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.

  • It’s nice to find that someone that can hold on with you.

  • You are so lucky to have each other! And communicating that love to each other as well… the girls are so lucky to have 2 wonderfully in love parents!

  • Give that boy a great big smooch from everyone on the Internets!

    As they say here in Maine, “He’s a keepah!”

  • Wow. Awesome post, Dooce.

    I cried.

  • you two are great. i think deep down single gals are scared out of their minds that they’ll never meet someone who can hang for the real times. you two have proven it’s possible.

    that just gave me another’s day worth of hope. good job!

  • Barbara

    You don’t know me, but I love you two SO MUCH. Posts like this bring me to tears, and when I think about it, I guess it’s because you two give me hope.

  • Red

    your love is beautiful. thank you for sharing with us.

  • Aly

    You guys are the reason I’m not giving up on love.. You both ROCK and are an inspiration to all of us who read your stories. Keep on rocking, Armstrongs!

    P.S. Love the new hairdo, Heather!! More pics please..:)

  • Jesus fucking christ woman. Every time I get the husband/baby desire under control you write something like this and the invisible hands start to wring my heart and the “I need husbandbaby RIGHT NOW” juice starts to pour out and I have to go read bitchy articles on the frisky for the next three hours.


    But really, thank you. You and John are inspiring.

  • Katka

    Heather, that was so beautiful…

  • Wonderful post, Heather. Made my teeth ache from the sweetness of it (and I mean that in a good way). It’s so good to see such love between two people and to see it lasting. And I thank both you and Jon for sharing that part of your lives with us, your Internet audience. I find it amazing how captivated I am by your lives – I’m not a soap opera watcher, but I feel like you all are my own little personal soap that I just have to check in with daily to see how it’s all going.

  • I totally relate! I love that I can. Jacob and I have four kids, been married almost 14 years in September and have been together since highschool. Sometimes I look over at him when I hear a Prince song(bringing back those memories of the early 90’s), and think wow babe, look at us we made it through hell and back and are still so in love. Not alot of people can say that, we are so lucky!!

  • * Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! *
    Seriously, gotta show the love to the hubsters. Very sweet.

  • Anonymous

    Great post. Jon’s post about men liking to be fixers reminded me of the new song by Pearl Jam called “The Fixer.” It was just released this week. Have you heard it? Based on the lyrics, I think it should be yours and Jon’s new favorite song. It’s very sweet. Here are the lyrics:
    When something’s dark let me shed a little light on it
    When something’s cold let me put a little fire on it
    If something’s old I wanna put a bit of shine on it
    When something’s gone I wanna fight to get it back again
    Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah
    Fight to get it back again
    Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah

    When something’s broke I wanna put a bit of fixin on it
    When something’s bored I wanna put a little excited on it
    If something’s low I wanna put a little high on it
    When something’s lost I wanna fight to get it back again
    Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah
    Fight to get it back again
    Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah

    When signals cross I wanna put a little straight on it
    If there’s no love I want to try to love again
    I’ll say your prayers I’ll take your side
    I’ll burn as a way to make light
    I’ll dig your grave
    We’ll dance and sing
    What’s saved could be
    One last lifetime

    Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah
    Fight to get it back again
    Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah

  • I read Jon’s post yesterday and enjoyed the read. It was nice to see the other side of things….another perspective.

    It sounds like the two of you have great energy together!

  • I really feel like this was a tribute of sorts. Your love is deep and you can tell this by reading both of your blogs.
    Thanks for sharing.


  • Oh Heather!

    I’ve been reading your blog (and have laughed out loud for real a whole bunch of times) for quite some time now, but this post got my tears rolling -so I had to comment!

    Thank you both for sharing so much of yourselves and the journey of life you’re on. It’s amazing to watch as you develop and learn and even in the saddest moments, you always keep that glimpse of the hilarious woman that I think most of your followers love.

    I’ve not only laughed and cried but I’ve also learned from the both of you. I wish you a future filled with exactly what you already have, love, family, laughter, reality and the drive to better yourselves as human beings.

    Oh, and I LOVE your daily Chuck (and yes even Coco)!


  • You’re very lucky to have such great love in your life. Love….is everything.

  • Becca

    That is so awesome. =)

    I tend to think I don’t want to get married b/c it seems so stifling and I know so many people in not-very-good marriages. Reading that post makes me want to rethink that.

