the smell of my desperation has become a stench

In the moment

A couple of days ago I volunteered in Leta’s kindergarten class for a writing workshop they hold every week, and since I show up early for everything I got to talk to her teacher while the kids finished playing outside. She said Leta was integrating well and asked how it was at home with the newborn, and suddenly I’m reflexively gushing about how much I love it and can’t get enough.


WHA?? WHO???

And I found myself wanting to talk about how that morning when Marlo woke up at 3 AM to feed I couldn’t wait to snuggle her up under my arm and lie there with her fuzzy head up under my chin. OH! And our favorite part of the day now is the moment Leta pokes her head into our bedroom in the morning and whispers with a scream, “IS THE BABY AWAKE?!” Her head a giant mushroom cloud of tangles as she runs and hops up in between us, and Marlo looks up with a grin so wide there is no room left on the bed.

Yeah, there are really frustrating times, experiences everyone has as they juggle this kid off to school while trying to make the house quiet for the other kid’s nap. And work and errands jammed into the tiny cracks of time left in the day. But that baby… I don’t know how to explain what she’s done to me, to Jon, and especially to Leta who loves her more than anything else in her life, who now shows a level of tenderness and generosity that I didn’t know she possessed. It’s like Marlo has brought us to Here, with the capital H, that place we’ve always been trying to get to, the place that always seemed unattainable and out of reach. She’s brought us into The Now, and it feels absolutely magical.

I will always remember how hard it was the first time, and I will always sympathize with women who struggle they way that I did. But now I feel like I can understand the others who beamed when talking about life with an infant. I get it now. Yes, I know this makes me some droning mommyblogger, but I also hope that this, from the perspective of someone who has lived through the blinding demons of sadness and hopelessness, might give someone out there a glimpse of what it can be, and maybe they’ll go for it.

  • caitlin

    2009/09/18 at 1:30 pm

    oooh it makes me want 6 more!

  • Paige

    2009/09/18 at 1:31 pm

    Exactly how I felt (and still feel) after my second. And he was the colicky screaming nightmare, but even so – minus the weight of the post partum depression, it felt like heaven. He is a supremely grumpy 1 year old now and it still feels that way. Enjoy, it gets better and better.. my girl is also a wonderful big sister. I feel like he completed me in a way I would never have been without him. I get it. Bless you guys.

  • Scary Mommy

    2009/09/18 at 1:31 pm

    Seeing my siblings interact is as close to finding religion as I get. It’s truly magical. In a sappy mom blogger kind of way.

  • honkytonk

    2009/09/18 at 1:32 pm

    And now my pregnant self is a weepy mess in my office chair.

  • Angel

    2009/09/18 at 1:32 pm

    Your story is very inspirational to me. I had a very difficult labor and delivery with my now 2 year old son, not in the way you did, but difficult none the less. Your story thinks that maybe I can too have a second child. Maybe the baby girl I’d love to have or another boy for my son to play.

    Thank you. For sharing your life and your story. It really does make a difference in peoples lives. You’ll never know how much you’ve helped me. I too, suffer from anxiety and that worry often stops me in my tracks.

    Thank you…Angel

  • Joe

    2009/09/18 at 1:32 pm

    Droning mommyblogger, whatever. Still keeps me laughing my ass off.

    Wicked cute video, too. Don looks good in pink.

  • Nina

    2009/09/18 at 1:33 pm

    love the Wilco! love the baby!

  • kristen

    2009/09/18 at 1:33 pm

    My third brought the joy into our house. We are all in love with her funny, sweet, wild self.

  • Annie

    2009/09/18 at 1:33 pm

    aaaw they are so cute them two!

    I still don’t want one of my own though, but you guys should have a third so I wouldn’t have to! ;D

  • Lindsey

    2009/09/18 at 1:34 pm

    OMG my ovaries hurt, that is so adorable.

  • Amelia

    2009/09/18 at 1:34 pm

    Heather, your family is just beautiful. Congrats on all your happiness, it was a long road for you to get Here and I’m cheering you on all the way! Drone away, the Haters are the only ones who will mind 🙂

  • leesavee

    2009/09/18 at 1:34 pm

    OMG, I think that video just made me lactate! So sweet!

