An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

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.

  • Natasha

    This post brought tears to my eyes right here @ my desk. I’m really glad that you both have found that all encompassing love for one another that knows no bounds. Leta and Marlo are very lucky little girls…growing up surrounded by all that love.

  • Jackie

    I loved Jon’s post and I love this one too – you guys are incredible! I can only hope that I find the same love you two have. I am 28, currently single, and totally baby hungry, but that’s ok because I know what I am holding out for 🙂

  • Bert Bell

    I am a support person for a friend who is Bipolar & Borderline personality. what Jon said basically sums up a support person’s role…..just listen. What a lovely marriage and family you have. Many blessings!

  • Caitlin

    Heather,
    THank you again for being open and honest. I wish for so many people that they could escape the fear and shame over GETTING HELP for depression. It is a disease to be managed, just like any other ailment, and asking for help is one of the bravest and selfless things you can do for yourself and loved ones.

    I always enjoy your Jon-heavy posts! I hope someday I find a man as loving and dedicated as him; the love you two have for each-other is a joy to witness, even through a computer screen.

  • You gave me goosebumps! I gushed enough commenting on Jon’s post yesterday, but here I am again all sentimental and teary-eyed. And this is worth repeating here: I truly admire the life you and Jon have built. Thank you for sharing it with your legions.

  • Kate F.

    Well, shit. That made me tear up, Heather. How very poignant and sweet! *off to hunt the tissues*

  • Hilary

    LOVE IT. It always sounds so great to hear a woman say she loves her husband (and vice versa). I hate it when people bash their partners to others.

  • Heather, I so know where you’re coming from with all this. Jon is a keeper, as are you.

    My husband too deserves the big gold medal for putting up with me and my many issues all these many years we’ve been together. My issues are both physical and mental, but for some reason, he’s stuck by me, and I am so grateful for it. Our guys are the best.

  • Mama B

    Great post and great insight on both your parts. Wonderful for you that you feel such deep love for your husband after all you have been through together. And thank HIM for saying “Just listen”. Congrats to you both.

  • I think that you can safely say that you two have gone through the wringer and emerged a little torn up but much stronger for it. You two suit each other so well; your kids are lucky to have you both as their parents.

  • Katherine

    I have to say, I’m not married yet, nor do my fiance or I have any depression/mental illnesses. But those posts from Jon were SO encouraging. I liked reading a man’s point of view on the work a relationship takes. It makes me realize what I have to do as well, and makes me want to stop and listen more to his needs.

    I, too, need to be asked several times if something is wrong before I’ll answer, even though it’s fairly obvious when it is. Now I know how he feels and what he needs. Thank you Heather, for directing us to those, and to Jon for having the courage to post them!

  • Having another baby has made you mushy.

    I like it. This post was very sweet.

  • Kerstin

    After going through (barely that is…) severe PPD after our daugther was born and suffering crazy posttraumatic stress syndrome when pregnant the second time around (which ended up in a miscarriage as well) I am amazed my husband was also willing to to try again and can share this feeling of amazing love for him. It takes very special men, right!?!
    I hope this third pregnancy works out as well as yours – so far so good; I feel like I got all the crazyness and fear out of my system with the second pregnancy and am so very greatful – sure helps my husband to look more forward to everything too…

  • Eunice

    Ahh! This post made me teary-eyed. You guys are the best!

  • You are lucky and wonderful for noting that. You are lucky to have found that man who so perfectly compliments you. Reading this made me think back to my husband and his tremendous strength through all the failed fertility treatments and how when I broke down because I was “broken” he held me and told me that none of that mattered.

    It is great to find that one who will put up with your shit, but also knows how to help you out of the shit and doesn’t mind that you smell bad when it’s all over.

  • Jon’s a good man. You and he are very lucky to have each other. 🙂

  • Eveline

    I have a boyfriend who listens and you just made me the most thankful girl in the world.
    Thanks for sharing

  • You two share so much love for each other and your children. Its awesome! Great post!

  • Awww… That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard…

    I have those days. My husband and I have been married for 4 plus years…and it still seems like we just got married.

