Sunday, February 7, 2010

It Sucked and then I cried - Heather B. Armstrong

I've been reading for years now. I think I first started reading it regularly when I found out I was pregnant. At the time she was writing about life with a small child and I was totally entranced by the story, the photography, and her voice. She just doesn't seem to have the boundaries that most people do, which got her fired way back when she first started writing this blog, but it means that what you get to see here is a little more genuine than what you get everywhere else.

She just recently published this book about the first year of Leta's life, and her own struggle with depression, including checking into a hospital to deal with it post-partum. This is the book I wish I had read when Elli was just a few weeks old and I felt like I was drowning. She is so open and honest about exactly how hard it can be to cope with a tiny and demanding little person, while simultaneously showing you how amazing it can be. But mostly it is that she is so funny than you just can't help but laugh out loud. Most people can't pull of the juxtaposition of seriousness and hilarity, but she manages almost every day on her blog. The book is a lot more than just reading through what she has written online. You get a really coherent narrative, and a lot of the details that just had to get left out as she was coping with a new baby, serious depression, and severals days in the hospital. You do miss out on all the gorgeous photos from the blog. There are a few colour plates included in the centre of the book, but she and her husband are both amazing photographers, and the pictures that appear daily on her website are totally stunning.

This isn't a how-to parenting manual by any means. But it is a very open and honest account of the downward spiral into post-partum depression, and the struggle to recover from that, told in a wonderfully entertaining voice that is a real pleasure to read. I know this sounds like something that shouldn't work at all, but that's only because no one else writes quite the way Dooce does.

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