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It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita

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An irreverent and captivating memoir about the unexpected joys and glaring indignities of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood - from the beloved creator of the most popular personal blog on the web, dooce.com
Heather Armstrong gave up a lot of things when she and her husband, Jon, decided to have a baby: beer, small boobs, free time -- and antidepressants. The eighteen months that followed were filled with anxiety, constipation, nacho cheese Doritos, and an unconditional love that threatened to make her heart explode. Still, as baby Leta grew and her husband, Jon, returned to work, Heather faced lonely days, sleepless nights, and endless screaming that sometimes made her wish she'd never become a mother. Just as she was poised to throw another gallon of milk at her husband's head, she committed herself for a short stay in a mental hospital -- the best decision she ever made for her family.
To the dedicated millions who can't get enough of Heather's unforgettably unique style and hilarious stories on her hugely popular blog, there's little she won't share about her daily life as a recovering Mormon, liberal daughter of Republicans, wife of a charming geek, lover of television that exceeds at being really awful, and stay-at-home mom to five-year-old Leta and two willful dogs.
In It Sucked and Then I Cried, Heather tells, with trademark wit, the heartfelt, unrelentingly honest story of her battle with postpartum depression and all the other minor details of pregnancy and motherhood that no one cares to mention. Like how boring it can be to care for someone whose primary means of communication is through her bowels. And how long it can possibly take to reconvene the procedure that got you into this whole parenthood mess in the first place. And how you sometimes think you can't possibly go five more minutes without breathing in that utterly irresistible and totally redeemable fresh baby smell.
It Sucked and Then I Cried is a brave cautionary tale about crossing over that invisible line to the other side (the parenting side), where everything changes and it only gets worse. But most of all, it's a celebration of a love so big it can break your heart into a million pieces.

272 pages, Hardcover

First published March 5, 2009

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About the author

Heather B. Armstrong

7 books311 followers
Heather B. Armstrong is widely acknowledged to be the most popular “mommy blogger” in the world. Her website, dooce®, has twice been listed as one of the 25 best blogs in the world by Time magazine and Forbes listed it as a top 100 website for women. In the eighteen years that Heather has been shaping the internet writing community, she’s worked to create targeted content not only for fellow parents but also for numerous global brands—including Ford, Nintendo, and Clorox—and written a New York Times bestseller, It Sucked and Then I Cried. She lives in Salt Lake City with her two lovely daughters and an insane herding dog.

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5 stars
750 (18%)
4 stars
1,319 (32%)
3 stars
1,372 (33%)
2 stars
506 (12%)
1 star
155 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 726 reviews
Profile Image for Purl Scout.
237 reviews6 followers
February 8, 2013
Despite the obvious flaws about this book, that it is poorly written by someone who thinks she is far funnier than she actually is, I would actually recommend it to very new moms. The author does a really good job of relaying the isolation and upheaval that accompany the arrival of a baby, especially one's first. Some of her anecdotes are insightful, and could possibly be a beacon of light much needed by a frazzled and overly emotional new mom. I personally had a problem with the prose. Every paragraph is dappled with an attempt at witticism, which became highly annoying within the first few chapters. The book definitely reads like the compilation of a blog (which it is) and not like a true memoir, so it does seem like the author is merely treading water and not actually progressing. Overall, though, I did kind of enjoy it...even if it was just because I liked feeling a bit superior, like I have actually come quite a long way since my first few shaky months as a first time mom.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
713 reviews36 followers
April 12, 2009
This book is by the author of dooce.com, a website/blog that I love. In many ways, this is just a compilation of her (hilarious) entries over the years. She covers her pregnancy, her delivery, her struggle with postpartum depression, and how hard it is to get to Starbucks with a screaming baby.

I'm not so sure that what works in the small format of her blog translates that well into a book-length project. I also think that the author isn't clear on what, exactly, she wants this book to be: a description of a routine entry into parenthood (my back hurts! my clothes don't fit! my kid's feet are cute!) or an exploration of the un-routine aspects of her experience (e.g. she went to a in-patient psychiatric facility for treatment). I understand that her real journey involves both of these things, but I think she over-writes the mundane and doesn't give enough in-depth attention to what really distinguishes this story from all the other "being a mom is hard, but it's such a joy" literature that's out there.

