“Writers are not here to conform. We are here to challenge. We’re not here to be comfortable—we’re here, really, to shake things up. That’s our job.” Jeanette Winterson

Brianna Bell is an Ontario-based journalist, essayist, and mental health advocate. Brianna launched her career in journalism in 2015, and has so far published hundreds of articles in various print and digital publications. You can find her work in The New York Times, The Globe & Mail, The Guardian, and The Independent.

Published WorkBio

Published In

Featured Work

Today's Parent · December 4th, 2020

False positive pregnancy tests: Do they really happen?

Hours after waiting in the ER, a mandatory mask covering my fear and worry, the physician finally entered my room. “I’m sorry to tell you that you aren’t pregnant,” she said. My blood test, she explained, showed not even a hint of the hormone hCG—meaning I wasn’t just not pregnant, but I had never b...

Read it

Washington Post · November 25th, 2020

How to incorporate art made of barn wood

Much of modern farmhouse style — the shiplap, natural materials and distressed finishes popularized by magazines and shows such as HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” — evokes a simpler time in a vague, nostalgic way. But barn wood art, the latest farmhouse decor peppering your social media feeds, has a very speci...

Read it

Macleans · October 20th, 2020

How the pandemic blew my family budget

I recently downloaded a budget tracking app on my phone, but it didn’t take long before I was internally screaming and tossing the phone across the room. My daughter was sitting at the kitchen table digging into a carton of eight dollar strawberries, while my new puppy nibbled on my toes, and my hus...

Read it

The Globe & Mail · October 7th, 2020

The pandemic made me move

Six months before coronavirus reached our small city of Guelph, Ont. my husband Daniel and I purchased our first home. We had no idea that, just six months later, it would no longer suit our needs....

Read it

The Globe & Mail · October 4th, 2020

Kids' runny noses and sore throats are now a nightmare for parents like me

When Ontario’s Doug Ford government announced that students would be resuming classes full-time in September, only six weeks before school was starting, I heaved a sigh of relief. As of mid-March I’ve put my career on hold and have been the main caregiver for my three kids with minimal outside suppo...

Read it

Good Housekeeping · September 29th, 2020

COVID made my depression worse, and it's affecting my parenting

I was already struggling as a parent before the pandemic turned the world upside down. Four years ago, I was diagnosed with clinical depression, anxiety, PTSD and agoraphobia. I’ve managed my responsibilities as a parent through therapy, medication, routine and alone time to decompress....

Read it

The Boston Globe · August 26th, 2020

Can anyone afford to retire in Massachusetts?

In Greater Boston, home sweet home can feel more bitter than sweet — even in retirement. Evaluating how much money you’ll need to retire is one key to unlocking your prospects for living comfortably in your later years....

Read it

Lowest Rates · July 29th, 2020

I made $16,000 on my wedding day - and I blew almost all of it

I said yes to a lifetime with my husband, Daniel, in 2011 on a chilly day in May. After an afternoon spent shivering under an outdoor tent with our guests at a ritzy golf club, we arrived at our hotel suite by the airport, where we sipped champagne and fed each other chocolate-covered strawberries. ...

Read it

The Globe & Mail · May 1st, 2020

The pandemic is hard enough. Don't make it harder by shaming people who are trying their best

Like every other Canadian, my family is under strict orders to stay away from others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most days we stay at home, where I break apart sisterly arguments and attempt to teach math to my school-aged children. My kids play in our tiny backyard, or scooter down the sidewalk....

Read it

The Lily by The Washington Post · April 28th, 2020

Between three kids, I breast-fed for 75 months. I wouldn't necessarily do it again.

The older and wiser version of myself wouldn’t have sacrificed my body, my health and my sanity for over half a decade. But I’m not the only one. Women I spoke to for this piece said when they became moms for the first time, the pressure to breast-feed was intense and overwhelming....

Read it

Good Housekeeping · April 24th, 2020

How parents can stay intimate during quarantine, even with kids home

I wake up to a sharp knee kicking me in the back, and roll over to see my toddler peacefully stretched out between my husband and me. With one eye open, I nudge her back over to her dad’s side of the bed, and pull the covers over my head to attempt a few more minutes of shut-eye....

