Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

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.

  • Behind every #26 there is Jon.

  • You should write him love letters more often. And no…he didn’t pay me to say that.

  • This is so sweet. And now I feel like I need to go and thank my husband for all his care and listening while I’ve been battling demons of my own.

  • This kind of post is a good reminder to women that there are, indeed, warm and loving men in the world.

    It is so true that the best thing a man can do for his children is to “love their mother.”

    It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?

  • Admissions of love are so uplifting, especially in a country where every other marriage fails. I too am with someone so respectful and supportive and caring and CALLS WHEN HE SAYS HE WILL. Roll your eyes, but it’s nice to be able to admit it. And even nicer to know people like him(and Jon) exist in the world.

    Thank you.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but this is exactly the sort of thing I needed to read after the last 24 hours. Thank you.

  • NIcki

    While it was a raw and loving post, and while it may have moved you more than other things he’s written, it’s not the best thing he’s ever done. Not by a long shot.

  • Great. I’m 11 weeks pregnant and now I’m crying like a baby. No really, that was a great post. You put feelings into words so well.

  • Dawn H

    I have been reading your blog for some time now and have always found your insight thoughtful and hilarious. You are the type of person every one wants as their friend. But Heather, this post was so refreshing. Blessings on you and your family!

  • How slow am I that I only just realized Jon has his own blog??

    Very elucidating from his point of view!

    Now…back to Labor Story, Part 2???

  • What a wonderful man! It’s so nice to see things from the male perspective from time-to-time! I think it helps us stay grounded when things start to spiral.

  • The week after I had come home from the hospital after having MiniMe was one of my favorite of our whole almost 9 years together. I can’t wait to have this baby & have another week like that.

    Congratulations on this. Even better than being declared #26, I would believe. Sheesh. Talk about reasons to NOT be depressed!

  • Mel

    Thanks for reminding me that there is hope out there for that kind of love. So incredibly sweet. Thank you for sharing something so heartfelt.

  • I just read his whole post and it’s refreshing to see that some men DO get it. I’m like you…my moods are normally only a reflection of what is going on in my head and have little to do with is actually going on. I internalize everything.

    I’m not one of those wives who sit there asking “What are u thinking? What are you feeling? Blah blah blah”. I live with the assumption that the man I’ve chosen to spend my life with kinda gets me, and I kinda get him.

    It’s great that there are good guys out there, who are willing to put up with us simply because they love us.

    Ps. Bring on Labour Part 2, I’m due to give birth shortly and need squeamish details.

  • Mel

    I read Jon’s post via the link, then I read your post, then I cried a bit. As a mother of 2 girls with an amazing husband I adore, I get it.

    BEAUTIFUL!!

  • I got lucky with my Jon, in that he is a lot like yours. He has learned to listen, which has been a godsend so many times over. He’s learned to ask questions, to let me internalize while still pushing me to externalize occasionally. He’s learned to not get impatient when I spend twenty minutes recounting my rage or frustration or anxiety at something, which he used to suck at.

    It’s wonderful that you have such a wonderful man there for you.

  • stella

    Wonderful post and I agree with you that Jon’s post is one of his best. I teared up reading it and it made me thankful for the ‘Jon’ in my life. We are trying to have a baby after two miscarriages and after the way he held me up after the latest one, I know that he is going to be such a wonderful dad. I don’t know how we got so lucky!

    I am really anxious to hear about Part Two of your birthing story….I know that you are kinda busy but wanted you to know that your blog is one thing that I look forward to when I log onto my computer and I thank you for doing what you do.

  • mscyndi

    You guy’s are blessed to have each other in your lives. I am glad that Jon is so understanding about your depression. Depresseion is a hard thing to live with as I have it myself.

  • jenny McHugh

    That made me teary. You two must be the sweetest couple I have ever read about online…when you aren’t talking about poop. Maybe even then.

  • Heather, I’ve been reading your blog for a while but never commented because you get a million comments and I never thought what I had to say would even matter. But I’m sitting here now, reading your post, and crying my eyes out. Four months ago I lost my baby at 18 weeks. I’m devasted, still today. I never stopped to think about how my husband was dealing with all this. All I know is that I’m devasted, and he is taking care of me. Taking such good care of me. I feel so lucky. How/why he picked me, I have no idea. We are both lucky, even in all this crap, I know I’m lucky.

