Porter Square Books is happy to welcome journalist Chelsea Conaboy for the release of her debut novel, Mother Brain: How Neuroscience is Rewriting the Story of Parenthood! “Conaboy’s fearlessly researched and deeply empathetic Mother Brain blew my mind [...] Every page pruned away sexist, guilt-inducing assumptions about the 'maternal instinct,' wiring me up for new growth as a parent and a feminist. Even as Conaboy dissects complicated studies and points out what’s still missing, there is so much wonder and hope (and humor!) here. If every new parent, boss, and lawmaker read this book, I swear, we would make a century of progress overnight,” writes Lauren Smith Brody (author of The Fifth Trimester). Boston Globe reporter Stephanie Ebbert will join the author in conversation.

This event will take place at Porter Square Books: Cambridge Edition on Tuesday, September 20 at 7pm ET. Masks are required for all attendees. RSVP's, while not required, are strongly recommended.

About the Book

A groundbreaking exploration of the parental brain that untangles insidious myths from complicated realities, Mother Brain explodes the concept of “maternal instinct” and tells a new story about what it means to become a parent.

Before journalist Chelsea Conaboy gave birth, she anticipated the joy of holding her newborn, the endless dirty diapers, and the sleepless nights. What she didn’t expect was how different she would feel—a shift in self, as deep as it was disorienting. Something was changing: her brain.

New parents undergo major brain changes, driven by hormones and the deluge of stimuli a baby provides. These neurobiological changes help all parents—birthing or otherwise—adapt in those intense first days and prepare for a long period of learning how to meet their child’s needs. Yet this science is mostly absent from the public conversation about parenthood.

Conaboy delves into the neuroscience to reveal unexpected upsides, generations of scientific neglect, and a powerful new narrative of parenthood.


Chelsea Conaboy is a journalist specializing in personal and public health. She was part of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer prize–winning team for coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and more recently has worked as a magazine writer with bylines at Mother Jones, Politico, The Week, the Boston Globe Magazine, and others. She lives in Maine with her husband, their two young sons, and her own changing maternal brain.

Event date: 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

Porter Square Books
25 White St.
Cambridge, MA 02140

RSVP Form: 

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Mother Brain: How Neuroscience Is Rewriting the Story of Parenthood By Chelsea Conaboy Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250762283
Availability: In Stock: Click Title to See if it's in CAMBRIDGE or BOSTON
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - September 13th, 2022


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