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The Most Important Job in the World (Gina Rushton, Macmillan) 

Gina Rushton begins her story in a place that so many women seem to arrive at too often, both literally and metaphorically, when it comes to fertility and the question of motherhoodin pain, on the bathroom floor, unsure what to do next. Rushton’s medical emergency puts into question her convictions about not having children. As a journalist, she understands the world through research and investigation. What follows the opening scene of The Most Important Job in the World is a deep exploration of what the author describes as a question too complex and too full of contradictions to answer: Should sheshould we as women and as a societyhave babies? Rushton is, of course, correct: this question is almost impossible to answer easily. The power of Rushton’s book, however, is that it doesn’t shy away from the tough questions. Is having children in the time of severe climate change a selfish act? Are women ‘natural’ caregivers or is this a convenient lie? Why do First Nations women have a standard of healthcare that is so much lower than that of white women? The answers sear the heart. I am a woman considering motherhood after living most of my life assuming I wouldn’t. Rushton’s approach to understanding this stage of life is courageous and unflinching; her prose is introspective and relatable. Readers who liked The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb will appreciate this important, feminist read. 

Rebecca Whitehead is a freelance writer from Melbourne.

 

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