Profile Image for Olive.
57 reviews25 followers
June 25, 2009
I'm gonna go with the positive-negative-positive form for this because, really, I do like Heather as a blogger and momversation panelist. I get a lot of little laughs from the (often) dark humor in her blogging style. Most of her writing can be viewed as raw, rational and relatable.

But... in her memoir, the exaggerations are just too much for me. She gives the worst Negative Nancy a run for her money in this one. Even in her attempts to be warm and fuzzy and shed some light on the positive aspects of pregnancy and life as a new parent, there is always some sort of exaggeration or complaint lurking in the shadows. I love the tell-it-like-it-is/rip-the-bandaid-off style of mom bloggers most of the time (and I must say that I do actually enjoy reading her blog which is why my reaction to her memoir surprises me) but this memoir took it to a level that I just can't truly appreciate.

That said, I still gave it three stars due to a few laugh-out-loud moments that helped me get over a lot of her crude exaggerations.
197 reviews7 followers
March 2, 2011
I bought this after being intrigued by its mention in an article in the NYTimes magazine last week. I'd never heard of the website dooced, which is the source of this author's fame. I wanted to read this because it is supposed to be about her postpartum depression. But, despite the supposed depression taking a starring role in both the introduction and the acknowledgments, there is surprisingly little of it in the book itself. There are more stories about her dog and her hemorrhoids than about her depression. She's a "funny" writer, in the sense that every other sentence is some kind of quip, a la Rodney Dangerfield. The problem is that the quips aren't amusing, at least not to me.
When she wasn't trying so hard to be "funny", there were some good moments. I identified with her crushing anxiety in the evenings, knowing she wouldn't sleep that night, and I thought she wrote well in general about the around-the-clock hell of dealing with an infant that doesn't sleep: "Being a mother was the hardest thing I'd ever done. It was really, really hard. It was impossible to make a single coherent decision when I was completely beholden to another creature's sleep schedule, and that creature happened to sleep in random 90 minute blocks. It wasn't so much sadness I felt but utter delirium, and by the end of the day when we faced another night of not knowing if she was going to sleep, it was hard not to ask myself, how the hell can I do this another day?" Well said.

I'll check out her blog (apparently it's hugely popular and makes her millions and somehow I've never heard of it) but I don't recommend this book.
Profile Image for Meggan.
96 reviews6 followers
March 4, 2012
I had been an avid Dooce reader since before she had Leta, but have greatly tapered off my reading in the last few years. I felt like her writing became more "gimmicky" (ALL CAPS! WOO!) and too quick to make a "let's shock my dad by saying BALLS!" joke. That said, when I saw this book on the library shelves I picked it up because I thought, hey, I've liked her stuff before, so why not?

Much of it is reprinted from the blog. I recognized not only specific anecdotes, but actual phrases from her blog posts, as well as her monthly letters to Leta. This would probably have been fine for someone less familiar with her blog, but I found it kind of off-putting. Like, why should I bother reading the book if it's already all online?

The book was entertaining, but I found myself really wishing it went into more detail than what was posted on her blog. As-is, I feel like I came away from the book knowing just as much about her experience as I did before reading it. There was a bit much of "pregnancy is HORRIBLE and you will gain THIRTY POUNDS!" and too little of her stint in the hospital and her subsequent recovery.

