First of all, if you have not heard of dooce.com, or Heather B. Armstrong, go visit her blog right now. She’s absolutely hysterical and she writes things I think, but am not brave enough to say out loud. She’s honest, funny, smart, and makes herself completely vulnerable by writing about her personal issues, failures, and achievements.
Well, she also wrote a book called It Sucked and then I Cried. It’s basically about her getting pregnant with her first daughter, Leta, and all the funny things that happened, as well as her doubts and things no one ever told her. It then follows through the first 10 months of Leta’s life and chronicles everything that happens.
Now, if you don’t know about her, Heather has battled with depression for most of her life and was on medicine for a long time. She’s very open about this because she believes, and I believe, that the stigma associate with depression, or medication, or seeing a psychiatrist keeps people from getting the help that is there for them and that will make their life bearable, and even enjoyable. There are people that are very close and dear to me who need to be on some sort of anti-anxiety/depression medication or they don’t function very well. They can’t seem to see past the daily problems and see that tomorrow is a new day. Without the meds, they are very edgy and can get angry or upset easily because they are so anxious or worried that they are failing. There is nothing wrong with them. They just need a little help, and Armstrong is a very strong advocate of this.
Now, I don’t have kids and I’m not pregnant, and I still found this to be an incredibly interesting and hysterical book. The way she tells the stories is so honest and I can see myself in a few years thinking and doing some of the exact same things.
Her writing is somewhat stream of conscious, but it made me feel like I could truly relate to the chaos that was going on in her life and better understand her frustrations.
I think a lot of pregnant women feel that if they voice their concerns or anxieties or doubts about being pregnant or being a mom that they are a bad mom. They’re not. They’re just like every other mother (I’m assuming) who sometimes wonder “What the hell did I get myself into?”
Armstrong will be the first one to say that she isn’t perfect, but through her moments of wanting to run out of the house screaming, you can see how much she loves her husband and her daughter. She says at times that the love for Leta felt “like it would tear [her] in two.” She was grateful for her husband who stuck with her as she struggled with her issues with depression and anxiety and, from what I could tell in the book, they have a great dynamic.
Another thing in the book that I appreciated was her honesty about her postpartum depression. She writes about her fight everyday to keep going and not just lay in bed all day long. And, the most intriguing to me, was when she committed herself to a mental hospital for 5 days. She says it’s the greatest thing that she ever did for her family and herself. There came a point when she didn’t know if she had the strength to continue, and she was brave enough to get the help she needed instead of struggling alone, and possibly, doing something that she couldn’t return from.
I think this is a great book for anyone to read. Mom, pregnant, wife, single, never want to have a child. Everyone. It’s funny and, if nothing else, will either solidify your decision to have or not to have a baby. She shows that yes, it’s hard, but it’s also completely worth it. She also gives some tips and advice along the way. Go read it.