• http://lovelyracket.blogspot.com Jen

    Just hitting the terrible two’s with my youngest and my oldest is finally starting to behave. As long as one is good, I can keep it together. That’s all you can strive to do as a parent some days, just keep it together.
    Also, my 5 year old just slathered lip gloss all over her face this morning for the first time. I went to kiss her good-bye and said “Oh I don’t want to mess up all that pretty lip stick, I better just kiss your head” My mom said “you mean gross green slime!” Thanks mom.

  • Anonymous

    How the h*ll did you know i needed to hear that today???

  • http://www.janetnelson.net Janet

    Today is my first born’s birthday.

  • SuZieQ

    BLESS YOU!!

  • http://waangel.com Meghann

    Heather, I have been reading your blog for a long, long time. Never commented before, and I’m not exactly sure why I picked this particular post to comment on now. Maybe it has something to do with my 5 1/2 month old son going through his I don’t wanna be away from Momma so I’m going to cry all day phase. Maybe it has something to do with the different stages I have watched him go through and thinking how lonely it is for the both of us. And maybe it’s just because I could never ever put into words just exactly how I feel about the accomplishments that he’s made in the short amount of time he’s been alive.

    Whatever the reason, this post seriously touched me today. And I needed to know that there are people out there who have felt the same way I have. I, too, didn’t feel an instant connection with him. I, too, wish to know what’s going through his head at times. And I, too, stare in awe at the pictures from even just months ago and think “Wow, I made it past that stage.”

    Thanks for letting me know that we will make it. Leta is very beautiful and smart (and we only know a little bit of her)… I could only be so lucky to have Oliver turn out as well as she has.

  • Anonymous

    Ugh…thank you. It was me who needed to hear that it does indeed get better. My two year old shall live another day!

  • Ava’s nanny

    Today she takes the lipgloss. In a few years it’ll be the shoes. Oh, the things you have to look forward to. ;)

  • http://kristanhoffman.com/ Kristan

    Okay, this is like 100 comments too late, but I realize my original comment comes off funny… I don’t WANT the bad place necessarily, but you make the whole journey — ups AND downs — sound totally worth it. And I’d love to experience something as special and rewarding as the love you have for your family.

    That is all. :)

  • http://scrappinjenny.blogspot.com Jennifer

    Truer words were never spoken.

    Wait till Leta gets to be a teenager…my daughter is almost 13 and the conversations we have blow me away. They range anywhere from what kind of style she thinks she has to how Barack Obama is going to be the change this country needs (that last one is absolutely true. She tells anyone who will listen why she likes Barack and why he should be the next president. It’s awesome).

  • Anne

    Delurking to say – thank you. Thank you so so much.

    My son is 16 months old now, and it was only around 12 months that I felt we really turned the corner together, but we’re still working on it. He was colicky, I had PPD, and I thought I had made a really big mistake in having children and I wondered how I could have made such a big mistake when I always thought I knew I wanted it. I was never treated…at first I just thought that was what having a newborn was like, and after I figured out that other people were enjoying it a lot more than I was, I just didn’t know how to tell my husband or family that I felt like I was drowning. The days crawled by and every evening brought both a sense of “I can’t believe I made it through another day” and a gigantic sense of dooooom, because my son was a terrible sleeper and just started sleeping through the night about 85% of the time last month. The unrelenting lack of sleep and the months and months on end where 2 hour stretches of crying were common were…hard. Ha.

    I was doing everything “right.” I had a healthy pregnancy, good nutrition and a natural birth. I wore him in a sling constantly and co-slept for the first five months – I had no choice. I breastfed (happily – the only thing that could have made that period more intolerable would have been having to make bottles!) But he just cried.

    My husband didn’t understand why having everything we had wanted was making me feel so desperate and doomed. Our sex life went away completely and his lack of understanding made me feel so incredibly alone.

    For about the first nine months, I felt on the verge of tears a lot, and every night when my husband came home from work I took a hot hot shower and cried. My son perplexed me, I sometimes yelled at him when no one was around, I felt like a horrible person and a worse mother.

    I don’t feel that way anymore and my son has become so much happier and of course I have too. Reading your words just brought it all back so keenly…and I shouldn’t forget to say that I so look forward to four now, and hearing his little voice get stronger and say so many more things. I just wish I had been able to read your post back then, and I hope it reaches people who are currently going through difficult times.

  • http://thehusbandblog.wordpress.com The Husband Blog

    I totally know what you mean about being amazed that you’re having a real conversation with your own kid after spending all that time wondering what their voice will sound like. They just finally *get* it one day.

  • http://advicefromasinglegirl.blogspot.com/ Victoria

    I don’t have kids and I don’t know if I ever will have kids, but this is a beautiful post. And it’s all about what life is for…helping other people, even if just by reaching out in the smallest way.
    You’re awesome.