Read it

CBC Parents · April 3rd, 2020

It's impossible to limit my kids' screentime right now

Like other parents raising children in the 21st century, I’m trying to nurture my kids in a fast-paced digital world and struggling to keep up. Right now we’re also dealing with a global pandemic, and I’m finding it especially challenging to balance work, household chores, educating my children and ...

Read it

Oprah Magazine · March 30th, 2020

I have agoraphobia, but social distancing is terrifying

I know what it’s like to be wrapped up in the embrace of four walls; I’ve spent much of my life huddled on my couch, a blanket as my cocoon from the outside world. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with agoraphobia, a type of anxiety disorder that often leaves you housebound....

Read it

The Guardian · March 24th, 2020

Experts share how to talk to your kids about the coronavirus

There are no books on how to talk to kids about a global pandemic. Three experts share advice on what to tell them about the coronavirus....

Read it

Singlecare · March 23rd, 2020

Protecting your mental health during COVID-19

I’ve battled mental health challenges my entire life. My psychiatrist has diagnosed me with panic disorder, agoraphobia, PTSD, and clinical depression within the past four years. While the internet has been full of jokes that introverted people are thrilled to be at home alone, I don’t find those jo...

Read it

The Lily (The Washington Post) · March 10th, 2020

I grew up struggling financially. My husband didn't. Here's how we talk about finances

His childhood couldn’t have been more different from mine. While his upbringing was rich in opportunity and material things, mine was full of culture and tough life lessons....

Read it

Today's Parent · March 5th, 2020

Your Guide to Keeping Your Kid's Hands Clean

Every morning I open the sliding door of my van and drop off my two school-aged kids for a full-day of fun and learning. Lately, in addition to a kiss and a wave, I’ve been adding a quick reminder: “Don’t forget to wash your hands!” With the coronavirus showing no signs of slowing down, I’m doing ev...

Read it

The Guardian · February 6th, 2020

Is it impossible to have a full-time job and breastfeed?

When I gave birth to my first child the nurses didn’t want to release me from the hospital – I was that bad at breastfeeding. They pulled and stretched my nipples, treating them like pieces of silly putty, rather than the soft and tender flesh that they were. If you’d told me that I’d eventually bre...

Read it

CBC · February 5th, 2020

I 100% support our teachers, but this strike is damn hard

As a mother to three young children I understand everything our teachers are fighting for. Full-day kindergarten, appropriate and effective support for children with special needs, fair hiring practices and wage increases at the rate of inflation (around 2 per cent) are just a few of the hot button ...

Read it

Toronto Star · February 4th, 2020

Jennifer Lopez deserves praise, not scorn, for her Super Bowl performance

Jennifer Lopez, a 50-year-old mom of preteen twins, won the Super Bowl on Sunday. Lopez shared the stage with Colombian singer Shakira, 43 ⁠ — it was the first time two Latina women headlined during a Super Bowl halftime show....

Read it

Narratively · January 6th, 2020

Secret life of a broke personal finance guru

On a warm spring day in March 2015, I fluttered around our family home with nervous energy. In one hour, I had a phone interview with Canada’s largest newspaper, The Globe and Mail. As a budding freelance writer, I had pitched the story of my family’s downsizing journey, hoping to get my first big a...

Read it

Broadview Magazine · October 10th, 2019

My family's eviction is a symptom of the housing crisis

“I keep thinking I’ll wake up and it will all be a dream,” my seven-year-old daughter said, her voice drifting from the backseat, while I drove her to school on a cool fall morning. The night before, I had shared with her, my oldest child, that we were being evicted from our Guelph, Ont. townhouse ...

Read it

The New York Times · September 26th, 2019

I'll never be a type A mother, and that's okay

When my house is a disaster and I’m home all day with my three kids, I don’t clean it — I escape the mess. One recent morning I packed my kids into our van and headed to my friend Hannah’s home, where I knew there’d be no clutter, but there would be a full fridge. While Hannah warmed up some homemad...

Read it


You can reach Brianna at briannarbell@gmail.com