    So glad you’re doing ok this time around, and yay for Jon. =)

  • His blog yesterday, yours today: They are why I said you two helped inspire my second novel. Thank you.

  • Bailey


    I am so happy for you and Jon both. I’ve always admired the way you two handle your marriage and family and having kids and all the problems that come with those things, and I was also very jealous for a long time because when I first started reading your blog I was divorced. I’ve dealt with depression for most of my life, and my ex-husband was one of those “just get over it” types who never listened. Since we divorced I found out that a lot of my depression was caused by Grave’s disease, which was making my thyroid overactive. When the medicine kicked in for that it was like a miracle, I felt better than I had in literally decades.

    But I still deal with depression some, especially lately, and I think a lot of is because my youngest just moved out – empty nest and all that, and I think this depression is a lot like PPD. Why does having children and then letting them go do such horrible things to us? Fortunately I got another miracle a couple of years ago – a man who listens and understands depression and who I love as much as you and Jon love each other. I thought my mom and dad were the last people on earth to have a good marriage, but now I finally have that, and I see that you and Jon do too, and it restores a little of my faith in humanity.

    Thank you for sharing your lives with us, you have no idea how immensely helpful it is in so many ways.

  • Christie

    You are much more articulate than you give yourself credit for.

    Thank you for sharing. All of it.

  • Tara

    Amen! I have similar ups and downs and my relationship with my husband parallels yours. I don’t know what I did to deserve him…

  • you both gave me chills and reduced me to tears. i am so glad that you both are doing well this time around. i understand how the love you have for jon can be unbearable. after my husband and i lost our 3 week old son in december, i can remember thinking to myself how much i loved my husband, that i loved him so much that is hurt. i cant imagine him not being the center of my world.

    thanks for sharing your story with all of us!

  • Margaret B

    Aww mama, that’s so great. I know exactly how you feel, because that’s how I feel about my husband and my baby’s dad (just a few days younger than Marlo!). I’m so glad you get to have that same feeling. Just makes you a better mother, I think.

  • Aw. That is sweet. I’m glad there are couples who actually feel this way about each other. It does give one room to hope.

  • Welling up. Spilling over.

  • Tommy

    yep,Jon pretty much rocks…if he had a gay brother I’d so wanna marry him

  • Lalala

    I read Jon’s post and it disgusted me. It was dripping w. hubris and privilige. I know lots of people who read personal blogs and have never read your stupid mommyblog. I even know some people who read mommyblogs and have never read your posts when you were crazy. I read your blog bc it think it’s awful. Bully for you – enjoy the revenue from the page view. Jon made Leta seem like heinous bitch. Franly, after reading your blog, I have concluded that she is a heinous bitch. If I had spawn like that, I would make sure I was using BC on the regs. It’s great that you have figured out how to beat the system. What about women who suffer from PPD who have to work? Or have husbands who have to work? What about single moms? I’m glad Jon can provide you w. the terrarium like conditions you need so you don’t go off the deep end, kill yourself and kill your child. Rad. He’s bitching about wearing a dirty tee-shirt to drop off Leta at school. I bet nobody gives a rats ass what he is wearing. What about the mother who suffers from PPD and has to drop off her kid w. a screaming infant in the backseat while her husband goes off to earn an income so he can provide for his family? I bet she ain’t wearing Chanel to her kid’s school. Wah wah, poor you. It’s hard to be empathetic to a family who is so out of touch w. the majority of Americans.

  • I also have anxiety/depression, take a medication for it, recently had a miscarriage at 13 weeks and have my best friend and lover as my husband. I often write posts about our marriage because I find the complex, subtle and surprising truths about a marriage and love and children so fascinating and hopeful. Our three children watch us, I know. I know you and I are both setting them up with an internal foundation of what love is, what it looks like. The gentle and loyal support of my husband is one of the most profound things I’ve ever experienced.

  • I can’t tell you how wonderful it is that the two of you are so grateful for each other. From my own darkness, I wonder how much of it is real? Can two adults really be so understanding and supportive of each other? Can a man really try that hard to listen to his wife? To help her heal? Does it work? I look at the two of you, and I hope.

  • Lizard

    I just wanted to say Thank You. I suffer from depression and your blog allowed me to be able to joke about it and not feel ashamed that I need medication. I haven’t had kids yet but you give me hope that I will be able to handle it when the time comes.