  • http://www.strictlyforpleasure.wordpress.com Jenny

    I think you are so incredibly brave for documenting the things you do about your daughter and about parenting in general. I know you’ve gotten a lot of shit for it, and I guess that happens when so many people run across what you write on a daily basis. You can’t please them all. But what you do here helps numerous people.

    On a side note, I LOVE that you document Leta’s monthly birthdays. Sometimes I feel like I’m trespassing into a very private conversation, but I think what you’re doing is beautiful. These will be invaluable to her one day.

    I lost my mother a few years back and have a very precious few letters (and my baby book) that she had written me that I dig up when I’m feeling blue. I wish so much that I could tap into her thoughts and feelings she had while I was small. And that’s exactly what you’re giving Leta.

    Didn’t mean to get all morbid on ya, just wanted to share. :-)

  • http://amyeats.blogspot.com Amy

    Yes. Heather is right. Thank you for reminding me and everyone else. We are so lucky to have these small miracles!!!

  • http://ellou.com Lauren

    At the moment the thought of children appeals to me as much as contracting Chlamydia, but you give me hope that one day I will get these maternal instincts and feel broody and create the most awesome little human being ever.

  • Lisa

    Well said, as always.

    This, too, shall pass, is a favorite mantra of mine. Both good and bad times pass…but’s it’s knowing the bad times will move on that has sustained me in many a dark hour, too.

    Thanks for your service to those who so desperately need to hear your words of hope. You do, indeed, ROCK.

  • http://everydaysuperwoman.blogspot.com/ Amy G.

    GREAT message, and very well said (as usual). While I didn’t suffer from PPD, I’ve struggled with mild anxiety on and off since I was a ‘tween, and I know what a job that alone can do on a fragile state of mind, especially the simultaneously sleep-deprived fragile state of mind that so many new moms find themselves in.

    I couldn’t agree more that there truly comes a definitive point somewhere along the way as your child gets older and more aware of the world around him/her when you realize that they are no longer the constantly needy and demanding dictators they pretty much ALL are as babies, but they’ve become people unto their own right. The first time my now 5-year-old son and I had what I would call a “real conversation,” where his input far exceeded anything he’d ever discussed before, it totally blew my mind and my heart skipped a beat and I thought I might die right there. It was exhilarating. And just the beginning. :)

    Our relationship now has so much depth, and our conversations are so enjoyable and wondrous. You are right that it gets SO MUCH BETTER as our kids age out of babyhood and toddlerhood and into being thinking, empathizing, caring and curious little people.

    On a parting note, I’m really glad that you chose to be honest and open and vocal about your battles with depression, specifically the hell you went through after having Leta. You’ve no doubt helped countless women just by sharing your experience, and that makes you a really cool cat in my book.

  • http://myspace.com/StephanieH Stephanie

    Could you have written this any better? No, no, no. I think not.

    I’m not a mother yet, but I do plan to have children one day with my husband. However, I am scared. Scared that I won’t instantly be in love with my child or instantly bond with her like the world tells me that I must. It scares me.

    This entry was excellent. It is excellent because it made me feel like there’s hope for me and that even if I’m scared beyond my wildest, erm, nightmares at the beginning…everything will eventually be OK.

  • http://captainhambone.typepad.com Emily

    Yeah, everyone gives you that crap about “falling in love with your baby immediately” and so NATURALLY I felt like a total failure for not loving the newborn phase and the newborn who was in it. I feel like the only reason I’ll be able to handle another newborn in five months is because at least I’ll have an older child to keep me sane/remind me that it gets better. Because, frankly, it really REALLY sucked there at the beginning.

  • http://www.loraleighvance.com/ LoraleighV

    I was just opening this site thinking how funny it was that I was so damned excited to see what this woman writes today. I thought about how strange it was that I looked forward to hearing about your family, and your trials and tribulations, but really, what was the purpose behind all this?

    And then I read this post and saw how it all started. And where it all fits. People helping one another.

    Thank you for giving back so well. You’re an inspiration.

  • Angela

    Well said. Thank you for putting into words what I could not. We’re just seeing our way out of the terrible 3′s right now. I’ve always tried to find something I absolutely love about each age/stage. But 3 is hard. It’s where defiance meets reason, and it’s hellish. Thanks for the reminder that there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

  • http://velvetlava.blogspot.com/ Ann

    VERY cool. I’m not a Mom, but I know what it is to hang on by a thread, and what it means that others share that perspective as well.

    Love that a post can be profound, yet talk of snot – that’s what it’s all about for me.

  • Brooke

    As a new mother of a 6-week old baby boy, I really needed this post today. I read it immediately after a breakdown, and it’s an answer to a prayer. I needed this reassurance. Thank you.

