Review: It Sucked and Then I Cried

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

Author:  Heather B. Armstrong

Published:  March 24, 2009

Page Count:  272

Genre:  Nonfiction, Memoir, Humor

My Rating:  5/5

Heather Armstrong gave up a lot of things when she and her husband, Jon, decided to have a baby: beer, small boobs, free time — and antidepressants. The eighteen months that followed were filled with anxiety, constipation, nacho cheese Doritos, and an unconditional love that threatened to make her heart explode. Still, as baby Leta grew and her husband, Jon, returned to work, Heather faced lonely days, sleepless nights, and endless screaming that sometimes made her wish she’d never become a mother. Just as she was poised to throw another gallon of milk at her husband’s head, she committed herself for a short stay in a mental hospital — the best decision she ever made for her family.

To the dedicated millions who can’t get enough of Heather’s unforgettably unique style and hilarious stories on her hugely popular blog, there’s little she won’t share about her daily life as a recovering Mormon, liberal daughter of Republicans, wife of a charming geek, lover of television that exceeds at being really awful, and stay-at-home mom to five-year-old Leta and two willful dogs.

In It Sucked and Then I Cried, Heather tells, with trademark wit, the heartfelt, unrelentingly honest story of her battle with postpartum depression and all the other minor details of pregnancy and motherhood that no one cares to mention. Like how boring it can be to care for someone whose primary means of communication is through her bowels. And how long it can possibly take to reconvene the procedure that got you into this whole parenthood mess in the first place. And how you sometimes think you can’t possibly go five more minutes without breathing in that utterly irresistible and totally redeemable fresh baby smell.

It Sucked and Then I Cried is a brave cautionary tale about crossing over that invisible line to the other side (the parenting side), where everything changes and it only gets worse. But most of all, it’s a celebration of a love so big it can break your heart into a million pieces. 

For those of you who don’t already know about Heather Armstrong, she is the creator of the amazingly hilarious website, Dooce.com.  If you haven’t checked out her website already (and there probably aren’t many of you, it’s the most popular blog on the internet), you absolutely must do so.  I find Heather to be hysterically funny, but also such a great observer of what goes on in all facets of life.  She’s completely honest, straightforward, and generally awesome in a lot of ways.  So, is it any surprise that I had to read her book very soon after it was published?  

The book was everything I expected and more.  Heather chronicles her life with her husband Jon before they had children, her pregnancy with her first child, Leta (she’s currently pregnant with her second child), and the debilitating postpardom depression that she suffered in the months after giving birth with wit, sarcasm, but most of all complete honesty.  The book is not meant to be a go-to resource on postpardom depression, but rather a memoir of Heather’s experiences.  I’m sure that she would hope for other women to be comforted by what she went through, and find something to relate to in her experiences, but I don’t think she meant to write the book as any sort of “guide to post-pardom depression”.  Going into the book, I knew Heather’s style from reading her website for so long, and I also knew that while parts of the book would be serious, the overwhelming nature of it would be funny.  

I laughed out loud so many times while reading It Sucked and Then I Cried.  While I expected to laugh, I didn’t know it would be as wonderful as it was.  Like I said, the book was everything I hoped for and more.  It was, actually, pretty perfect – given what I was anticipating and what I actually got.  This book is a MUST read for fans of Dooce, but I do think that anyone who enjoys humor and/or has experience being a mother will love what Heather Armstrong has done.  I highly recommend this read. 

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15 thoughts on “Review: It Sucked and Then I Cried”

  1. i read dooce every once in a while…heather is a talented writer but i get a bit nervous from the almost-sycophantic nature of her commentors. she can make me laugh and her photographs are great–it’s clear she has experience in graphic design and english. she did have some hard times between her pregnancy with leta and this new baby and i’m glad she was able to overcome. again, nothing against her, just some of her commentors are a bit rabid! 🙂

  2. I hadn’t heard of her or her website myself but I’m gonna have to check it out. I love a good book especially one that makes me laugh. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I hadn’t heard of her or her website myself but I’m gonna have to check it out. I love a good book especially one that makes me laugh. Thanks for sharing!
    Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.

  4. Ohhhhhhhhhhh, okay, NOW I know who this woman is! I’d heard of the book, heard of the blog, hadn’t put the two of them together. I’m going to have to check her out. Thanks for helping connect the dots for me! 🙂

  5. This sounds like such a great book! I’m adding it to my list. Oh, and you know what, I must be one of the few who’s never gone to that blog. But I just went and have been having an awesome time. 🙂

  6. I love Dooce and saw Heather on Oprah (okay, I only watched Oprah because I wanted to see her and hear about the book), and I’ve been waiting to see a review of this. Glad you loved it!

    I want to add it to my list, but I’m afraid it’s going to put me over the edge into the “there’s no way in hell I’m having children” category.

  7. I checked her blog and yep, nope I haven’t heard of her. I wanted to make sure before I commented that I didn’t know her or her blog at all. I immediately started laughing and smiling at her writings. Definitely gonna check the already popular blog out and this book does sound good. I’m glad I read this review, thanks!

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