  • What a gift for your daughters, to have two parents, so devoted to each other!

  • Denise

    I had a crappy marriage, and am now divorced. I am so glad there are good marriages out there. Even tho I will never marry again, you guys give me hope that the institution of marriage is not really as awful as I think it is.

  • Tanya

    You and Jon are so brave and generous sharing your both your highs and lows. It inspires me to become more open.

  • Anonymous

    That is so sweet I almost teared… and I’m not a tearing kind of person.

    Thanks Heather, for bringing so much pleasure into my life by sharing yours so sincerely through this blog.

  • Noelle

    Awesome, thanks. I echo a lot of what’s been said already… how it gives me hope, and makes me happy.

    Congrats on finding your match.

  • Thank you so much for that. And now I may never let mine go.

  • Oh my GOd, this is fucking awesome!

    So true about the love you feel for a spouse after creating a beautiful family with him!

  • JBird

    I think I’ll pass that link to my husband, who’s been putting up with my depression/anxiety since we met in 2001. Most of the time, I have NO idea how I’m treating him in the throes of an episode or how daunting it is for the other person living with it.

    Such an inspiring post, and it certainly restores faith in humanity.


  • I hear ya sister.

  • April

    Thank you Heather! You inspire me to keep working on my communication. My husband and I have had difficulties with that since before we got married. Him being in the Army and frequently being gone has not made it any better and very little time to work on it together. I have thought about calling it quits several times because I get so stressed out with everything. Everytime I would tell myself I was no longer in love with him thinking I could fool myself. I love him more than anything and no matter how long he is gone I always want to be here when he comes home. Thank you again and I look forward to reading more in the future.

    I agree with the others, your next book needs to be about marriage.

  • Dee

    This is why I love to read your blog, Heather. You say what the rest of us are afraid to say. God bless you!

  • Anonymous

    HAHA @ 130/Lalala. How sad of a person does one have to be to regularly read a blog that pisses them off so much? I only read the blogs of people I enjoy, but then, I guess I’m not a bitter person who gets off on anger and vitriol. And can we not play the Suffering Olympics? Everyone’s pain is valid. To summarize: Go outside! Enjoy your life! Click the little ‘x’ in the corner!

  • Angie

    Heather, Jon sounds so sweet. Every marriage has it’s moments and irritations (lol), but you are so blessed. Congratulations on your newest edition. Leta was already four or so when I started following your blog, and I’m excited to get to be involved from the very beginning for Marlo’s “Armstrong Adventure”.

    PS: Does Jon have a brother? If so, please send him to Texas…

  • Danielle

    Loooooong time reader and I am so happy for you both – I mean, all of you!!! And, oh! Those early days with the sex all day and only coming up for air long enough to eat and maybe shower… I miss them, I truly do. But like you and Jon, my husband and I are at a point in our lives where the love we have for each other now eclipses the early days on so many levels!

  • Heather, I want your life! It’s hard to get around the envy I feel when I read your blog sometimes, but you went through enough shit to deserve this happiness. You are one strong shit-ass-ho-motherfucker, and inspire me to be the same.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think I suffer from depression, but I suspect my partner does. He only sought professional help at one point when I was ready to leave, but he never explored or considered medication as an option. I’m also not convinced he found the best professionals (neither is he), but you do what you can with the insurance you’ve got.

    As far as I’m concerned, you (and Jon) are an inspiration to all of us who struggle in relationships – with or without mental health demons. Sometimes shit hits the fan and it is so so hard to get through it. Your commitment to each other is astounding. It makes me want to be better for my partner and to bring out the best in him.

    As far as wackjob 130 is concerned: neither Jon nor Heather have claimed to have a monopoly on heartache or tragedy. All they can do (or any of us can do, really) is speak to our experiences, our obstacles and little (and monumental) victories. They’re just sharing one perspective/way of life and are doing their best to manage it with humor and maybe even some grace. You should try to do the same.

  • Elisabeth

    Beautiful post! I feel exactly the same way about my husband…We have 2 beautiful, crazy, full of life little girls and have been together for almost 11 years…I never knew if could be so good and that I could be more in love with him then before…

  • Kat

    So lovely.

    I’m so glad you’re doing well. I just did my first over-the-phone intake to get into therapy, and while I’m really afraid, I’m also really encouraged by you and your blog. Thank you for being a voice for this. Thank you for being a voice for us.

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.

read more