I feel like a jerk writing this review because if I were an author, I'd hate to read less-than-positive reviews of my work, but I really did find the book to be only "okay." I might be interested in reading some of her other stuff, but I won't be clamoring at the library doors to do it.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
397 reviews81 followers
June 29, 2010
although there were times when this book did make me laugh out loud, i'm conflicted as to whether or not i could honestly say i enjoyed it. i guess i did. but there were a few things that made it hard to enjoy:
-this lady needs to learn about italics. while it may be acceptable to put things in all caps for emphasis when you're writing on a blog, it's pretty ridiculous when you're writing a book. and this lady uses a lot of all caps for emphasis. i feel that if you're going to change format, you should at least make an attempt at honoring the format you're attempting.
-i feel conflicted about my opinion of this lady--and since it's her memoir, that matters. i have a lot of sympathy for her, but at the same time she was infuriating in that she is always the center of the universe. maybe she's not really like that in real life, but she came off that way here. like one of those obnoxious women who, when planning a wedding, screams 'this is MY day! it's about me!' i could be totally wrong about that... but she seemed like someone i would actively dislike if i met her, and that made it hard for me to sort of hang out with her for an evening while i read her book.
on the up side, she discussed a lot of things about pregnancy that i haven't heard before. and as a potential breeder, i want to hear all about it from people who have been through it.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
10 reviews
July 7, 2009
So, so funny. I absolutely loved it! Heather is truthful, hilarious, blunt and so real.
For someone like myself who is planning on having children in the next few years and deals with anxiety, I felt like Heather was writing me a manual. Not telling me what was going to happen necessarily, but preparing me for what might. She forcefully and eloquently removes the stigma attached with mental illness and the inability to always be in control. She shows that you can be a good mom, a good wife, and good all-around person while still dealing with the yucky stuff. It isn't all perfect and we aren't all going to have an easy time of it. Heather shows that the best we can do is be vocal about what we are feeling and seek help when we need it.
In addition to the "mental health" stuff, Heather is a bad-ass who says such hilarious stuff that you would squirt milk out of your nose if you had it in your mouth.
Not recommended for everyone; but an absolute must-read for anyone about to have children or who just has.
I love Heather!
Profile Image for Heidi.
341 reviews1 follower
April 1, 2009
I had already read a lot of this book's content on dooce.com back when I was pregnant. At the time, I was reading as many different perspectives on pregnancy, labor, delivery, & new motherhood that I could find. I enjoyed this author then, as she is so brutally honest & funny. I found reading this in book form less enjoyable though, because it starts sounding like an awful lot of hyperbolic complaining. (Like, comparing an extra long hike to Starbucks through a parking lot to Moses wandering the desert.) However, I think it would be a good book for new moms, or moms-to-be, because she sheds light on some of the more difficult aspects of pregnancy & motherhood, and is very honest about her depression which could be very helpful to someone having a similar experience.
Profile Image for Abby.
387 reviews63 followers
Want to read
March 12, 2009
I never heard of this lady, but she says she's a "recovering Mormon". Ha, ha. She left the church before having a baby? No wonder it sucked! Doesn't she know the Relief Society brings you free dinners after you give birth??

Looks like she is speaking in Salt Lake two days after my due date with this baby. So, I probably won't make it. Plus probably I don't want to hear about post partum depression right before/after getting a newborn. Maybe I'll read it AFTER I'm past that stage.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
605 reviews15 followers
May 8, 2018
Library Biography # 27 – technically the Library discarded this book, but I bought it at their book sale so I’ll be counting those that I’ve purchased as well.

While I felt that Armstrong gave an honest portrayal of emotions and experiences of a new mother – those that we all like to hide behind a smile – I felt like maybe I read this book too late. Meaning that it would probably mean more to a new mother, someone who was currently going through the waves of adjustment after the baby arrives, and that was many moons ago for me. I can still relate, but the feelings aren't fresh.

Armstrong uses humor and often tongue in cheek jokes to get through some of the tougher parts of her story. I’m sure this was her coping mechanism, which makes light the crude reality of emotions that all mothers feel at one point or another.

What I didn’t like was some of the formatting that Armstrong chose to use. For example she liked to use caps to emphasize usually REALLY ABOUT ANYTHING. To me, it took away from the seriousness of what she was trying to get across.
Profile Image for Laura Ghory.
45 reviews1 follower
June 23, 2023
Reading this posthumously was harder for me than I thought it would be. I have followed Heather Armstrong (dooce.com) for at least 15 years and her recent death by suicide has had a fairly big impact on me. So much of this book was even more heartbreaking now that she is gone. I always looked to her for her vocalization with her struggles with mental health because it was so comforting to me and my own struggles. Knowing she finally lost her battle has been difficult to swallow. For someone who loved and always enjoyed her writing I did love getting to revisit this time in her life. Thinking of her children and family and all those who loved her like I did.
Profile Image for Anne.
797 reviews30 followers
January 17, 2011
Humor is a strange thing...what some people absolutely love, I've found I just can't stand. The author of this book is apparently one of the most popular, if not the most popular blogger on the internet (I have no idea how such things are measured). This is her semi-serious book about giving birth, the miracles of motherhood, and how she dealt with it all given her history of depression. I found most of the things she joked about to be tiresome, and her effusive emotions about her love for everything having to do with her child were just annoying. The books came across as a love letter to her kid - which while very sweet in the abstract isn't something I'm particularly interested in reading. What I was interested in reading about was her experience with post-partum depression - but she doesn't get to this until nearly the end of the book. I think many people think of post-partum depression as "the blues" or general crying and mopiness. Armstrong was quite honest about how her depression utterly debilitated her - how it prevented her from sleeping, and caused her not to just lie around as many people assume, but actually to do the opposite - to cause her such anxiety and stress that she was physically incapable of slowing down. Armstrong credits her husband and some of her family for getting her through her most difficult time - and this seems much deserved - but I did feel like the solution was mostly time and medical intervention - and maybe that is the real solution. I think I was looking for more in terms of how to better recognize this problem in oneself and others, how one can be a support for a family member going through this, and how one can ask for help if they recognize the symptoms in themselves. While billed as a book about getting through mental illness, this was more just a memoir of one woman's experience with childbirth and the first year or raising a first child - not my cup of tea, but certainly something (given her popularity) that apparently a lot of people are in the market for.
Profile Image for Alison.
190 reviews
May 20, 2010
Although I was an active reader of dooce.com (I've since drifted away) at the time that the events in this book were happening, I have a whole new appreciation of them now that I am at the end of my pregnancy and about to enter motherhood. I applaud Heather's honesty and forthrightness regarding her depression before and after childbirth, the trials of being a new parent, and most of all, the joy and love she feels for her daughter.

