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-nest mother, 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!
Growth: A Mother, Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They Survived is about my naive expectations of motherhood and my inability to assert myself, even when my son's survival depended on it.
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.
Love does not conquer all, I quickly discovered. 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.”
In the meantime, thanks for stopping by!
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- Meals are Bland, Life is Good. The New York Times, a Tiny Love Story. (This essay also appeared in the print edition on 11/15/21.)
- My Son, the Homeowner. The New York Times, a Tiny Love Story. In 2020, this essay also appeared in the anthology Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less, and again in the Tiny Love Stories Page-a-Day Calendar 2023 on March 3.
- A Tale of Two Tumors. Awarded an honorable mention in the Hudson Valley Writers Guild 2021 Non-fiction Contest.
- Where I'm From poetry series with Alyson Shelton on Instagram. (Link is to Youtube.)
- Make Yourself Heard. Brain & Life.
- I Thought My Son's Benign Brain Tumor was Harmless. I was Wrong. Insider.
- I Failed Dry January, The Results Were Still Amazing. Newsweek.com.
- I Never Knew Our Sons Hated My Beloved Holiday Tradition. Today.com.
- I Do Random Acts Of Kindness To Brighten Strangers' Lives — But There's A Twist. HuffPost.
- I Almost Passed Out Getting My Mammogram. Here's what Saved Me the Following Year. Insider.
- Why Selective Noise Helps Highly Sensitive People. The Highly Sensitive Refuge
- Locked Inside. Nasiona.
- The Guts to Tell My Story. Brevity's Nonfiction Blog.
- Mom’s Parting Gift. AARP Disrupt Aging.
- When the Weak Show Strength. Herstry.
- Generational People-Pleasing. Noteworthy, on Medium.
- April Sixth. Past Ten.
- A Hard Lesson in Humility. Pulse.
- Illness Isolates. A haiku. Pulse.
- Story Worth Telling. Literary Mama.
- When a Horrifying Diagnosis is a Relief. Mothers Always Write.
- Why I Hide my Truth. The Sunlight Press.
- Kissing my Knee Goodbye. NextTribe.
- Assertive Mantras. One More Exclamation.
Writers in the Storm Blog
- Finding Your Writing Rhythm
- The Value of Becoming.
- Purge and Welcome.
- Ego vs Humility.
- Becoming Our Own Best Advocates.
- Creative Ways to Handle Query Rejections.
- Harnessing the Power of Writer Karma.
- In Medias Res: A Very Good Place to Start.
- From Non-Writer to Published Author in Twenty Short Years.
- Toxic Productivity for Writers: Do You Have It?
- Talking About Your Book
- What I Didn't Expect after Publishing My Book