the smell of my desperation has become a stench

For those who live with those like me

Yesterday Jon posted what I think is one of the best things he’s ever written on his website about what it’s like this second time around. A snippet:

My therapist told me a couple of years ago that she thought I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) around pregnancy because of what we went through as a couple in 2004. I tend to believe her…

In 2007 we tried and were successful in getting Heather pregnant. She miscarried at 10 weeks and suffered some postpartum depression, which was totally understandable, but made me question if I had the reserves to handle severe postpartum depression again. I wanted to gear up for when we tried again. Once Heather’s system regulated and we decided we wanted a summer baby we went for it again and now we have our beautiful, sweet Marlo. Who deserves all the love and generosity we’ve shared with Leta.

If you haven’t read the piece he wrote a couple of months after that miscarriage about what it’s like to live with someone who suffers from chronic depression, you should definitely give it a look:

As a heterosexual man attracted to a woman, I have a range of emotions and ways of dealing with whatever life throws my way. One of those things is to look at a problem and want to fix it. Men like to be fixers, for the most part, and this is great for things like a clogged drain or dead car battery. Also great if the satellite dish isn’t picking up the latest “Nature is Sad” show on the educational channel because it’s buried in snow. It is not so great if your partner needs for you to help her by listening…

I’ve really had to stop myself and let it go. I have to tell myself that I need to LISTEN and to tell myself to SHUT UP. It’s doubly important when somebody is anxious or depressed and needs to get it out. I have only met a few men who are great listeners, and those were professionals I was paying to listen.

So. Listen.

I was interviewed a couple of days ago for a small piece about the Forbes thing for a local news station, and during the interview one of the questions triggered a response I haven’t been able to articulate yet, that this pregnancy and delivery and now living with two kids… there are days when my love for Jon is almost unbearable, and I am so lucky and thankful to have him in my life. And I have glimpses and memories of those heady, crazy times when we first got together in the sweltering Los Angeles summer of 2001 when we were having sex all day every day YES I JUST WENT THERE and sometimes I look at my two little girls and I can’t believe that here I am eight years later and I’m sitting next to Jon Armstrong.

Jon, I love you so much.

  • Erica

    2009/07/22 at 12:25 pm

    That’s beautiful, and I can only imagine. Thank you for sharing.

  • Rena

    2009/07/22 at 12:25 pm

    This is such a sweet post!

  • Milla

    2009/07/22 at 12:27 pm

    i love Jon, too! (does he have a brother?)

  • Valerie W

    2009/07/22 at 12:29 pm

    Such a romantic, lovely post. I know exactly what you mean. Yay for amazing men.

  • Erin

    2009/07/22 at 12:29 pm

    Maybe your next book can be about how love works.

  • Megan

    2009/07/22 at 12:29 pm

    You are a blessed mama and wife!!

  • Richelle

    2009/07/22 at 12:30 pm

    You are both amazing people! Thank you for sharing your lives with us!

  • Anonymous

    2009/07/22 at 12:30 pm


  • Maeve

    2009/07/22 at 12:30 pm

    Love this post Heather! You both are so well-articulated!

  • Erin

    2009/07/22 at 12:31 pm

    Chills!! Such a sense of appreciation and respect you two share for one another. You guys are gonna make it!

  • becky

    2009/07/22 at 12:31 pm

    The love that you two share gives a hopelessly single gal like myself hope…

  • Anne

    2009/07/22 at 12:31 pm

    I read his post yesterday and was once again blown away at how perfect you guys are together and being able to show that relationships take hard work with the love. Thanks for sharing, both of you. 🙂 You guys are an amazing couple.

  • jive turkey

    2009/07/22 at 12:31 pm

    Sometimes just listening is the hardest “simple” thing you’ve ever had to do.

    And I feel the same way about my husband (it’s our anniversary today). I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to still be sharing my life with him.

  • Cat

    2009/07/22 at 12:32 pm

    You guys are so lucky to have each other. I’m all choked up!

