The Reluctant Womb
In the early 1960s, three women (called ‘girls’ in those days) become fast friends at University of Michigan.
One girl’s mother gave her up for adoption.
One girl’s mother had postpartum psychosis.
One girl’s mother was raped, tried to abort, and failed.
Two of the girls become pregnant in 1963.
One girl has an illegal abortion.
One girl gives her child up for adoption.
One girl dies.
Two eighty-year-old women meet at University of Michigan in 2021
and do something that heals an old wound for both of them.
* * *
These are the bare facts that inspired this novel. Although much of the story is fictional, these three girls existed, and their journeys into adulthood are real. Played out against the tumultuous social and political upheavals of the era, their stories form the crux of this book: their sexual awakenings, psychological struggles, political discoveries, interracial romances, disturbing revelations, deep friendships and, especially, their responses to unplanned pregnancy.
THE RELUCTANT WOMB captures the early 1960s and its discontents from a fresh, feminist perspective and traces its indelible imprint on a generation of women. It is particularly timely after the overturn of Roe, when over half of U.S. women have lost access to abortion rights. The book shares elements of Britt Bennett’s The Mothers, as well as the documentary, The Janes, and its nuanced, layered handling of unplanned pregnancies will appeal to a wide readership of women, pro-life and pro-choice.