"She saved many lives through her authorship on depression, but in the end, could not save herself," her grieving partner wrote.
Trigger Warning: This article contains details of alcoholism and death by suicide that may be distressing to readers.
Heather Armstrong, who blogged about struggles with motherhood, and depression on her website dooce.com died by suicide at the age of 47. According to her boyfriend, Pete Ashdown, Armstrong relapsed into alcoholism after remaining sober for more than 18 months. "Heather B. Hamilton (Armstrong) was a brilliant, funny, compassionate writer who struggled with mental health and alcoholism. She saved many lives through her authorship on depression, but in the end, could not save herself," Ashdown told ABC News in a statement.
"She was a loving companion and mother who was always open for a new adventure or concert." Ashdown continued, "Heather believed that ending her life was wrong, but in the end, her judgment was clouded by alcohol. She was loved and will be deeply missed." Heather Armstrong's death was also confirmed on Instagram on Wednesday. "Heather Brooke Hamilton aka Heather B. Armstrong aka Dooce aka love of my life. July 19, 1975 - May 9, 2023. 'It takes an ocean not to break.' Hold your loved ones close and love everyone else," Ashdown captioned a photograph of his late partner.
Her raw humor and vulnerability inspired other women to open up about their own struggles. Armstrong shared children Marlo, 13, and Leta, 19, with ex-Jon Armstrong, who was also her business partner until their 2012 divorce, per PEOPLE.
According to The Washington Post, Armstrong was candid about difficult topics like postpartum depression and alcoholism. She was also open about how she felt about parenting and made it clear that it was no easy feat. She even broke taboos about religion, sharing her story of how she left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint. She was fondly called “the queen of the mommy bloggers” by everyone, per The New York Times.
Armstrong was different from other bloggers, especially at the time. “You got really sanitized parenting magazines and baby books and things that did not tell you the truth about the experience of motherhood. The whole domain of media around parenting was male-dominated, and when it focused on women it was sanitized. … [Armstrong] used her platform to completely destigmatize issues like postpartum depression, divorce, and all these things we totally take for granted now,” she added.
In 2009 she released her memoir, It Sucked and then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown and a Much Needed Margarita. "I have no problem saying what some people are afraid to say," Armstrong previously told Good Morning America. "Like motherhood is really, really difficult. Sometimes it's really unpleasant and sometimes you turn around and you're like, 'What did I do to my life?' A lot of the women that read my Website want to be able to say that and need and are feeling that and want someone to talk to just to work through it," she said.
Heather Armstrong, an explosively popular writer who, under the name Dooce, gave millions of readers intimate glimpses of her joys and challenges in parenthood and marriage, as well as of her harrowing struggles with depression, has died at 47. https://t.co/ptxwZLRulr pic.twitter.com/qMXTrVLnZd— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 10, 2023
If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is, please contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Andrew H. Walker