While I still don't think I can fully appreciate her story until I've been a parent for at least a few months, I believe she has given me an even better idea of what to expect - so many people have either played up the horrible parts of being a parent (you will never, ever, ever sleep again and your life is over because you'll do nothing but feed the baby and do laundry) or completely downplayed them (babies sleep all the time, you can take them wherever you go, and your life will be all sweetness and magic), that it was refreshing to hear that yes, it can be unimaginably awful and unimaginably wonderful, that it can be both at the same time, and that it's okay not to try to sugar-coat the bad parts.

In the end, the message that I got is that it is possible to love your child completely and more than you ever dreamed possible in spite of all the difficulties of being a new parent.

And on top of that, it's a very, very funny book - a terrific break from all of the how-to-check-a-newborn's-temperature kind of books I've been reading these days.
Profile Image for jess.
852 reviews75 followers
December 6, 2009
For the eight hundredth time, I really don't like books that used to be blogs so I don't know why I keep reading them, but here I am. Once again. Here is the book version of dooce.com's pregnancy, birth, postpartum depression, mental breakdown, and healing process. I liked this book because Heather B. Armstrong is a very funny person. She overshares. She says the things you are not supposed to say. She's a little blue island in the middle of big red Utah, and her mom is the Avon World Sales Leader. She is painfully honest about all the ways she feels she falls short as a parent, a wife, and a person. She's painfully honest about checking herself into a mental hospital, and she still manages to be funny about it. This book is a nice romp through the early days of Heather's new motherhood, and a nice primer for someone who may have recently stated reading her blog. It's a beacon of hope to other moms who have postpartum depression. She says she would not be alive, her child would have no mother, her husband would have left her except she made the totally righteous move to get help to fix her brain. I think Heather helps to destigmatize getting help for depression, and that's cool. At the end of the day, this is a 250-something page mommy blog. If you can handle that, you will lol.
14 reviews3 followers
June 9, 2009
I borrowed this book from Casey because I had recently gotten hooked onto Heather Armstrong's blog (Dooce.com) via friends who had been reading it for a while. Heather is witty, brutally honest, and so human in her writing. I love that she is able to take something like pregnancy, labor & deliver, and having an infant and be more honest and raw about it than anyone out there has ever been, but have it still be thoughtful and carry a message. Sometimes the things she says in the book and her blog honestly scare the living shit out of me regarding parenthood, but dear God I'm glad she does because I think the world is really devoid of honest, straighforward accounts of this part of a woman's life and it is incredibly refreshing and empowering to see someone who I identify with be honest about her struggles with life, depression and anxiety, and having it all work out okay. If you want to laugh out loud and get a real, honest picture of what new motherhood is like, you need to read this book. And then read her blog!
Profile Image for Melanie.
954 reviews33 followers
July 28, 2009
I would have liked this more if it had been a full-fledged story instead of a bunch of anecdotes tossed together, seemingly at random. I read her blog, and I like it a lot - she's funny and honest and very genuine - but I had hoped that the book would be more than that, funny and honest and maybe a little bit more like a memoir than like a bunch of blog entries. I thought that there would be more of a story about what happened after her daughter was born, how postpartum depression affected her, and I think she got scared and skirted around that. Sometimes she would come out and say something, a paragraph that really talked about how awful it truly was, but most of the time it seemed a little bit glossed over, a little bit like she stepped back from the edge and wrote from a safer place. I hope she tries another book, though, because she is hilarious and I found myself snorting with laughter as I read in a few places.
Profile Image for Rachel.
102 reviews6 followers
February 2, 2015
Almost the entire time I was reading this book, I had a nine week old baby on me nursing. This was, therefore, the perfect time for me to read this book. There were moments that made me laugh out loud as well as moments that made me cringe with recognition and commiseration. This would be a great gift for a new mom.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,774 reviews1,775 followers
September 22, 2014
God bless Advanced Reader Copies. (My only complaint is that I've read about 30% of the content on her blog already and I wish it had been less of a re-tread.) Fastest I've read a book in a while.
Profile Image for Mrs. Read.
432 reviews9 followers
June 26, 2022
With apologies to practically every other Goodreader who reviewed it, I thought Heather Armstrong’s It Sucked and Then I Cried was both well-written* and very funny. Perhaps my position as a committed outsider in the reproduction game (never wanted to get pregnant or give birth or be a mother, and acted accordingly) gave me a different perspective, but I was both amused and touched by the writer’s account of her struggle to come to terms with a whole different kind of life. It would have been nice to learn how certain problems worked out (did the kid’s head ever shrink to normal size? did she ever learn to stand up?) although I guess that that very uncertainty is what makes reproduction so adventuresome. Judging by the many unenthusiastic Goodreader reviews, I hesitate to recommend the book unreservedly, but I do think it would entertain readers who are able to view its subject dispassionately.