    My husband is in the army and currently deployed to Afghanistan. There are days when all I want to do is stay in bed with the covers pulled up over my head. But I drag myself out of bed because our two year old daughter needs me. When I’m really missing Eric, all I have to do is look at Brooke and I see what the love of two people makes. It’s perfect. Even when she’s throwing a typical two year old tantrum and all I want to do is overnight her to her grandparents in Minnesota.

    I am so thankful to have a husband like mine. Like yours, he has realized that all he needs to do is listen. There are some days where all of my frustrations have built up to the point of a violent explosion, but he knows that if he just lets me rant, rave, and bitch, when I’m done, I’ll be fine. I love my husband because he recognizes that being a full time mom is a job in itself. He never expects the house to be spotless, dinner on the table by the time he walks in the door or for me to be little miss suzy homemaker. He does the dishes, he takes out the trash, he washes all of his own clothes and helps me with all of the household chores. He takes care of our family while fighting for this country’s freedom. How could have I found a better husband and father for our children?

    There are days where all I want to do is kick him in his man parts, but I take a step back, take a deep breath and realize that if I did that, he wouldn’t be able to help me make anymore beautiful children. And then he goes and does something wonderful, like bring me flowers or clean out my car. 🙂

    It’s hard to find someone so completely compatible with you…so when you find them, hold on for dear life! It looks like we both found our perfect matches.

  • John

    As a male reader of this site, I particularly enjoy the contrast of Jon’s voice with Heather’s when reading about their styles and relationship. Anyone who’s found the love of their life can tell you that the answer to “what it is” or “what makes it work” is often too layered and complex for such a casual question. This post did as good a job as I’ve read of subtly alluding to it without compromising the private subtleties of the husband-wife bond. It made me cry. If that makes me a little gay today, I’m fine with it.

  • Oh goodness, that was beautiful, as was Jon’s post yesterday. I love that you two can be open, honest, and real for the sake of other couples going through the same thing.

    Kudos!!!! (And thanks a lot for making me teary-eyed again at work)

  • Awww…

  • Kelly

    Beautiful posts, by both of you. Reminders (both) that there is so much to appreciate in our partners, kids and lives. Thank you, both of you, for being so honest and open.

  • –>What a nice exchange between the two of you. I don’t think I could work from home with my husband. EVER.

    Love him, but we need time AWAY from each other.

    http://www.WebSavyMom.com

  • Karrie

    Heather I loved reading that, it is a great testament to what marriage really is and should be. I am so in love with my husband as well and didn’t expect to be because divorce and problems in marriage seem to surround me, I just figured I might feel that way eventually too. But I don’t, after 12 years together I’m in deeper love with him than I thought possible. Jon sounds like an awesome husband and it is so plain to see his devotion and love for you.

  • This brought tears for me as well. When I read what Jon had posted it made me realize that you guys have an extremely amazing one of a kind love. You guys are so in love and I wish you all the best!

  • Awesome. I am grateful for your honesty in your life experiences Heather (and Jon). Keep on keepin’ on.

  • chelsea

    i cried a few happy tears at this. and my throat got all tight. i love love!

  • stephanie

    What a wonderful, insightful husband you have…
    you are a very lucky lady…

  • Of everything you’ve written, I think this is what I can relate to most. Thank you for sharing, and congrats on the Forbes mention! Go 26!!!!

  • sybann

    WAAAAAH!

  • Cate Bell

    I believe what you and Jon have is a truly rare thing.

    We should all be so lucky.

  • Heather, I, too, thought Jon’s post yesterday was his best ever.
    I had read half of yours yesterday then got pulled away and later on read Jon’s and then finished yours. Needless to say, I had tears of laughter (twenty-six, bitches!!!!) and tears of admiration and love. What a wonderful tribute to you, you and him, and you, him, Leta and Marlo.
    I know you have heard it a millions times if you have heard it once, I am so thankful to have you all be a part of my day. Thank you.

  • i remember reading that post of his about living with a girl who has depression…i need to make my husband read it this time.

    you two really have something special going…congrats 🙂

  • Interesting how the male mind works.