  • Chelsi

    2009/09/18 at 1:35 pm

    beautiful absolutely beautiful. What is the song in the background?

  • Siobhan

    2009/09/18 at 1:35 pm

    That is amazing. And you should gush in a sappy mommyblogger kinda way. You’re allowed.

    And I’m working on that feeling. I love both girls very much and I keep being told that I make it look really easy but there are days that I kinda want to hide. But then again, Cara loves her sister just not in a benevolent, self-less kinda way. 🙂

    Congrats on beating those demons back. You deserved it.

  • BPinKC

    2009/09/18 at 1:35 pm

    I would like to take this opportunity to publicly state that Michelle Rebeiro Yoakum Mcbee is a nut-bag!

  • Megan

    2009/09/18 at 1:36 pm

    Oh, that made me cry! So adorable. Sorry for asking but I’m clueless w/ music, but what’s the song playing?

  • deebook

    2009/09/18 at 1:36 pm

    I felt that overwhelming emotion with my second child too. Which may explain how we ended up with a 3rd just 16 months later. You know that whole Momversation topic… watch out Heather. The Emotions, with a capital E make you do wild, crazy things.

  • gr8lakesgrrl

    2009/09/18 at 1:36 pm

    Yes, that’s exactly how it felt when we had our second child, like he filled a void we didn’t know was there. Congratulations, Heather! <3

  • Trish

    2009/09/18 at 1:37 pm

    Thank you for making me bawl and want another baby stat.

  • Erin Smith

    2009/09/18 at 1:37 pm

    That is so beautiful. I have a four month old and I struggled with PPD. I decided to get medicated at my 6 week appointment and it was the best decision I could have made. I really struggled those first few weeks, but every day is getting a little better, a little easier, and I’m starting to understand and enjoy this time.

    Your babies are beautiful. Leta looks so grown up loving on her little sister.

  • Christina

    2009/09/18 at 1:37 pm

    dude – why did that video make me cry – how sweet!

  • marcy

    2009/09/18 at 1:38 pm

    I’m struggling, realizing I might be pregnant with our first child and its unplanned and unexpected and scary but I just watched this, tears rolling down my cheek as I realize how absolutely, utterly breath-taking a child, a family can be.

    Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Laura Trevey

    2009/09/18 at 1:40 pm

    So adorable!!!

    Have a wonderful weekend ~~
    xo Laura

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/18 at 1:42 pm

    Girl, you are living in a dreamworld right now.
    Wait till they start fighting from the minute they get up till the minute they go to bed. Enjoy it now, pretty soon the older one will pinch the younger one just to see what happens. HA!

    BTW, the music is a bit sappy dontcha think? Liittlllee over the top folks.

  • Lulu

    2009/09/18 at 1:42 pm

    Beautiful post—lovely video. Thanks for sharing the love! And I’m sure you’ll always be cool and hip.

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/18 at 1:42 pm

    Awwww…now I’m sad that I’ll never have another.

  • Bethbb

    2009/09/18 at 1:43 pm

    How sweet! Please, more Marlo and Leta!
    You’re doing a great job.

  • rhea

    2009/09/18 at 1:44 pm

    Thank you.

  • vakadesign

    2009/09/18 at 1:44 pm

    There is often so much worry about when it’s the right time for the second….and then you have the second and it’s the best thing in the world! None of the fear and the overwhelming worry of the first, and you can just enjoy. I’m so, so glad you’re not battling your demons this time!

  • Lorna

    2009/09/18 at 1:44 pm

    My younger sister is 7 years younger to the day, and I’m so glad that I have clear memories of her coming home. And how I cried inconsolably when my dad wouldn’t let me hold her right away. My mom eventually let me and there’s a pic of me with my eyes and nose all red from crying, but with the biggest smile on a 7 year old’s face holding a bright pink newborn who’s screaming her head off. But I didn’t care – it was bliss. I can’t wait to have my own one day, but that sisterly bound is something that cannot be replicated. Congrats on your beautiful family.

  • SheyFey

    2009/09/18 at 1:44 pm

    Perfect. That moment when you realize that THIS is the way it is supposed to be can make up for so much that was bad.