  • Suzy

    This has nothing to do with todays post, but more about the ones you have written over the past week or two. I will preface this by saying that the mere mention of vagina’s and poop do not bother me at all, however, it seems like you are trying really hard to be as graphic and disgusting as you possibly can. I know such things bother your father and you get a kick out of that, but I think you’re trying too hard at this point.

    Over the past week, your posts have left me hoping that your father would haul off and slug you in the face for that.

    Occasionally such posts are funny, but lately? Not so much.

  • Anonymous

    As a sympathetic mother of two loud sleeping infant grunters…wondering if anyone has recommended/you have tried giving probiotics directly to Marlo? My acupuncturist gave me some specifically for my son and it seemed to work wonders!

  • Heather I read Jon’s blog yesterday and wanted to tell you what an incredibly lucky woman you are but it looks you know just how blessed you are

  • the niffer

    Love is so great. Thank you for sharing and making me weepy.

  • Dogmom

    After reading Jon’s post today, I was in awe at his ability — and willingness — to write about and post to the world how he felt about everything he’d gone through with what has happened in your lives, good and bad and tragic. Putting aside how lucky he is in finding you, which he really is, being a heterosexual woman who has never quite hit it big in the relationship game, I think you have won the Powerball lottery in finding Jon. All you girls are lucky and, of course, deserving of it, to have such a special man in your lives. He’s a gem. And I know you know it. The best to you.

  • You both have such an incredible way with words. I think Leta and Marlo are lucky to have two people so clearly devoted to one another as parents. As always, wishing your beautiful family good health and happiness.

  • Bridget

    It’s so good to feel happy for others. Thank you for sharing and letting me feel happy for you!

  • Caitlin

    You know, even with everything that you have been through, I’d still like to be just like you when I grow up.

  • Lilliah

    @172. Suzy:

    I doubt she’s trying too hard, Suzy- I believe that’s just Heather’s sense of humor. I think that, especially, when someone’s life is currently involving a lot of, um, interesting biological occurances, they joke about those things. Maybe the joking just increases when the various types of bodily fluids and functions increases- I know that’s true in my life! I mean, how else do you deal with so much poo?!

  • shelly

    There are a lot of stupid people in this world. I am sorry that you are subjected to most of them. Politically we are worlds apart, medically we are very very close. I love reading your posts about your illness. I just called my Dr today so that I could get back on my antidepressants. You helped me during my PPD. You help me now. I don’t care that we disagree politically. It helps me to know that I am not alone in my day to day efforts to be a good person and a good parent and to realize that I may need medication to be the person that I need to be. Some of us need extra help. Thanks for making that less of a stigma.

  • Brooke

    I just read this, loved it and cried like a little bitch. Keep up the good work and the awesome family the two of you created. Much love!

  • This made me cry like a baby. To go through all the depression crap (and i speak from experience) and have someone WITH you, who not only had to go through it with you, but who CHOOSES everyday to try to figure it out with you is a huge blessing.

  • that’s very nice sharing…I also review your weblog on my site

  • My husband is one of the good guys. It is especially important to me because we have two daughters, and he is the man against whom they will hold up and compare all other men.

  • Melanie

    Thank you so much for making me cry. I needed it. My husband and I just celebrated our 15th year of marriage and have 3 children. I cannot explain the love I feel for him and it was wonderful to hear yours in the terms you wrote. All I could say to him on our anniversary was “thanks for putting up with me for so long”. Congrats on your new addition and I am glad things are going so well. doesn’t it rock when they get the meds. right. From one depressed woman to another.

  • linuxchik

    i hereby dedicate liz phair’s ‘nashville’ to you.

    signed,
    STILL glad i’m single, even though you just made my eyes sting.

  • Aww, that’s what I want. A love like that. If you know any cool guys in the NYC area, send them my way…

  • Mary

    So sweet. Made me tear up. Need to go upstairs and hug my version of Jon. Thanks.

  • I have never commented here, but that was an incredible post from Jon. I have bipolar disorder and long ago gave up on finding anyone willing to slog through this with me. I spend so much time trying to not make my illness impact anyone else’s lives. Thank you for the glimpse into someone who can do it. I don’t know what I want to say, but thank you.

