And in the tenth month, she read a book…
I read a book. Shut up! No really…a book! It had sentences and more than ten pages. Sometimes there were big words and even (get this!) curse words. Shut up! Seriously, an honest-to-goodness grown-up book. Okay, okay, so it had to do with pregnancy and babies. But it wasn’t telling me what to do with my baby, how I was harming him, or how the collective accumulation of minutes in the pack ‘n’ play would singlehandedly account for his rejection letter from Harvard. It wasn’t advising me how to feed my baby, what to feed my baby, and when to feed my baby lest he never learn proper table manners or eat anything but Hot Pockets and Devil Dogs. (By the way, if you’ve never seen Jim Gaffigan’s sketch on Hot Pockets, well, here you go. You’re welcome.)
Anyway, here’s what I read: It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita by Heather Armstrong. (How’s that for a title, by the way?) You may know Armstrong as the creator of dooce.com, the original mommy blog. She’s all kindsa funny.
I definitely recommend this book if:
a. you’re a stay-at-home mom.
b. you’ve suffered from depression and/or postpartum depression and/or an anxiety disorder.
c. you could use a laugh and a bit of a reality check.
d. you’ve nursed or tried to nurse your child.
And let me just throw this out there: If, like me, you’ve been blessed enough to be able claim “all of the above,” you should totally read this book. Like now. Right now. Go!
I have neither the time nor the inclination to write a proper book review here, but wanted to include a few of my favorite quotes from this book. Oh yeah, you have to know she lives in Salt Lake City and is a self-described recovering Mormon. That’d help.
Here are just a few of my faves:
“I didn’t wear the maternity clothes in front of my family, if only to force them to get over my bare belly and all the sinful sex that got it there in the first place. I should point out that since Jon and I were married, our sinful sex was state sanctioned, which in Utah means approved by God. So my bare belly was, for all intents and purposes, a righteous, God-fearing belly with a place reserved in heaven for itself and all its polygamist wives.”
“I didn’t need to be convinced that breast is best, and every time I picked up a book to read more about the process of breastfeeding I had to wade through at least two to three chapters devoted specificially to convincing me that women who use formula are terrorists. Apparently, everything that has ever gone wrong in the world can be traced back to some evil woman who fed her baby a man-made imitation of breast milk via a plastic nipple. …there is one book that actually says that needing a good night’s sleep is a myth perpetuated by the bottle feeders of the world! — and if we took it to its logical conclusion we wouldn’t be looking for Osama bin Laden in the war on terrorism. We would be looking for his mother and her stockpile of deadly Similac and Enfamil.”
“During my pregnancy I saw signs that I was turning into my mother when instead of using free time to sleep I spent it folding socks and washing the bathroom mirror. But I thought that I was just experiencing a nesting instinct and that I would go back to my usual low-energy self once the baby was born. The baby’s birth, however, seemed to have tripped a latent portion fo my DNA that caused at least half of my brain to be cnonsumed at all times with the thought of chores that needed to be done. In the time it took Jon to change Leta’s morning diaper I could have the dishwasher unloaded, bagels toasted, coffee brewed, bed made, and dog pooped, and that was only if the diaper hadn’t leaked. On the frequent occasion that she was covered in pee and Jon had to take a few extra minutes to change her clothes, I could wallpaper the living room and mow the lawn.”
There are about, oh, at least a dozen more I could add here, but who the hell has the time? Just read the book. Good stuff.