*My new policy is to stick complaints about a writer’s facility with the English language in a footnote to make them easier to ignore.
I picked up on only one misstep in Armstrong’s diction - trying too hard to avoid a common error (lie, lay). Conway Twitty, a mere country singer, did better in his 1980 hit “I’d Love to Lay You Down.”
Profile Image for Samm .
25 reviews
July 25, 2018
I would rate this about a 3.5... I feel like new mothers would appreciate this book more so than anyone else. I enjoyed the sarcastic humor, some parts i laughed out loud. However, it was hard to follow in some spots from how it was written. But the honesty of motherhood and what one has to go through was great to read. The postpartum depression, that SO many people go through and it is even still, never talked about- i feel like it was wonderful for her to be so open about this very real illness and open to the fact that sometimes this means you need help AND THATS OK.
Profile Image for Jessica (thebluestocking).
915 reviews20 followers
May 7, 2009
I’ve been an avid reader of Dooce.com for over a year. I’m addicted to that blog. It makes me alternately laugh out loud, purchase new, funky items, and tear up with emotion. So, when everyone at work was talking about the book written by the Dooce creator, Heather B. Armstrong, I knew I had to read it.

For those of you not addicted to Dooce, Armstrong has been a blogger for almost ten years. She actually got fired from a job because of the items she posted about that job. (Now getting fired because of internet content is called being “dooced.”) Anyway, Armstrong was raised in Tennessee as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), graduated from Brigham Young University, rebelled, eventually eloped with her husband Jon, relocated to Utah, and had a baby, Leta. It Sucked and Then I Cried is about an eighteen-month period in Armstrong’s life - the nine months of pregnancy and the nine-month aftermath.

I must say that Armstrong is hil-ar-i-ous. Truly funny. She sees the world in a skewed way. I laughed out loud throughout. Out loud. In public places. Just a warning. Perhaps this is best read at home. Here’s a little taste of the hilarity. This is number one on the list of things Armstrong learned in the first week as a parent:

A good day was defined entirely by personal hygiene. Brushing my teeth = pretty good day. Brushing my teeth + brushing my hair = I was doing really good. Brushing my teeth + brushing my hair + taking a shower = WORLD DOMINATION. I believed that if I could get all the way to putting on mascara that I’d be magnificent enough to create my own planet and populate it with bears.

