Tag Archives: motherhood

Not Becoming My Mother – Ruth Reichl

Just in time for Mother’s Day! Who says I am not organized or timely?

I have read Reichl’s other memoirs, and enjoyed them – both her writing and her stories of being a famous food critic. Unfortunately, this wasn’t that enjoyable.

Reichl has mentioned stories about her mom before, in affectionately called “Mim Tales” – but this book felt more like a task she had to complete, rather than a labor of love. It was short – I think a little less than 100 pages, and was really just her looking over notes and writings that her mom had left behind – both of her mother and her grandmother. It was about the bleakness of life for women of the “Greatest Generation” and seemed an ode to the importance of work outside the home for women. You learn later that Ruth and her mom were estranged, and only hints as to why, but this seems to be her own reconciling with the life her mom had, and why she is glad she had such a different life and outcome.  But – the book itself? Repititive, self-indulgent and just kind of melancholy.

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It Sucked and Then I Cried – Heather Armstrong

How I had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita

I have been reading Dooce.com for a few months now, and for most bloggers – “Dooce” is living the dream. Heather is a full-time blogger that makes enough money to support her family, and has recently written a book. The book doesn’t break any new ground, but is an accounting of the time period of her pregnancy and battle with post-partum depression. For a relatively new reader like me, I knew this existed and had glanced at the archives, so I don’t know if offered anything truly new, but it was a really engaging read.

I am please to report that Heather’s book-writing is a lot like her blog writing, and her voice is clear and personal. Her stories of pregnancy and all the things “no one ever tells you” is heartbreaking and terrifying and served as an excellent reminder to take my birth control medication. But her stories of how much she loves Leta make the whole thing seem worth it. Especially since even if I do have kids, and may eventually have to deal with post-partum depression, I wouldn’t have a regular history of chronic depression to contend with as well.

But, more than just an ode to motherhood – you realize that the true hero, in Heather’s eyes is her husband.  I have read a lot about mental illness, and the one thing I always come away with is how much it affects the people who love the patient. She holds her husband in high regard, and their love story is what remains, in my mind. Also, cute pictures of kids dressed up as frogs.

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