Karen DeBonis

Meet Karen DeBonis

I'm so glad you're here! In addition to being a writer and author, I'm a gardener, old house DIY-er, empty nester, wife, introvert, and napper, in no particular order. And that's just the tip of the Karen iceberg. Let me know how you and I "click." I'd love to hear from you!

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My story

Growth: A Mother, Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They Survived.

Medical gaslighting and a mother's people-pleasing collide, threatening the survival of her young son and shattering her expectations of motherhood.


I thought I was ready for motherhood. I had years of experience as a big sister and babysitter. I had unconditionally loving parents as role models and a devoted husband I called my “rock.” I had a degree in psychology, with numerous child development courses under my belt. Love and limits and stability at home, I had believed, would ensure my children were happy and healthy. I would be that powerful a mom.


My resume of experience had not prepared me for Matthew.


My expectations of motherhood quickly shattered when I realized that love does not conquer all. My overflowing heart didn’t cure Matthew’s colic or hyperactivity or his year of oppositional behavior. I also discovered that being exclusively nice (a euphemism for people-pleasing) did not make the world return the favor.

At eight, Matthew developed an eye-rolling tic. I would later describe his “ocular Ferris Wheel” as the “beginning of the end of the old Matthew.” He’d never be the same. Nor would I. Parenting a sick child pushed me to the limits of what I was capable of as a mother, but I survived. I grew stronger.


Motherhood is one of life’s greatest teachers.


I was slow to learn its lessons, but now I have a memoir to tell the whole story.

You can order Growth from your local independent bookstore or from Amazon, Barnes &Noble, and Bookshop. Or, borrow it from your library. If it's not in their collection, you can request it!  Until then, you can read my essays about personal growth, motherhood, and people-pleasing--my Achilles Heel. To see them, click on “publications” in the menu bar.

Better yet, subscribe by entering your email and I'll send you the first chapter of Growth! (You’ll receive a confirmation email, so please check your junk mail folder if you don’t see it.)

Feel free to contact me. I’d love to hear how you and I “clicked.”

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Karen and Matthew

Published Work