Speed Reads

rest in peace

Pioneering mommy blogger Heather Armstrong dies at 47

Heather Armstrong, founder of Dooce.com, one of the first mommy blogs, died Tuesday in Salt Lake City. She was 47.

Armstrong's boyfriend, Pete Ashdown, told The Associated Press she died by suicide.

Armstrong started her blog in 2001 while working at a tech start-up. In her 2009 memoir It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita, Armstrong said she was fired from that job after her employer discovered the blog. Not long after, she became pregnant with her first child, and the blog exploded with popularity as she wrote about parenting and relationships, and later divorce, alcoholism, and mental illness. At her blog's peak, it had more than 8 million monthly readers, AP reports, and The New York Times Magazine crowned her the "Queen of the Mommy Bloggers."

During college, Armstrong was diagnosed with chronic depression, and in 2019, she wrote about a clinical trial she took part in that placed her in a chemically-induced coma for 15 minutes, 10 times. "I was feeling like life was not meant to be lived," Armstrong told Vox. "When you are that desperate, you will try anything. I thought my kids deserved to have a happy, healthy mother and I needed to know that I had tried all options to be that for them."

Author Roxane Gay tweeted that it was "shocking" to learn of Armstrong's death, adding, "It's hard to put into words just how influential she was to the blogosphere. I hope she is at peace, and that her children and loved ones are finding solace where they can."