Mummy, Is Your Brain Okay?

Mummy, Is Your Brain Okay?

Written by Jess Carey
Illustrated by Rebecca Mignone


Purchase via Blurb for delivery worldwide!

Read it? Review it on Goodreads and help other families find it!

About the Book

Everyone feels sick, sometimes.
Brains feel sick, too. Like my mummy’s brain.
And when mummy’s brain is sick,
it can do some strange things…

A visual journey of a mum’s mind through a child’s eyes, Mummy, Is Your Brain Okay? gently explains the difficult and unwelcome effects of mental illness.

Mental illness can be quite a difficult concept for a child to grasp – they can’t see inside someone’s head, after all! And with research estimating that 20% of mothers experience postnatal depression(1), and almost a quarter of Australian children have a parent with non-substance mental illness(2), it’s something we need to be able to talk about with our children. The good news is that research has indicated that children can actually build their resilience when they understand their parent’s mental illness(3).

Mummy, Is Your Brain Okay? was designed to help children understand some of the things that can happen when their parent has a mental illness, that they can’t necessarily control (from cereal dinners because the groceries were forgotten to hospitalisation). But more importantly, it was written to show that a parent’s mental illness is in no way their child’s fault or responsibility.

In removing the stigma of mental illness by talking about it with our children, we can empower parents to take better care of themselves. And we can remind children they are still very loved, while giving them an understanding of the world around them that they so crave.

PRAISE FOR Mummy, Is Your Brain Okay?

Book Details:

  • Categories: Picture books, Children, Mental illness
  • # of Pages: 32
  • ISBN: 9798210344182
  • Language English

1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2012). Perinatal depression: data from the 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey. Canberra: AIHW.
2. Maybery, D., Reupert, A., Patrick, K., Goodyear, M., & Crase, L. (2009). Prevalence of parental mental illness in Australian families. Psychiatric Bulletin, 33(1), 22-26.
3. Beardslee W, Podoresfsky D (1998) Resilient adolescents whose parents have serious effective and other psychiatric disorders: Importance of self-understanding and relationships. The American Journal of Psychiatry 145:63–9. as cited in RANZCP Position Statement 56: Children of parents with mental illness. Published May 2016.


MELBOURNE: 263 Days in Lockdown

MELBOURNE: 263 Days in Lockdown

thoughts, images & headlines from two years of COVID in the world’s most locked down city.

Available now in paperback for delivery worldwide.

As featured on the Melbourne City of Literature READING MELBOURNE book list

Read it? Review it on Goodreads and help others find it!

About the Book

We all have different ways of finding meaning in chaotic times. Me? I write. So it was only natural that, when COVID hit Melbourne, I turned to my pen.

News outlets around the world reported on Melbourne’s strict and long-lasting COVID lockdown measures. People either praised our efforts to stop the spread, or mocked us as blind, dumb sheep. Regardless of their stance, though, it was impossible to ignore the fact that life in Melbourne had become extraordinarily difficult.

This book is a collection of my journal entries and photos throughout the first two years of the pandemic, along with news headlines from around the world, Melbourne’s lockdown guidelines, and case number statistics. Things that I thought might be interesting to look back on and show my son when (if) life returns to some semblance of normal. While my rants felt so personal when I wrote them, I looked back and realised that anyone in my position could have written about the frustration, exhaustion, loss of freedom and constant fear I felt.

Everyone has experienced this pandemic differently – this collection is nothing more than an account of my own thoughts and feelings during a very unprecedented time. A collection which helped me to process it a little. Maybe it will help you process some of it, too.

