I started reading Dooce.com around 2003 or 2004 — whenever she had her first baby (the main subject of this novel) — and spent a few weeks reading through the hilarious archives. The book came out a few years later, and by then I’d kind of quit checking in on the antics of Heather Armstrong — mostly because it had turned primarily into a design blog which isn’t really my thing. I checked in a few days ago when I finished this book, read that her dog Chuck had passed away (just recently), burst into tears and closed my browser. So I guess her family has stuck with me a bit.
“For nine months I grew a human being inside my belly and then I pushed it out my vagina and now I’m feeding it with my boob. Biology is so fucking weird.”
This novel covers almost no new material — she starts with finding out she’s pregnant, discusses the pregnancy (which featured insane morning sickness) and then the first 10 months or so of Leta’s life. I’m glad I waited a few years to read it — I would have been annoyed if I’d purchased it immediately, since it’s basically like reading the website in book form. However, since I haven’t read the site in years, it was more like reliving stories from an old friend. The stories of her crazy family still crack me up.
Heather has long struggled with anxiety and depression issues, and she had a major relapse when Leta was just a few months old. She ended up checking herself into a psychiatric ward for a few days, got her meds (finally) under control, and emerged feeling better than she had in months. She’s incredibly honest and straightforward about everything — the discomforts she experienced during pregnancy, the highs and lows of the months following Leta’s birth, her troubles and triumphs breastfeeding, and her struggles with her mental health. She does a wonderful job blending her sense of humor with a serious topic, and this should be required reading for any mom to see that things may feel terrible at times, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.