  • Amazing. Beautiful. I feel the same way about my husband.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t believe I’m getting all slobbery here, but I got chills. Mostly because my mother is a Manic depressive and I totally got Jon with listening to the tone of your voice and whether you were adjusting meds, because I do that all the time with my mother and grew up doing it. My parents divorced when I was young and I then got all teary thinking how sad it was that my mother couldn’t have had a marriage like this, where my father was willing to be the one listening instead of me. Sheesh I feel like I need to be telling a shrink this…then I hit a few of the nasty comments while coming down here to post and yikes, one was just plain evil. I don’t know how you put up with that…and then I got all blubbery thinking why anyone would post such hate and how the hell do you take it when trying to keep your life, family, marriage together and having to read posts by yahoos?? If they don’t like it they should just go read something else. What the hell is wrong with people? Anyway, I wish you the best, and thanks for sharing such deep stuff. Saved me a therapy session.

  • Jaye

    I too am blessed the second time around. No…not my second child. My second husband. 13 years, five kids, a mortgage, four moves, and a crazy insane ex wife and I still catch my breath when he walks into the room. Life is good…so glad you have the same thing. We are part of the few..the lucky…

  • I am a single mom.

    And I am in love.

    It’s been three months and the few fights we’ve had have been about my uncanny knack at stressing out or becoming overly anxious about my work (now my blog full-time. I know he wants to fix it, but he just can’t. I have issues. I know we all do, but I think mine will take a while to work through. I just hope he sticks around and I hope I let him.

    I am going to send him a link to Jon’s post and hope it helps him cope with my depressive and anxious tendencies. Because what you just described, Heather, is what I want more than anything.

    I love being single but I can taste what it would be like to love someone forever more – no matter what – and I can finally say I want it too.

    Thanks so much for everything you two share with the world.

    P.S. (to Heather) I was on an episode of Momversation a few weeks ago (about single moms and married moms) – hoping we can be in the same episode one day.

  • LB827

    Heather, I just wanted to share with you how thankful I am that I learned about your site. I have suffered with depression for most of my life but never really understood what it was so never got the help I needed. I am now 16 weeks pregnant after 3 years of infertility treatments and meds, including 3 cycles of in vitro, which is how we got pregnant. Did I mention that I also just lost my mother to ovarian cancer in May? I have moments where I am extremely happy about being pregnant and others where I am completely terrified and can’t stop crying, those happening much more frequently. But I have now reached out to my doctors and have gotten the help I need. This was an incredibly tough decision to do while pregnant but they have assured me that it is far better to treat depression than not while carrying a baby. They also indicated that I am more predisposed to have postpartum depression so we have a plan for that as well.

    I just wanted to thank you for being so open and honest with your situation. I can honestly say that I may not have had the courage to get help without hearing your story and seeing your words of encouragement. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Congratulations on your new baby girl and many blessings to you and your family.

    (Oh – and to those that will condemn me for taking this step – you can SUCK IT!)

  • *sigh*

    (Melody wipes a tear from her eye)

  • Absolutely fantastic. There are a lot of women out there that use their blogs to vent and complain EVERY DAY about their kids and husbands. Thank you for having the wisdom and respect to talk about the things you are thankful for. It’s refreshing and beautiful!

  • Really appreciated you sharing your stories. I actually had NOT read the actual posts of that time, but was of course aware of the issues to some extent. I think one of the best things to come of this newfangled internet is the unalterable knowledge that “WE ARE NOT ALONE” no matter how unique our situation may seem.

    I’ve never suffered from postpartum depression or anxiety, but have plenty of friends who have. And I think one of the most often expressed feelings was one of guilt for not feeling “like everyone else” toward their newborn. Good for you both for letting it all hang out. I truly believe you’ve done some good. Thank goodness you were able to hear about such a wonderful doctor and have such quick access to his particular brand of care. I’ve never heard of any other physician who could achieve same day results.

    Best wishes to all four of you! (well 6 counting the dogs)

  • D

    I’m so glad you realize how lucky you are, and I just hope I can find what you have someday! Congrats on the new baby!

  • This is so sweet! I like it almost as much as your posts about baby poop exploding and dog pee all over your shirt!

  • Rhonda

    Hello Heather, Jon, Leta and Marlo (Chuck and Coco)

    I feel I would be remiss if I did not wish you a happy birthday and congrats on the Fortune’s list (I think you should be number one by the way).

    Thank you for helping me and many others by being so candid with your life and what you are going through.

    Stay happy and healthy,

    All the best,

    Rhonda