There is no shortage of parenting magazines out there--glossy ones full of helpful advice on the pros and cons of breast vs. bottle, age-appropriate activities, maps of milestones and when your child should be hitting each one. There's nothing wrong with those magazines--they can be a real comfort, especially to new moms. But Brain, Child is not that kind of magazine--if those magazines are travel guides to the trip that is motherhood, Brain, Child is more a collection of gritty, real-life stories of the women who have been there and made it back to tell the tale.
Each issue has news snippets, book reviews and a feature-length article on an issue of importance to moms. There's always pages of reader letters which give you glimpses into the lives and thoughts of women around the country (and even outside it) and a section called "Backtalk," in which moms share their stories on a previously announced (and often hysterically funny) subject. But the main attraction, as far as I'm concerned, are the pages and pages of first-person essays on all things motherhood.
No subject is too far "out there." In the current issue there is an honest and oh-so-funny essay on a woman's search for a sperm donor. Another woman's tolerance and protective nature are put to the test when her young son begins wanting to dress in "girl" clothes. "Helpful" advice from strangers is the subject of yet another essay--and as anyone who's ever left the house with a child in tow can attest, there's quite a few parenting "experts" out there willing to selflessly offer you their advice. And, in one of the most heartwrenching essays I've read yet, a woman is forced to decide between her relationship with her sister, who is unstable in a variety of ways, and the safety of her sister's children.
Brain, Child is quarterly--so I have to wait three months between issues and when a new one comes, I snatch it out of the mailbox and hole up somewhere with it. Even when I don't agree with the points of view presented, I feel better for knowing another side to whatever the story is.
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