See what I mean? And that is mild hilarity. You’ll find all ranges of hilarity in this book. Now, I must say that, though I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it did suffer from some common memoir issues. There were a lot of non-sequiturs. A lot of them - though most of them didn’t bother me until I went back and reread sections. And, the general plot arch was a little flat. For example, there was a lot of build up to Armstrong’s hospitalization for postpartum depression, but then very little detail or anecdotes about it. It was a bit of a let down, simply because of the build up. Also, the repeated banging and hollering about Mormons and Republicans got old really fast. And, because of her avid descriptions, I’m now petrified to have a baby.

Still, this was a very honest, thoughtful book. Probably the best memoir I’ve ever read. I highly recommend it and Dooce.
Profile Image for Clare.
176 reviews37 followers
August 8, 2009
If everyone contemplating having children read this book, there would probably be fewer births - that being said, Armstrong has written the most truthful book about the first few months of being a parent that I have ever read. She is a brave author, never flinching from the gross or from events that might put her in a bad light.

It's been a long time since I have read a book that was truly laugh-out-loud funny but "It Sucked and Then I Cried" did it for me. Armstrong is hilarious. She is also brave in admitting that she suffers from depression then hit her hard both during her pregnancy and after the birth of her much-loved daughter Leta. Her descriptions of her struggles are both funny and very sad.

The wonderful surprise of this book for me was the 8-page section of color photographs of the author, her husband, and his mini-me daughter. Why is is that we go through nine months of pregnancy, childbirth, and then have a baby who looks like EXACTLY LIKE HER FATHER? There really is no justice.

I really loved this book, admire Armstrong tremendously (she is the bawdy version of Brooke Shields who also broke ground in describing post-natal depression), and think it should be required reading for all new parents who think the insanity of those first few months is cause for alarm. Nope, it happens to lots of us, in fact to probably most of us but we don't have the courage to write about it with as much spirit and wit as Heather Armstrong.

Profile Image for Trudy.
85 reviews
April 23, 2009
The description of the birth is the most disturbing, horrific thing I have ever read. I am getting married in a few weeks, and you know, think about babies and stuff. This is knocking it right out of me.
The style of writing does not differ substantially from the blog, and I don't remember since I originally read the entries so long ago, but the text is directly adapted from the blog entries, with a lot of similar anecdotes. So, if you are a long-time dooce reader, this will be familiar.
However, even knowing the whole story, I found this book emotionally powerful. It's not often people are so open about mental illness or the nasty bits of childbirth, and reading about them without delicate language, I was both upset and grateful. And yeah, other narrators of mental illness, such as Elizabeth Wurtzel, are kinda hard to identify with in that they are selfish jerks. Heather recognizes what in her is awful and diseased, and what is good, and presents herself that way, to the point where you are totally on her side, except for the part where she feeds her baby twizzlers.
Profile Image for Riley.
456 reviews1 follower
September 29, 2013
THIS is why I love Heather Armstrong:

"For nine months I grew a human being inside my belly and then pushed it out my vagina. Afterward I fed it with my boob. Biology is so fucking weird.

I just really needed to point that out." (p 103)


The book is great, but like some other reviewers, I was disappointed that 95% of it is straight from her website. So 3 stars for recycled material, but 5 stars from when I read it the first time = 4 stars now.

It IS more convenient to read compiled into a book this way, but then again some of Heather's style doesn't translate as well to print. The blog posts strung together feel choppy.

That said, her life during this time period was a HUGE roller coaster, so maybe that's well conveyed.

I am fairly certain I will reread this book when I am pregnant, and/or will make my husband read it at that time too. I think she does a really good job painting both the good and the bad of becoming a parent in an honest way.

