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It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita Paperback – March 23, 2010
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About the Author
Heather B. Armstrong is an American blogger who resides in
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First of all, the references to "eating" her child are clearly a figurative way of referring to how adorable she finds her baby, for those that don't understand figurative expressions. She is clearly not literally referring to basting her child in a chablis butter sauce and letting her roast to a perfect juicy inside so that she may be consumed with a side of mushroom medley.
Second, she barely mentions not having time to pluck her eyebrows, so who cares? Most new mothers don't. She mentions it once, she doesn't spend any time lamenting about it. And yes, the book can be a bit jumpy. Heather is not Tolstoy, nor has she claimed to be. Let us remember that she is a humor/mommy blogger not a serious literary figure. Cut her a break. She still writes pretty damn well for the genre.
And the "terrible" things she says about her daughter? They are few and far between, but most importantly, they are JOKES. Not only that, they are HONEST, and possibly quite accurate descriptions of what new mothers experience. I would like to think that Leta will have an understanding of exactly what her mom meant someday if she decides to have her own children. I don't see how being realistic about both the frustrations and triumphs of motherhood are supposed to be so damaging to offspring. It's so silly to pretend like many mothers don't also experience negative emotions after having given birth for the first time, what's so wrong with expressing them? By being honest, she is able to open doors for others to feel less shamed if they are anything but elated after becoming first time parents. I don't see the harm in that.
Now on to my personal feelings on the book. I have to admit there were times that I felt slightly annoyed at alllll her complaining (trust me, there is a lot of it in the book). Particularly with her "everything under the sun that could be uncomfortable about pregnancy has happened to me times 1,000" which seem to constitute the first few chapters. However, it was important to remind myself that this is in fact a humor book, and humor books are often over-dramatized for effect. Being a sufferer of depression and anxiety myself, I also found myself thinking, in the chapters after the birth of her baby, that possibly having a real job which required her to work outside of the home might have been a good thing for her. It seems she had nothing else to focus on other than her feelings and rearing this baby, and sometimes not having other involvements is what can make depression exponentially worse. I found myself rolling my eyes a few times and thinking "ok Heather, cry me a river. You've got all these postpartum issues, but the silver lining is you get to deal with them WITHOUT having to worry about rushing back to a full time job when your baby is about 3 months old like a lot of women! You get to sit home and spend practically every minute with your baby for as LONG as you'd like. Cry when your baby is eight weeks old and you're forced to leave her in a daycare for 40 hours a week." Those were really the only parts that irked me.
The book overall, was a wonderful chronicle of feelings that can occur before, during, and after first time pregnancy, that are so very real to so many women. Heather does it in a funny way that is also balanced with a lot of heart felt commentary that is also completely relatable. I personally love that she wrote this book. If it were just a sad tale of postpartum depression, it would have been unbearable to read. But because it is balanced with humor and raw feelings, it is much easier to stomach. You get the sense by the end of the book that she truly believes motherhood is one of the best things she ever did, not that she regrets it in any way. I'm personally a fan of her ability to bring such common experiences and emotions to the forefront, as opposed to women only being allowed to sing the praises of new motherhood. In our society, it's an adjustment. It can be rough. It is both a physical, emotional, and lifestyle transition. I appreciated Heather's wit and gumption. The book was a little whiny, a little annoying at times, but the times when it was honest and touching far outweigh the former. A fun, quick, heart warming read for anyone who's either had a baby, considering having one at some point, or never even plans to have kids and wants to regale in the ridiculousness that comes with the treacherous territory of motherhood. Overall, for what it was, I enjoyed it.
While I enjoyed the fact that it was a quick read and the writing style was fun, it didn't even begin to scratch the surface with regards to the big issues: post partum depression, the struggles to be perfect, the struggles in breastfeeding and whether to continue in the face of such mental health issues. At times, I did laugh but I wish that the issues and the struggles had been tackled with much more depth than Heather actually tackled them.
I think that Ms. Armstrong is really good at telling stories. In some ways, her talent at telling stories disappointed me all the more because she could have told stories that reached out and helped women through their darkest moments.
I would recommend getting this book out of the library and definitely reading her blog, but don't know that I would add this book to the home library.
of PPD this time, but not of the severity I endured after my daughter. This book is laugh-out-loud funny and is so comforting because it makes you realize you're not alone. I have many friends who are young mothers, yet not one of them has had an experience like mine. Armstrong invites you into her home and life and opens up about the raw, painful reality of PPD. Finding someone you can identify with, even if it's through the pages of book, is very helpful.
Now I send this to all of my friends about 3 months after they have their baby. That seems to be when you hit this wall. Everyone I've sent this too has loved this book. I'm so grateful that she shared her story with us!