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Chelsea Conaboy Confronts Maternal Instinct: “It’s an Idea that Allows Us to do Less”


My guest is the journalist and writer Chelsea Conaboy, author of the fantastic book Mother Brain, which takes the repressive notion of ‘maternal instinct’ to task as a social control mechanism created by men.


Replete with contemporary neuroscience data, as well as religious and historical writings, the book, and our conversation, presents the role of being a parent in far more fluid and expansive terms than our common parlance provides.


More information about Chelsea Conaboy can be found here:


Mother Brain can be found here (the paperback edition comes out 9/19/2023):


And Chelsea Conaboy’s substack can be found here:


The podcast includes the following songs by New England pianist Ben Cosgrove:

“From Ten Thousand Feet”

“Salt” and

“Palo Alto”



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