Friday, December 30, 2011

Book Review: It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I had a Baby, a Breakdown and a Much Needed Margarita

I’ve been a fan (and reader) of Heather Armstrong and her blog for years, checking her blog often for new posts, and literally LOL’ing at frequent intervals.  She is the kind of funny that translates well over the internet, but she’s also really intelligent, and well spoken (written?) which makes me wonder if she’d be funny in real life, or just a genuinely nice person (I suspect some of both).

A brief background: Heather grew up Mormon, and then moved to Los Angeles to work.  Somewhere during college at BYU, she started questioning her faith (and the restrictions that came with it).  She’s now a “recovering-Mormon”, and married with two young daughters.

Her blog, Dooce.com, is about life – her life – with a family, dogs, Mormon relatives, and her life with depression.  One of the things I like so much about her is the way she writes about such a personal (intimate?) topic.  (If you’re going to read only one of her posts, let it be this one:http://dooce.com/2007/12/13/because-i-couldnt-say-it-phone). 

Like many of the books I read, I placed the book on hold at the library and then promptly forgot about it until I got the email that it was available for pick-up.  I started the book on my bus ride home, and didn’t look up from it until I was 15 blocks North of my condo.  (For non Chicagoans, this means I missed my stop… and then each of the next ten).  I don’t even know what to say about it – it made me sad?  It scared me?  It made me think about Post-Partum Depression in a way I never had before?  It made me grateful to live in a time and place where mental health professionals can help me if I need it? 

My only criticism is that it was a little hard to read.  She writes like she blogs (lots of capitalization, etc), and while that is entertaining for a 6-paragraph blog entry, it’s a little bit distracting for a 200-page book.


Overall, I did really enjoy it. There is so much said - rightfully - about the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth, and all of the beauty that comes with new life and motherhood.  But there's a flip side to the coin, and that is the scary, and unpredictable way that some of our bodies and minds react to all of these changes.  I think it was a good book for me to read, both because I'm a fan of the author, and because it's a good reminder of the preparedness that can and should go in to an eventual pregnancy.  

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