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Mom of the House: Trading dolls for real live babies

In this week's Mom of the House, Brianna Bell talks about how she got into this motherhood business in the first place
Mom of the House with Brianna Bell

When I was about four-years-old I became the mother to a little doll-son. I carried my doll-baby everywhere I went.

His name was Michael, and he was always naked, but loved deeply by his four-year-old mother.

I remember bringing him with me in my mom’s purple Chevrolet Cavalier, where he’d sit right beside me in the backseat. He came with me on all my childhood adventures: pumpkin picking at Downey’s Farm, hiking in the fall at Belfountain Village, building sand castles at Sauble Beach, and riding the Via Rail to New Brunswick.

Nestled in the vintage corner of my heart, this is where my memories of little Michael remains, and the memory of a little girl who was born to nurture.

To nobody’s surprise, the sweet nurturing little girl grew up to get married at the ripe old age of 21. At the time, I was oblivious to what it meant to be married and join my life with another human’s in holy matrimony. We were naïve, we were in love, and we were unstoppable (although many did try). 

I remember one of the most common bits of advice we received in those early days, “Don’t you get pregnant; enjoy your time as a married couple!”

And we did enjoy ourselves. We enjoyed each other for an entire four months, until one day I announced with a girlish smirk on my face to my young husband, “I’m pregnant!”

I could nearly feel our family and friends’ eyeballs rolling to the backs of their heads when I read my positive pregnancy test. But again, I was 21 and still naïve.

It didn’t take long for the reality of my pregnancy to hit me. It hit me so hard that for a full three months I barely left the bathroom. I swore that I was the most sick pregnant woman that ever lived.

But I persevered, because I knew by the time my sweet baby was in my arms, the hard parts would be over, and the real fun would begin.


My sweet baby is now nearly four-years-old, and her little sister will soon be two. Although my husband and I are only 26, we’ve lived a lifetime these last five years of marriage.

We aren’t so naïve anymore, but we’ve also never been so in love.

We left the GTA in September 2013 and decided to make a life for ourselves in Guelph.

We both agreed that we would pursue our wildest dreams here. My husband, as a youth pastor and advocate for young people at the largest church in Guelph. Myself, as a grown-up mother who traded her girlhood dolls for real live babies (did you know you actually have to dress real babies?)

Last year, I packed up my maternity clothes and itty-bitty baby clothes and decided to call it a day on baby-making.

We were happy with our two daughters, and knew it was time to focus on raising our girls, strengthening our marriage, and allowing me to pursue my wildest dreams.

And with that, my third baby was born: my writing career.

In only a year, I have experienced a lot of “firsts” with my third baby.

First story to be published in a book. First reported article in the newspaper. First essay in a national paper. And many other firsts along the way.

And now, my writing “baby” gets to check-off a new first on its calendar: a column to call my own, to share with others.

A perfect mosaic of all the beautiful passions of my life: motherhood, writing, and this community of mothers that I hold very dear to me in the great city of Guelph.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I'd it say it takes a village to write an amazing column.

So please connect with me in the comments section or by email at and thank you for reading!

Until next week...