  • Anonymous

    2009/07/22 at 12:33 pm

    I love the energy of people in love. Really in love. Through all the crap that you have to constantly wipe off your shoes, you two are doing it right. Thank you for showing us the good, bad and the ugly. It’s all lovely.

  • Elizabeth_K

    2009/07/22 at 12:34 pm

    It was a wonderful post by Jon, and a wonderful response by you. Truly a blessed marriage.

  • Carly

    2009/07/22 at 12:34 pm

    Not only are you lucky to have each other, you’re lucky to both have the ability to express those thoughts to each other so beautifully.

  • lauren

    2009/07/22 at 12:34 pm

    i love how he loves you and you love him. i pointed my husband to his blog after i read that yesterday. he and jon are so similar and although we dont have children yet, he has been stuggling with my manic depression lately.

    the two of you are a light in our tunnel.

  • Alex Awesome

    2009/07/22 at 12:35 pm

    I love reading Jon’s blog. It always reminds me how important men are – as partners and fathers – in our lives. His thoughtfulness and overwhelming love come through loud and clear. You’re a wonderfully lucky person and so is he. Thanks for sharing all of this.

  • Emily

    2009/07/22 at 12:35 pm

    When I read Jon’s post yesterday, I felt so much love coming from him. I commented about my feelings for the post, but I just wanted to tell you thank you for opening yourself up to the internet. You and Jon. No one has to do that, and for me, it’s incredibly touching to read about this. It’s also a learning tool for the day (if it comes) that I have children. If I ever had parents half as cool as y’all, I’d be a very happy spawn. (Hah, although I love my parents.)

    Your July banner is beautiful and truly speaks the comfort and love seriously emanating from your home. (I know, I sound hippy-dippy but seriously, your posts speak a lot of happiness after Marlo’s birth.) Congratulations and thank you.

  • SwedishPankakes

    2009/07/22 at 12:35 pm

    So great! I really love how you two are going strong. Keep it up!

  • Anonymous

    2009/07/22 at 12:36 pm

    I thought it was an awesome article too, I don’t have kids but I read it yesterday and thought it was so well said.

  • SEL

    2009/07/22 at 12:37 pm

    You just made me cry in my lunch…

  • Tasha

    2009/07/22 at 12:37 pm

    I got tears in my eyes. That was very sweet.

  • Becky..Absent Minded Housewife

    2009/07/22 at 12:37 pm

    In these days of Fireproof, Love Dare, Mars vs Venus, Five Love Languages and other silliness, it just goes to show that when love gets simple it gets great.

  • Sheila

    2009/07/22 at 12:40 pm

    You are all very lucky to have each other.

  • Zoe

    2009/07/22 at 12:40 pm

    Guh!!! A married couple who actually express their love for one another. There is hope. I don’t mean for that to sound nihilistic or anything; it’s just that it seems so much more common to hear about the shortcomings, the difficulty, the imperfections of a relationship (especially a marriage), and it is really freaking refreshing to hear from the other side. It sort of renews my faith in love and makes me think, okay, neat, I won’t have to be an old, lonely cat lady (though I can if I want to). I will find someone (I am only twenty, so I’ve got a while I guess). And it will be awesome. Epic-ly awesome. Like you guys.

  • Tina Babb

    2009/07/22 at 12:41 pm

    You are very lucky to have a husband who is willing to listen and help you out. Some of us have the “It’s all in your head and you can get over it” husbands.

  • Serial

    2009/07/22 at 12:41 pm

    I wish I was having a better day, so I could just be happy for you guys rather than get all angry about not being able to find MY John.

    Effing PMS.

  • Julie

    2009/07/22 at 12:43 pm

    Jon’s post yesterday seemed like an amazing observation resulting from years spent working on an already great relationship. You two have different ways of processing and seeing things, but it is so clear you both work so hard on this. Thanks to each of you for sharing such an honest journey. Yeah – I used the word “journey” without any irony or vomit in the back of my mouth.

  • Tabitha - From Single to Married

    2009/07/22 at 12:44 pm

    What a sweet guy he is, glad he’s been so supportive of you and even more happy for your new Marlo!!