PRAISE FOR MELBOURNE: 263 Days in Lockdown

“Jess’s account of 263 days in Lockdown hit straight to the rawness we all felt as we navigated the pandemic. As a Melburnian, I related to so much of what Jess documented. It’s a fabulous compilation that tracks the progression of Covid-19 throughout the world via global headlines, data sources and political messages, however it’s Jess’s personal entries and photos that make this book unique. The pandemic is a chapter in history that we will always hold with a strange mix of fear and gratitude and Jess has captured it so effectively here. “
— KYLIE ORR, author of Someone Else’s Child

“What a wonderful read. 263 Days in Lockdown is an insightful, honest and funny read, which takes me back to every moment of experiencing Victoria’s challenging lockdown. As a fellow mother who raised a toddler during the COVID pandemic, I really related to this book and felt every challenge and emotion along the way. Jess Carey is a talented young writer and one to watch. This will be a great book to remember the challenges of the last couple of years which are communicated so honestly and factually. I look forward to sharing it with my son one day “
— LISA HOLMEN, writer, photographer, marketing whiz, and mum

“At times, it feels like it all happened just yesterday. You remind us not to take those little things in life for granted. The coffee dates, swim lessons, seeing friends and family, travel and the list goes on…”
— BONNY, Melburnian and new dad

• • • • •

Book Details:

  • Categories: COVID-19, Pandemic, Australia, Melbourne, Memoir
  • # of Pages: 216
  • ISBN: 9798210125354
  • Publish Date: 15 March 2022
  • Language English

Messing up in Ketchikan

This life is what you make it. No matter what, you’re going to mess us sometimes, it’s a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you’re going to mess it up.
– Marilyn Monroe


It’s an odd place, Ketchikan. At least it is in early October, when the cruise ships have ended their season and the town returns to the residents.

The skies were grey for the entire duration of our visit, as if to warn us away. We were met with a mixture of curiosity and suspicion by the locals, who couldn’t understand what two young people could possibly be doing in their little town as independent travellers – we were asked more than once if we’d missed our cruise ship home. Saying no and that we were Australians seemed to be a valid enough explanation for at least half of them.

We stayed in a guest house on Creek Street, because everything else was closed for the season. It was a creaky, old weatherboard building that served as a dance hall and Alaska’s first registered brothel before it was closed in the 1950s. Creek Street is full of these aging wooden tributes to the past, sitting in a wonky line along a rickety boardwalk, held up on criss-crossed wooden stilts.

They stand like aging movie stars past their prime but too proud to step aside. Tarnished metal plaques on their outer walls bear their names – Star House, Preacher’s House, June’s Place – and their bright colours stand out against the grey sky – mint green, sky blue, salmon pink.

Salmon. The perfect Alaskan stereotype. The creek is full of them. Walking the boardwalk at dusk, when the sky is turning pink and the air is still, there’s an acrid smell of gutted sea creatures that reminds you of the end of the day at a fish market. The water in the creek rises and falls fast, faster than many of the salmon can keep up with.

When the creek water falls at the end of the day, you can finally see what lies beneath. Below the wooden stilts of the boardwalk, a vicious valley of jagged rocks appears, and caught up them are the salmon. Dozens, maybe hundreds of them.

Things started moving too fast for them, and they’ve gotten themselves stuck just as the tide falls back out. And just as you’re processing the savage fate of the fish, the seagulls sweep in like vultures, picking at them as they lay helpless in their death throes.

That’s life. Sometimes things change too fast for us to keep up, and we stumble. Occasionally, there will be those who come along when we’re most vulnerable to pick at our wounds. Shit happens; we mess up and we get stuck. But we’re not victims of the tide. If we’re paying attention, we know when we’ve messed up, and if we can mess up right, we get the chance to learn something from it, save ourselves, and keep on going.

Duck-egg blue

Entrant in the 2020 YPRL Booklovers Festival Flash Fiction Competition.


She put the rusty car in park, opened the door and swung her feet out as she slung the worn straps of her handbag over her shoulder. Shaking her hair out to cover the old bag straps, she took a deep breath, threw her shoulders back, and strode purposefully towards the front door. She smiled back at the real estate agent waiting on the porch.

“Back again! I take that to mean you’re interested?” “Oh, yes,” she said. “I have to have it.”
The agent laughed, not realising how serious she was.

Her black heels clicked over the shiny floorboard as she crossed the lounge to the kitchen. She ran a perfectly manicured red nail over the grey marble bench top, looking longingly at the duck-egg blue walls and bay windows. She had to have this house.