  • http://www.autismvox.com kristina

    My son (11; autistic) speaks in mostly one or two word phrases, occasionally a lovely sentence. Yet we have rich communications and exchanges: I’ve learned to read the language of his gestures, body posture, the way he swims in the pool, the tone of the (not verbal) sounds from his mouth.

    Which is to say, I kind of think a lot of what she was telling you was via that smeared on the face lime lipstick, that she took from you, because it’s yours.

    Very best.

  • http://www.absentmindedhousewife.com/ Becky..Absent Minded Housewife

    I didn’t expect an estatic feeling after having children…which is why I think I’m a lot more relaxed about it than many of my girlfriends are. I didn’t feel compelled to buy every baby product advertised in parenting magazine to be assured I was parenting right. I figured if the baby was fed and covered in something less irritating than a burlap sack, we were doing OK. I had happy babies.

    But, now I’ve got three kids, boys, 14, 9 and 3. They are all HOME because of summer vacation and I AM GOING BATSHIT. They are bored and I am not interested in entertaining them. Today I’ve shoved them into their rooms with instructions to only come out if they’ve cut off a finger.

    This has been my most difficult summer vacation so far. (My husband is home too, he’s a teacher.) I’ve even had dreams where I beat one of them (husband included) to a pulp. I haven’t yet pencilled in my calendar a time to beat them, but oh it’s close.

    I need a bigger house. I thank god I’ve had a tubal.

  • http://thedailymind.com/how-to/11-ways-to-fix-your-workplace-depression/ Depressed at Work

    I love this post. It made me really happy to read it. I am becoming more and more addicted to your style of writing – so fresh, honest and lovely.

    Please keep up the good work.

    Depressed at Work

  • Joy

    “When Leta was born I thought I would automatically feel this way, and many women do. But I did not.” This cannot be said enough. I have no doubt that women (and men) are genuine in declaring that their absolute, passionate, and unwavering love for their newborn switched on in the delivery room, but it’s not a universal experience. And the love of a mother whose love for her child grows over a matter of days, months, or years–rather than hitting all at once as in a lightning strike–can be just as strong and is every bit as valid. I am quite proud to say I love my nine-year-old more this year than last, and I hope it will always be so…I am falling more deeply in love with him as he becomes more of the person he is. Does it mean I didn’t love him enough last year? No…it means that infinity plus one is still infinity.

  • http://amazingtrips.blogspot.com Jenx4 @ amazing trips

    Ditto to what Jenn, above said. But I have 3.5-year old triplets and a 1-year old baby and today I really wanted to put all of them outside, lock the door and take a nap.

    After 10 years of trying and wanting and dreaming of these babies every day, now that I have them, I need a vacation from motherhood. Just a week or two. Damn is me that can’t happen.

  • http://cmoonchild.yahoo.com Christine

    As someone who’s still trying to get her damn head on straight and her son is seven months old, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  • http://ellou.com Lauren

    Oh, and depending on how open you are..I didn’t realise when I was a early teenager that when I turned 21 I would be laughing with my mother, sharing a bottle of wine and laughing about small penis’ and weird dates. I’ve even been clubbing with my mum!! She’s my best friend and it definitley works both ways, you and leta are going to have a great mother-daughter relationship when she gets older.

  • The Aitch

    Heather – I don’t care what the internet says about you, you’re pretty alright in my book.

    I remember writing to you 4 years ago, right after I had my oldest daughter and just starting to get the “baby blues” Which turned into full blown PPD. Sharing your experiences w/ the internet helped pull me through. I will never ever forget that.

  • Anonymous

    When you were making that trip to the hospital and blogging about it, I was on the other end of the world, going through med trials, dealing with severe PPD, and thinking I was completely alone. But I read you, even then, and in so many ways, I was grateful to you for your honesty. You were the only mom I related to then–I was surrounded by my girlfriends who were all bleary-eyed with a brand of new-mommy euphoria I could not comprehend. The only thing that has been more inspiring than watching your days grow “so much better” has been experiencing a similar evolution myself. Thanks for hanging in there. You kept me hanging in there too.

  • kate

    You rock. And you couldn’t be more right. Thanks for being someone who helped me get to the other side.

  • http://lepetitpouletnew.blogspot.com/ Susan

    Beautifully said :)

  • http://sunnieandchris.blogspot.com sunniemerrill

    thank you for this post. i’m so “in that place right now” and this gave me some much needed hope.

  • http://www.buttonsmcsweet.com/ Jillian

    Even though my daughter is only two, I COMPLETELY understand. I feel slightly guilty saying this, but just the other day I was thinking: It has taken me almost two years to love and accept this little girl completely and just like my Mom said it would be, every day is like waking up on Christmas morning.
    Except some days still end like the Christmas when Aunt Penny and my Dad got drunk and started screaming at each other and we found out ALL kinds of things we didn’t want to know about either one of them…..ummmm yeah.
    But most days it’s like waking up on the morning when you finally got that pony.

