Belabored (Hardcover)

A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women

By Lyz Lenz

Bold Type Books, 9781541762831, 240pp.

Publication Date: August 11, 2020

List Price: 26.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


In Belabored, Lyz Lenz will "make you cry in one paragraph and snort-laugh in the next." (Chloe Angyal, contributing editor at

Written with a blend of wit, snark, and raw intimacy, Belabored is an impassioned and irreverent defense of the autonomy, rights, and dignity of pregnant people. Lenz shows how religious, historical, and cultural myths about pregnancy have warped the way we treat pregnant people: when our representatives enact laws criminalizing abortion and miscarriage, when doctors prioritize the health of the fetus over the life of the pregnant patient in front of them, when baristas refuse to serve visibly pregnant women caffeine. She also reflects on her own experiences of carrying her two children and seeing how the sacrifices demanded during pregnancy carry over seamlessly into the cult of motherhood, where women are expected to play the narrowly defined roles of "wife" and "mother" rather than be themselves.

Belabored is an urgent call for us to trust women and let them choose what happens to their own bodies, from a writer who "is on a roll" (Bitch Magazine).

About the Author

Lyz Lenz is the author of God Land and a columnist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and contributing writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Pacific Standard, among other publications. She lives in Iowa.

Praise For Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women

"A thoughtful, impassioned look at mothers and mothering."

"With wit and deadly seriousness, Lenz draws attention to the rising rate of maternal mortality in the U.S. and calls for an update to the way people view pregnancy in America."
Time Magazine

"Lyz Lenz is brilliant, and if you haven't ordered her book yet, what are you even doing with your life?"—Jessica Valenti, author of Sex Object

"This book is just wonderful, a pure distillation of righteous fury that is always timely, but especially now."—Sarah Weinman, author of The Real Lolita

"Deeply researched, infinitely inclusive, and a scorching page-turner, Belabored is required reading for anyone interested in the human goddamn race."—Megan Stielstra, author of The Wrong Way to Save Your Life

"I regularly turn to Lyz Lenz for writing that is incisive, funny, and compellingly furious."
Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad

"In Belabored, Lyz Lenz burrows inside our culture's myths and fantasies about motherhood, mining her own deeply personal experiences to reveal a far uglier and more complex truth. Lenz is that smart, acid-tongued friend who entertains you with jaw-dropping stories while daring you to think more deeply. Belabored is riveting, riotous, and bracingly honest."
Pamela Colloff, senior reporter at ProPublica and staff writer at the New York Times Magazine