    Nice to hear what a husband really thinks about pregnancy…the good, the bad and the ugly.

  • Candy

    Jon, I think I love you too.

  • My now fiance dealt with pretty severe anxiety about 4 months after we started dating. I was a freshman in college. Now, 6 years later, he’s mostly fine, but there are still times that are a little iffy. When I see certain patterns, even if they are somewhat normal given the situation, my heart starts racing. I’m so glad things are going well for you guys too 😉

  • Renee

    I hope its not rare and I don’t believe it is. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy reading this blog, and Jon’s, because I see so many qualities of my own marriage, and the marriage of my parents. It’s important to show the world how an intelligent, modern, honest couple that is truly in love acts. No one should settle for anything less than that.

  • Elaine Benes

    I am so so very envious of your relationship together. You are not only lucky to have it, but you work at it.

  • Kateastrophe

    You and Jon are an inspiration. You have overcome so much adversity in your relationship and yet somehow managed to keep both your senses of self and humor!

    Thank you, Heather and Jon, for giving me a strong example of marriage that I hope to duplicate with my fiance!

  • Jen

    Heather-from the first moment I started reading you, I’ve remarked on the relationship you and Jon have. I think it’s brilliant, loving, comforting, challenging (in the sense that you each challenge each other to be better people), trusting, compassionate, passionate…all of the things any good relationship should be.

    There are so few examples of healthy relationships in our society today, and so few opportunities to look at couples and say ‘you know, they’ve really figured this whole relationship thing out’. Your relationship is one of those precious few and I am constantly inspired by your love. A lot of our friends look at my husband and I and say that we are the best couple they know–but you and Jon truly are our inspiration. I have never been able to articulate my feelings towards my own husband as clearly as you just have. Very well said.

  • Claire

    Thanks for writing that. Thanks for sharing Jon’ commments.
    My husband and I are going through some challenges in our relationship. It’s rough going sometimes, but we keep at it. Your post reminded me to keep the big picture in mind.
    there are seasons to marriages, aren’t there?
    Claire

  • Armonia

    W O W !
    that’s a great husband to wife love you moment; This is a beautiful way to scream out to the world how much he loves you.
    very blessed and i’m very happy for you.

  • Jessie

    It may just be because I’m about to start my period, but this made me feel choked up. Or maybe you articulate your feelings to where I can understand. Love is great. One of the best parts of being alive. Good for you.

  • Trish

    True love is so beautiful, it hurts.

    Thank you for sharing tidbits of your life with us. You are both amazing people.

  • Anonymous

    First song on shuffle this morning was “All You Need is Love” and, crabby NYer on way to work that I was, I almost skipped it. Then I listened. It’s sappy, it’s simple, it’s cliche. It’s also true and joyous and eternal.

    Love you both and all the joy you bring to the world.

    Thank you.

  • Emily

    This is really sweet but, I am dying for the other half of the birth story!! I check everyday, I am about to have my second and I desperatly want to know how it was different and what happened. Thanks for sharing you life!

  • Allegra

    I’ve never commented before, but this is really beautiful and made me tear up at work. My partner of 5 years is moving cross-country in a few weeks, and we’re going to try long-distance, ergh. I don’t think I ever realized how much I love him until I had to think about all the little things he does everyday and how they won’t be in my life anymore. You are a lucky woman, and Jon is a great man.

  • Gini

    Thank you so much for sharing. I just began counceling for depression. I think I have had all my life, but I’m not really sure. That is something that I’m trying to figure out right now. And just having a baby six months ago and nursing doesnt help with my hormones still a little crazy. I am also married, but my husband has a really difficult time dealing with my depression and anxiety. I think what your husband wrote is so sweet and his devotion to you says so much. Right now I am paying someone to listen to me so that I can feel like a normal person again. And its frustrating. I rather talk to my husband. I’m glad to hear that you both have worked together to make things work for both of you. I liked what someone else commented…”its a great testament to what marriage really is and should be.” I believe that too.

  • I felt exactly the same way about my husband after our second was born too. And a month later I was ready to murder him. And a month after that I was desperately in love again. Fucking hormones.

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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