just how many ways there are for modern women to make motherhood work for them. Richards powerfully reminds us that although these are seemingly isolated "domestic" negotiations, women open up the work-life balance not only for other women, but for men and for generations of young people to come.” —Veronica Chambers, author of Having It All? Black Women and Success

Opting In is a brave, rational, thoughtful book chock full of important information and ideas that every woman--married or not, mother or not--should make it her business to know and think about.” —Cathi Hanauer, editor of The Bitch in the House

“To a world that either obsesses over children or excludes them, Amy Richards brings the revolutionary possibilities of shared intergenerational lives--not easy, mind you, but possible. If her example and writing had been around earlier, even I might have had children.” —Gloria Steinem

“Amy Richards is always showing a new way forward for her generation of feminists and has done so once again with Opting In--a smart, savvy exploration of real-life, real-time motherhood that is sure to resonate.” —Naomi Wolf

“Amy Richards is one of the few women in the country who can talk about the politics of mothering in a way that doesn't make me bored or irate. Opting In is intellectually rigorous, personally authentic, insightful, and brave--and frankly, how often can you say that about books on this subject? Richards is remarkably honest and thought-provoking, and her ideas stay with you long after you've put the book down. Read Opting In and challenge yourself about what you think and the decisions you're making, then talk about it not only with other women but with the men in your life as well.” —Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees & Wannabees

“A movingly written book, Opting in: Having a Child without Losing Yourself beautifully dissects the feminist relationship to motherhood, creating a framework for modern career women to embrace motherhood while maintaining their aspirations and ambitions.” —Sylvia Ann Hewlett

“In Amy Richards's insightful OPTING IN, knotty twentieth-century feminist debates about family, sex, and motherhood are reexamined through sharp twenty-first century eyes. This informative book is always reasonable, readable, and refreshingly open-minded.” —Alix Kates Shulman

“Richards ... makes a convincing case for the necessity of living our politics if we want to see change... welcome advice.” —Rachel Fudge, Mother Jones

About the Creators

Opting In

Opting In