  • http://lesley.typepad.com Lesley

    This is so positive and uplifting. I think that the message can really apply to anyone who’s going through a dark time. No matter what the struggle – adjusting to new motherhood, the loss of a loved one, the death of a relationship, etc. – the darkness isn’t forever. The way out is the same as the way through and you CAN make it. The only task at hand is to not give up.

    Thanks so much. :-)

  • http://www.hotchildinthesuburbs.blogspot.com Athena

    I have a little girl around the same age as Leta, and I’ve been marveling at the depth of our conversations lately, too. Its amazing! I didn’t go through the same trials and tribulations you did in The Beginning, but this post made me want to go back and relive my experience through my own photos and journals. You have a beautiful way of re-telling past experiences, thank you for the inspiration.

  • http://www.thenigburfamily.blogspot.com Mandy

    Thank you. To hell with the Tom Cruise’s of the world who think PPD is a joke. I hope Katie had it, and he had to eat his words.

  • http://www.holycrapiampregnant.blogspot.com/ Sonya

    this is a truly inspiring post! I’m 4 months pregnant with my first right now, and my mother went through serious depression soon after I was born and I wonder if a similar fate will bestow upon me. But, I’m not going to worry about it, and if it does, I will pull through and medicate and listen to Brooke Shields and not Tom Cruise and bask in the knowledge that you are right – it will get better!

  • dandelion

    just…thank you. my son is two now. when he was a newborn and i was always awake at 4am, mindless and crazed, reading your blog made me realize that not only was it ok to feel like i was losing my shit ALL THE TIME…it was human.

  • kimmko

    I had a similar first year with my baby boo, and you are right about how very much better it gets. But I have a serious, real question for you: How can you be ready to get back on that horse and try again recognizing that you might have to go through the same experience again? Is knowing it gets better enough? I am so afraid of that – I want another, but I want it to appear at year 1.5 or so, fully formed, and then for us all to move on as a family. I really don’t know if I can go through the pregnancy and birth and newborn-ness again and make it. I really don’t. So this is a good post to read to remind me of the other side.

  • http://onein36million.wordpress.com/ Melanie

    Thank you.

    Many times over the last two and a half years I’ve been in a very dark place. I don’t like to think too deeply on what I was thinking those first few months.

    But things are improving, hugely. Big things like mobility, sign language for a few big-important things, and words each made a leap of improvement. We’re doing okay, me and Cameron. Great, most days, even.

    Fantastic post.

  • http://www.mydogumentary.wordpress.com gingela5

    That is so well said! Although I do not have a baby or intend to have one for at least another year I have a feeling I’ll be needing this blog entry when that baby is screaming his or her head off. Thanks!

  • http://www.thecarguyforum.com Car Guy

    Great Blog!

  • http://icouldcrybutidonthavetime.wordpress.com amyz5

    that was a beautiful post. i am a relatively new reader and i have to say, you keep me on my toes with the layers you reveal.

    your sentiments about motherhood here are so on the money. my kids are teens, one already in college and it is hard for me to believe that i am at this stage. i remember them at Leta’s age as if it were yesterday.

    when they were 2 mos and 3.5 years i was walking down the street with one crying in my arms and the other literally wrapped around my leg like a monkey throwing the mother-of-all-tantrums. an older woman (probably my age now!) came up to me and said, “you will miss these days”

    THAT day? no friggin way do i miss that day! but i get it. sounds like you do too.

  • http://randomthoughts2005.blogspot.com SWSNBN

    I love you. I love that you are here trying to help people through some damn hard times.
    Um, in a platonic, non stalker way I love you. For helping people.

    It made me teary eyed to think of all the people you are reaching, and hopefully helping.

    On a side note, I often am amazed at the conversations I sometimes have with my ten year old. It amazes me that he is 10, and not a baby. It doesn’t seem that long ago now.

  • http://www.jujucoop.com brie

    Heather – you’re awesome and this is just beautiful.

  • http://www.parenthacks.com Asha {Parent Hacks}

    What a beautiful post. Thank you for this, Heather.

  • http://www.chrisandcolee.blogspot.com New Mama

    Heather,

    Thank you so much for all you share. I love your sense of humor, I know I can always get a little laugh from your blog. I teared up at the end of this one because I am one of those moms that needed to hear that, so I really appreciate you saying that! I hate to want my baby girl to grow up, but sometimes after I’ve done everything I can for her and she’s still screaming I don’t know what else to hope for besides that. Thanks again, your blog is great!