  • Jocelyn Stott

    2009/07/22 at 12:45 pm

    You just made me cry – right here at my desk at work. I am so happy for your happiness.

  • Alexa Beth

    2009/07/22 at 12:45 pm

    This made me bawl like a damn baby and also pose the question – when you have a mental illness, how do you bring it up to someone you’re seeing?

    It’s not like anything else. If you have divorced parents or are an orphan or if someone in your family has a mental illness, it’s easier to talk about because it isn’t you.

    When it’s you, how and when is the right time/way to bring it up when you’re navigating the beginning of a relationship?

    Any thoughts?

  • Anonymous

    2009/07/22 at 12:46 pm

    Beautiful. I hope one day to have what you do in life. Love, support, family, and a partnership with someone that is considerate and respectful. Congrats on #26. Your amazing!

  • Sarah

    2009/07/22 at 12:47 pm

    I really hope to have, one day, what you and Jon have together. Even the crazy dog.

  • Amanda

    2009/07/22 at 12:48 pm

    Very sweet. I met my Husband in 2001, and we now have two beautiful boys. I often feel the exact same way.

  • Attilla the Mum

    2009/07/22 at 12:49 pm

    That has to be the most beautiful post you (and Jon) have ever typed. I teared up, it’s true! Ya’ll are so lucky to have each other, but I believe it was meant to be that way. We find those people we’re meant to share our lives with.

  • Labradoris

    2009/07/22 at 12:50 pm

    Isn’t it a wonderful feeling? 🙂

  • Kristen from MA

    2009/07/22 at 12:50 pm

    Yep, he’s a keeper alright. 😀

  • Becky

    2009/07/22 at 12:54 pm

    Beautifully said. I feel exactly the same way about my husband–can’t believe those two teenagers (dear lord) who were all over each other in college are now the ringleaders of this four-person circus. I love every minute.

    I’m so glad you guys are finding your new rhythm!

  • Kristan

    2009/07/22 at 12:56 pm

    Crap now I’m crying… That’s rather embarrassing at work!

    As I wrote on Jon’s blog, I’m so happy for y’all. The whole world (or at least those of us that matter :P) has fallen in love with you. Thanks for showing us there are happy endings, even if there are dragons too.

  • Rose

    2009/07/22 at 12:57 pm

    Awesome. I long for that 🙂

  • deb

    2009/07/22 at 12:57 pm

    I read the post by Jon and living with someone who lives with depression, excellent. I’ve been depressed for most of my adult life and my husband has a very difficult time with it. I told him that there is not a day that goes by that I don’t work on not being depressed. It’s a hard way to live.

    Take care of yourself woman.

  • sarah

    2009/07/22 at 12:57 pm

    ehem, there’s something in my eye.


    that’s incredibly beautiful and simple.

  • Anonymous

    2009/07/22 at 12:59 pm

    I am sharing Jon’s blog with my husband. I don’t often pause long enough to wonder what it must be like to live with me, as I am usually angry at him for not understanding.

    Thank you.

  • Dayna

    2009/07/22 at 1:02 pm

    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! That’s about as articulate as I can be about both yours and Jon’s posts. As a fellow “crazy”, and one who is fortunate to have an understanding husband as well, I send much appreciation to you both for writing about it openly.

    I think you’re next book should be called, “Crazy Mofo Women…and the Men That Love Them.” It should be a book with submissions from your readers, edited and commented on by you. =)

  • Janet

    2009/07/22 at 1:02 pm

    Heather, both you and Jon deserve all the love and happiness you have found with each other.Thank you for sharing (much of) your life with us. Blessings.

  • Ashley

    2009/07/22 at 1:03 pm

    Oye, you just made me cry at my desk.

  • Lorena

    2009/07/22 at 1:03 pm

    This was beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Sometimes it’s just as wonderful to read the things that aren’t necessarily funny, to read the things that are lovely.

    (But don’t stop the funny. I’d die.)

  • Shelly

    2009/07/22 at 1:04 pm

    awww. I hope I have the love you two have someday..

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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