Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It Sucked and then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown and a Much Needed Margarita

I read Dooce every day. Many people do, and she has one of the most, if not the most, popular personal blogs on the Internet. That's huge. I've been reading her for about 18 months, but I've also perused her archives. If you read Dooce enough, you know that when she had her daughter Leta five years ago, she suffered from postpartum depression, and she had to commit herself into a mental institution. And she shared that experience with the Internet. Very brave, in my mind, and also very wonderful. Imagine the number of women out there who have suffered, or were suffering from the same situation at the time, and now they knew they weren't alone. She doesn't feel shame for needing help. She did it to save her life.

So, when Heather's book came out a couple weeks ago, I snatched it up. Not because I have plans to be a mother anytime soon, but just because I'm a huge fan of her writing. She's candid, hilarious, natural and honest.

(Note: If you don't read Dooce regularly, and you're not a mother or an expectant mother, then the book probably isn't for you. I think you either have to be a fan of the writer like me or else in the same life stage as she was to really appreciate it. And actually, with all her honesty, she could probably scare crapless a first-time pregnant mom. But actually, when I think about it, the whole book is a fascinating look at pregnancy, female hormones, depression, marriage, motherhood and just real life, that maybe it would appeal to more people than I think.)

The book is a quick read. It starts with Heather's pregnancy, then details the labor and then the trying, trying months that follow. I love how she describes her love for her new daughter, as well as for her husband. These two people really love each other - they had to, to be able to deal with some of the stuff that went down due to her depression. Her husband Jon seems like a big bear of a man, who was completely helpful and understanding. And Heather knows that about him and holds him in high esteem. You get to learn a little more about the Dooce family and extended family, as well as their past before they were Dooce. I really enjoyed this book. It made me laugh out loud several times, cringe some times, gasp at others. The book does repeat a few phrases over and over, and Heather does love her ALL CAPS, but again, I think an editor should catch these things and tighten them up - that's their job! (I'm biased though.)

Why is it that we have such a fascination with other people's lives? Why is memoir so popular? Why are personal blogs so popular? I don't want to share my whole world with the Internet, but I love reading other people who do.

1 comment:

CMS said...

I read Dooce as well (and have been for a few years). I love her hilarious life observations. I'm also glad she chose to share her struggle with depression. The more people who are willing to say "This is what it is and I'm not ashamed, this is what worked for me and how I coped, and in writing this I hope I help others" -- the better off we are as a society!