Feisty blogger and relapsed Mormon Armstrong takes her no-holds-barred approach to life from screen to page as she dishes on the elation, transformation and despair that mark pregnancy, childbirth and parenting.
The author abandoned her rigid religious upbringing upon hitting adulthood in Los Angeles, where she developed a desire for Interpol, tequila, her husband Jon, cursing and eventually offspring. Pregnancy delivered Armstrong to the folds of Utah and the joy of her mother, here dubbed “The Avon World Sales Leader.” The Utah setting provides comic relief, as the author expatiates on her family’s five minivans and the mortal sin of bottle-feeding. Describing the period after daughter Leta was born, Armstrong occasionally interrupts her account to reprint letters she penned monthly to her budding baby. Tender yet mature in tone, these convey the miracles and catastrophes of motherhood from a perspective that contrasts interestingly with the day-to-day narrative, which reflects Armstrong’s blogger roots. Among the never-ending—and occasionally repetitive—string of incidents for which new parents are rarely prepared, she chronicles a colorful apology to a Starbucks cashier and a crazed hunt for a missing infant sock. Self-admittedly not a poster child for stability, the author chooses to give a leading role to her history with chronic depression rather than sweeping it under the rug. (Only her anatomy gets higher billing than her low spirits.) She’s forthcoming about the strain depression placed on her otherwise solid marriage and the fact that it sometimes impaired her capacity to care for Leta. Armstrong places herself on the chopping block so fellow mothers can follow her without guilt through such common experiences as the debate over pacifier abuse, the horror of hemorrhoids and the agonizing slowness of postpartum recovery.
A truthful picture of what it takes to bring a life into the world, exposing Achilles heels large and small.