But my favorite parts are about her husband, Jon -- how much he loved her, and stood by her, and how much she loved him and appreciated him. These were the parts that moved me the most, the parts that brought me to tears.
Profile Image for Aurora.
158 reviews3 followers
May 10, 2009
A couple chapters in, I had already decided that this was just another one of those "I'm going to write a kooky offbeat book about being a first-time mom" things. But once I got past the pregnancy chapters (she was sick all the time, it was horrible, okay, okay) and baby Leta entered the picture, I decided to stick with Armstrong and see how she did. In between the chapters about breastfeeding trials, the torture that is a screaming infant, and the (predictable) geez-being-a-mom-is-HARD stuff, what makes Armstrong's book stand out from other recent, irreverent takes on motherhood are the beautiful, honest love letters she writes to her daughter with the passing of each month. Even better, Armstrong writes just as honestly about her bout with postpartum depression and the very difficult decisions she had to make in order to keep herself and her family together. I know others have written honestly about postpartum depression (Brooke Shields had a book out a few years back), so I'm curious to read that one now and see if she even approaches the level of intimacy that Armstrong gives the reader - down to the exact prescriptions that literally saved her life.
Profile Image for Celia.
25 reviews
December 8, 2009
I've been reading Heather Armstrong's blog, dooce.com, for quite a while now, so it was a natural next step to read her first full-length book. It's easily as funny and snarky as her blog. I did not read it because it was about giving birth, but that has proven to be an interesting perk to the experience; she does not mince words or descriptions of what it's really like to be pregnant, and it's both entertaining and intimidating to read such an honest account. More importantly, she deals with post-partum depression and her book is probably best known as a very forthright, modern account of one woman's experience with mental illness. Heather is a young, hip, punk rocker mom, so her experiences feel much easier to identify with than those of people who are from a different generation than my own.
Though aspects of the book are sobering, her trademark sarcasm makes you remember the book for its laugh-out-loud humor, not for its graphic details or difficult revelations. I have become a daily follower of Heather's blog, and am looking forward to future books.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
157 reviews4 followers
April 13, 2011
I didn't read Armstrong's blog, although I was familiar with it, so all of this material was new to me. While it was definitely not great literature (and the phrases in all caps got really old, really fast) the material really struck a chord with me. If I had read this book when I was pregnant I probably wouldn't have taken it seriously, and if I'd read it during the first few months of my daughter's life--well, let's just say I was in no place to read anything during that time. But reading it at this point made me wish I'd had it four or five months ago. At the beginning of my maternity leave, a well-intentioned coworker of mine sent me some paperwork with a Post-It note attached that said "Enjoy every minute!" It sat on the dining room table for weeks, and I used to stare at it and cry, because I was so obviously doing it wrong. Reading this book then might have made me feel a little less alone. For me, that makes it worth any shortcomings in the writing.
Profile Image for Emily Rhoads.
85 reviews8 followers
June 6, 2011
This book hurt me from start to finish. As a person that lives with mental illness, I guess it hit a little too close to home. It scared me. I don't know now if I am strong enough physically to carry and birth a child or mentally to raise a child. I honestly wish I hadn't read it for those reasons, though if these things do happen to me, I'll know I'm not alone. Also, can't help but feel a little angry about how she describes second-daughter Marlo as a "second chance" because she didn't get a chance to bond properly with Leta due to her postpartum. I fear that one day Leta will read this book and the things her mother wrote about her and have a very big complex brewing. It was a quick, oftentimes hilarious, oftentimes heartbreaking read. I recommend it to anyone who is already a mom or who never wants to have children because as a currently-childless-person, I found it scarier than the scariest horror book.
Profile Image for Amy.
671 reviews
August 7, 2009
Ugh. Once upon a time I went to the Dooce.com blog to see what all the fuss was about. I wasn't impressed. She was just one of earliest to the blog party, plus she got fired for it so she got lots o attention. Anywho, I was poised to turn my nose up at the book. But she got me. I must admit, the seemingly fresh take on this particular subject matter forced me to check it out (I hate my biological clock, but it ticks anyway).

It's funny enough at times that I snorked and tsk'd out loud even though I didn't want to. She does help make pregnancy/birth seem truly awful and horrific. So I say way to go there.

p.s. bonus! I'm a total sucker for the recovering mormon story, and she's got it in spades (her residual anger at her family's continued mormon antics comes out on almost every page!)
Profile Image for The Rainbow Zebra.
140 reviews30 followers
September 28, 2010
Heather Armstrong has always been "Dooce" to me, ever since I began reading her phenomenal blog. I was delighted to get a copy of her book. Though much of it reads like her blog, it has differences and drew me in immediately.

This book is funny, humbling, and at times, actually brought me to tears. Like Heather, I am a survivor of severe postpartum depression (PPD). Unlike Heather, I was always afraid to talk about it, the stigma too great, especially since, like Heather, I was hospitalized for four days. I was humbled by her honesty and bravery. Though my daughter is 15--much older than her daughter Leta--her book proves that healing can come from the most unexpected places and even years later.

I realized how much I miss reading her blog, and I'm sure I'll find my way back over and catch up. I do hope that Heather continues to share her life with us in novel form.
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