    Great story!

    BTW, LOVE THE HATE SECTION!!! (I had to scream with such excitement!) I added a link to your hate section on my blog!

  • Angie

    2009/09/18 at 1:44 pm

    Glad you made it!

  • Melissa

    2009/09/18 at 1:45 pm

    That made me want to cry too, very beautiful!…

    Also does that woman on your hater page have nothing else better to do !?

    Keep up the good work. Love your page !

  • Lunaticinthehouse

    2009/09/18 at 1:45 pm

    What a beautiful family. Thank you for letting us share.


  • Scary Mommy

    2009/09/18 at 1:46 pm

    I meant seeing my kids interact with their siblings. Gah. I botch my first comment here. That sucks!

  • Terri

    2009/09/18 at 1:46 pm

    That video is beautiful, it made my day brighter! Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/18 at 1:46 pm

    Wow some people are so miserable with their lives that they have to rain on the moments that MOST of us want to enjoy… Obviously we are all not completely unrealistic to think life is this perfect little fairytale, but why is it so wrong to enjoy it when it is… (response to anonymous 24)

  • Hoso

    2009/09/18 at 1:46 pm

    They’re so lovely. Leta is so caring. I’m pregnant with my first and it’s a boy. I hope one day, I’ll have a girl. You guys and the dogs are awesome. Wish you all the best.

  • J

    2009/09/18 at 1:46 pm

    Awe-inspiring…I’m so, so happy for the four of you!!

  • David

    2009/09/18 at 1:46 pm

    So happy that you’re knowing this joy.

    Commenter #24 just said you’re living in a dreamworld, and they’ll fight and hate each other in the future. And they will. But that only seems like more of a reason to embrace the times when your children are a pleasure. Life is pain AND pleasure. People who see only the pain are as unrealistic as people who see only the pleasure.

  • new at this

    2009/09/18 at 1:47 pm

    heather, i have no kids but this week for the first time in my career i was let go from a job. a job i worked REALY hard to get. a job i thought was the holy grail of my industry, when really it was like a duck – serene on the surface but paddling like fuck all below the water. i have many great friends around to encourage me right now, but i would like for you to know that its posts like yours today that help me keep things in perspective, and give me so much faith in myself and my ability to go on. i know you have alot of haters, but you must know that your courageous honesty helps so many. thank you.

  • Sara

    2009/09/18 at 1:47 pm

    I volunteered in my daughter’s kindergarten class for the first time today. And then I got back home to my 19 month old and he seemed so small and precious! It’s amazing what a little perspective can do! Life is good. I’m glad yours is, too!

  • Leslie M.

    2009/09/18 at 1:47 pm

    That video brought tears to my eyes . . . So happy for you heather.

  • Tricia

    2009/09/18 at 1:48 pm

    Very sweet. I’m expecting my second child next Spring, and hoping very much that this time around I’ll be more able to enjoy those early months that were lost in a fog of tears and stress last time. So glad it’s going well for all of you.

  • Vanessa

    2009/09/18 at 1:48 pm

    Found the blog via Jezebel on Monetizing Hate. Love it. Congrats on the newborn gushiness. I miss that phase…

  • Jen

    2009/09/18 at 1:48 pm

    Heather-this is so beautiful. You should be very happy with your family! I am cheering you on.

  • rbiggs

    2009/09/18 at 1:49 pm

    I am so glad that you get to have these feelings this time around!

  • jenny

    2009/09/18 at 1:49 pm

    Totally brought tears to my eyes…which wilco song is that?
    thanks for being wonderful 🙂

  • Josey

    2009/09/18 at 1:50 pm

    GREAT video…makes me miss my little sisters. 🙂 I’m happy you’ve found this happy place!

  • Murphy

    2009/09/18 at 1:51 pm

    This is the peephole into my future, Heather. My 8-month old girl needs a sibling, and I’ve been scared.

    But women are incredible and I’M a woman, so I’ll find a way to do it.

    This story, your story, is the evidence of things hoped for. Blessings

    P.S. I love the hate page. I wish I could comment on the comments.

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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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