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Melanie Holmes
The Female Assumption: A Mother's Story, Freeing Women from the View that Motherhood is a Mandate
A mother advocates for the view that motherhood should be viewed (and spoken of) as a choice, not a foregone conclusion. Through interviews/polls with 200 women across the U.S., as well as some international women (those with & without children), Holmes uncovered a high level of assumptions about what makes a female "whole." Love, happiness, fulfillment, meaning--these are subjective terms--however, as today's females strive to listen to their inner voices, the voices of those close to them insist on slotting them into the same roles as their mothers/grandmothers. We are all entitled to our own thoughts/feelings, however, it is the words we choose, and who we say them to, that matters to the inner selves/future selves of females. Holmes's book is dedicated to her daughter, a pre-teen when she began writing, now almost grown. This book opens the door to the conversation between females and their loved ones. All doors are open or ajar for females today; to tell a female not avoid the door marked "Motherhood" is to engage in a design process; and/or it is to possibly contribute to the confusion, pain, anger and/or depression that Holmes heard in her interviews. The next trajectory for women's lives is to help them feel whole, however their lives unfold (through choice or circumstance).
Dr. Julianne Malveaux, President/Founder, Economic Education & J.M. Malveaux Ent

"I love this book! This is an oft debated question, but it comes and goes, especially as young women have been again led to believe in the myth that you can have it all, juggling children, jobs, etc.  I'm 61, happily never married and have no children. These were conscious choices."

Jody Day, Author and Founder of Gateway Women

  “The Female Assumption is an important and long overdue addition to the cultural dialogue around “motherhood or not” that our generation is beginning to engage in.  As someone who has broken the taboo of talking about life after unchosen-childlessness not as a wasteland, but as an unexpectedly rich territory awaiting exploration, I really appreciate Holmes’s courage in breaking the silence that surrounds the reality of modern mothering.  With motherhood being touted as “the most meaningful thing a woman can do with her life” (a mantra of Motherhood Catechism as Holmes names it), it therefore follows that her openness may cause some to call her a bad mother for spilling the beans, perhaps without actually reading this carefully researched, measured, loving, and thoughtful book.  Holmes has taken a hefty swing at the myths of motherhood and I’m very grateful to her for doing so.  I’m sure many other childless women will be too."               

Lisa Haisha, Life Coach, Women's Advocate, Author, Founder of Soul Blazing Sanct

“As a woman who chose to arrive at motherhood later in life, I shared (and continue to share) many of the perspectives that Melanie Holmes brings to light in The Female Assumption.  Motherhood in our society continues to be thrust upon women as a salve to our own individual search for meaning, purpose, and legacy, and Holmes offers aspiring mothers a revealing analysis of the institution of motherhood they will surely benefit from when making the decision.”

Lisa Hymas, Sr. Editor and Co-Founder of

"Melanie Holmes has done something that few people dare to do: question the assumption that all women should have children.  She draws from history, literature, and her own research to knock down conventional wisdom.  She's opening up space for each woman to decide for herself the way forward, whatever that may be, and that's a great service." 

Madelyn Cain, Author of The Childless Revolution, What It's Like to be Chiildles

Cain's book was published at the dawn of the 21st century, as her own daughter was a teenager.

"At long last! A call for a true discussion that every woman should have with herself:  Do I want to be a mother or am I just doing what I've been indoctrinated to do?  Holmes asks the right questions and guides women by providing history and insight. Bravo. A reminder that the most critical step forward for feminists is to embrace childless women as whole, happy and fulfilled human beings."

The Female Assumption Earns Global Media Award--Best Book of 2014

The Female Assumption was named Best Book of 2014 in the Global Media Awards, hosted by the Population Institute in Washington DC for its message of education an equality for females.  Holmes was one of 8 awardees; two came from Uganda to collect their award, one was a Pulitzer Prize winner. The Population Institute was founded in 1969 by a Methodist minister with the mission to educate legislatures about reproductive health and prevent teen pregnancies; a mission that fits nicely with Holmes's book.

Link to Population Institute announcement of 2014 Global Media Awards: