Brain Child

By Nancy King

Brain Child

I discovered Brain, Child during a mothering class at Stanford University. This was no ordinary or practical class on how to properly bathe a newborn or the pros and cons of using cloth diapers; this was a class on motherhood viewed through the lens of literature. A group of twenty of so women gathered every week to discuss texts that ranged from The Price of Motherhood to The Nanny Diaries. I did not come looking for tips on what to buy or how to use it; instead, I was looking for wisdom, insight, compassion, and empathy. The transition to motherhood, for me, had been bumpy, and I was hoping to discover why–and what to do about it. The class turned out, in some ways, to be a lifesaver because it introduced me to a roomful of intelligent, curious women who were engaged in the same struggle as I. What’s happened to my life? Who am I now? Why do I feel so ambivalent about parenthood? (Or, as one classmate said during her introduction, “I’m trying to figure out how to pick up the shattered pieces of my identity.”)

One evening, another mother passed around a copy of Brain, Child, and on her recommendation, I ordered a subscription. I read it cover to cover for the next two years. Unlike the chirpy, candy-colored parenting magazines that beam from the newsstand or the pediatrician’s office, Brain, Child isn’t about the latest stroller, clever birthday party favors, or rainy-day activities. It is, as its tag line suggests, the magazine for “thinking mothers.” Virtually stripped of advertising, it delivers nothing but thoughtful and thought-provoking pieces that ask and try to answer the frequently difficult questions mothers grapple with. And for every essay that raises serious and sometimes painful issues, there’s another that delivers a dose of humor (I remember one written by a hygiene-freak mom trying to navigate her son’s germ-infested kindermusik class). When I think about it, Brain, Child is like my most-cherished mom friends–brave, wicked smart, tender, and always questioning. If you find yourself looking for more than “The ABCs of Potty Training” or “How to Bake Rice Krispie Critters,” pick up a copy. But be warned, it’ll make you think.

About Anisa Raoof
Anisa Raoof is the publisher of She combines being a mom with her experience as an artist, designer, psych researcher and former co-director of the Providence Craft Show to create the go-to spot for families in Rhode Island and beyond. She loves using social media to connect parents with family-related businesses and services and promoting ways for parents to engage offline with their kids. Anisa believes in the power of working together and loves to find ways to collaborate with others. An online enthusiast, still likes to unplug often by reading books and magazines, drawing, learning to knit, making pop-up books with her two sons and listening to records with her husband.

3 Comments on Brain Child

  1. did you read (brain child editor) jennifer nisselson’s memoir about using cheesey-seeming self-help books? it’s very funny. (it is called “practically perfect in every way.”)

    i love “brain, child” too. and when i want a “thinking mom’s” magazine with pretty ads of makeup interspersed among well-written pieces, i recommend “cookie.”

  2. Here is an update from Ruth of Brain, Child:
    Brain, Child is carried in most Whole Foods/Wild Oats, Borders, and Barnes & Noble (and some indie book stores). The publications are placed by our distributors based on demographics. Call first to make sure. If the places you call don’t carry us, ask them to and they can request with the distributor to possibly start carrying the magazine.

    Or visit their website to subscribe and have it delivered.

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