Sunday, January 16, 2011

It Sucked and then I Cried - Heather B. Armstrong

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 book 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.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

I don't know if you own this book, but I would love to borrow it from you just to see if I agree with your assessment or not. I have read Heather's blog for years. The blog format fits her well, but I have never read her books. I think maybe if it came across as a love letter to her kid it was maybe to compensate for the very sad times and scary blog posts she wrote from a very honest place when she was going through this. She gets a lot of criticism for writing honestly as a mother- people on all the morning shows always ask her what she is going to tell her daughter when she is old enough to read the posts as if she should have sugar coated them. Sounds like she maybe sugar-coated the book. They can tell how popular her blog is by how many hits her site gets daily/weekly/monthly. I think hers is in the millions of hits daily. She was one of the first woman bloggers on the internet and famously got fired for what she wrote about her boss and her company on her blog. Now she and her husband don't have other jobs- they make enough money to support themselves and a staff and live very well all from advertising on her blog. Anyway, I think there are other better books on PPD, I will try to find some for you.

Love you.