As she stepped towards the laundry, her phone rang. “I’m so sorry, I have to take this: it’s my doctor.” “That’s no problem, I’ll just step outside a moment.”

She turned her back to the agent, and answered the call. She fell silent, nodding wordlessly, although Dr Hartman obviously couldn’t see her.
“Do you understand what I’m telling you Rachel? You only have twenty four hours… I’m so sorry I had to tell you like this, but there simply wasn’t time… Rachel…?”
“Yes. Yes, thank you Dr Hartman, I understand, I have to go…”

She slid the phone back into her bag and made her way to the front door.
“Thank you, Marcie. I’ll be in touch.”
“Oh, Mrs Calloway, I’ve just come off the phone with the vendor. They’ve just received an offer, and have given me twenty four hours to take any others to them before they accept it… Mrs Calloway?”

She didn’t hear; she was already at her car.
She drove, fast, all the way home. Then she drank the fancy wine she’d been saving, the whole bottle, and fell asleep on the couch.

–   –   –

She woke to the vibration of her phone. Eight missed calls. She answered: Dr Hartman. With the little vial she needed to ensure her survival. She jumped up, threw on her shoes and grabbed her keys – she only had three hours and the clinic was almost two hours away. She threw the car into reverse and flew down the driveway. The phone rang again just as she approached the freeway. Marcie. The house. Shit.

“Mrs Calloway, I’ve been trying to reach you all morning. The vendors are ready to accept the offer and I hadn’t heard from you. If you still want it, I need a figure, and I need you at the house in the next hour to sign the contracts. Mrs Calloway? Are you there?”

She had to have that house. It had to be signed back under her name, even if she’d never live in it again. She swerved out of the freeway entrance lane, spinning the car in a very illegal turn across four lanes, and sped towards the house.

“Marcie, tell them $1.2 million. I’ll be there in 45 minutes.”

Keep Your Chin Up

About the Book

So you’ve been told that your new baby has a medical condition called Pierre-Robin Sequence. OK. I know you’re scared right now, because I’ve been there. Finding helpful information online was almost impossible, which only made it scarier. That’s I why I wrote this book.

Within, you’ll find many of the questions we searched for answers to when our son was first diagnosed – how will this affect his development? What difficulties will we have with feeding? What treatment options are there? How will his time in NICU affect him long term? With research drawn from over 150 medical sources, photos, and interview with more than twenty PRS families, and my own personal journal entries from birth to NICU and beyond, this is a guide to PRS written for parents, by a parent.

• • • • •


If you just found out your newborn has PRS, read this book! It provides an extensive and thorough understanding of PRS without being overwhelming, while also providing relatable insight into the experiences you may have as a parent of a newborn with PRS while the NICU. This helpful guide is written by a mother who has lived it herself, and wants to help others by providing an easy to read educational tool. I absolutely wish I had something like this book for support and guidance when I was in the NICU with my PRS newborn!
– Shannon, PRS mom, USA

This book is what every parent with Pierre Robin Sequence should be presented with upon diagnosis. The book gives the options parents may be presented with surgeries to help their child, with ideas for families to mention to their providers, with real life results. It is so helpful to see other families’ progress and healing.
– Kelly, PRS mom, USA

This book is exactly what new PRS parents and families need to read. If only this was out when we first found out about PRS! Showing your own journey and providing all details, even the frustrating ones is exactly what is needed.
– Kiera, PRS mom, Canada

• • • • •

Book Details: 1st Edition
  • Categories: Medicine & Science, Parenting, Baby, Pediatrics
  • # of Pages: 246
  • ISBN
    • Hardcover, ImageWrap: 9781715035440
    • Softcover: 9781715035457
  • Publish Date: Jun 11, 2020
  • Language English

Book Details: 2nd Edition
  • Categories: Medicine & Science, Parenting, Baby, Pediatrics
  • # of Pages: 218
  • ISBN
    • Hardcover, ImageWrap (colour): 9781006660191
    • Hardcover, ImageWrap (black & white): 9781006660030
    • Softcover (colour): 9781006660184
    • Softcover (black & white): 9781006660023
  • Publish Date: Aug 03, 2021
  • Language English