There’s a side effect to motherhood that no-one tells you about and that is all the crying. Not the baby. You. 

Sure, you expect to get weepy and emotional when you’re pregnant. It’s the damn hormones. ‘They’ even warn you to expect the ‘baby blues’ to cause unpredictable weeping a few days after the baby is born as these same hormones settle back down. I was still in hospital at this stage, hobbling around after a C-Section, struggling with breast feeding and wracked with guilt that my newborn had to be wheeled away for antibiotics twice a day. (I’m not sure why I felt that it was my fault, but I did.) I cried so much that week I’m surprised I wasn’t treated for dehydration. 

However, that’s not the crying I’m talking about. It’s the other sort, the crying that creeps up on you when you’re not expecting it. 

I’m not saying I was a tough cookie before having children. I cried watching ET like most people. Hard hitting stories on Children in Need and Comic Relief would leave me in a mess. But I didn’t cry at 30 second TV adverts like I do now. 

Even happy stories involving people I don’t know can get me started. My husband doesn’t understand when I cry at the sight of someone winning a race or performing a song. He looks at me in disbelief. “Are you crying at THIS?” he asks. I nod and sob, “I’m just thinking how proud their mum must be!”

At each stage of my children’s development there seem to be fresh opportunities for my tear ducts to kick into overdrive. The first time I tried to strap the baby seat into the car on my own I made a complete hash of it and spent the next 20 minutes wailing that I would never get the hang of it and would end up a prisoner in my own home. (The drama has always been there; just the tears are new.) 

I cried when I realised that breast feeding was going to be difficult to get the hang of (although, in my defence, part of that was actual physical pain) and then I cried again when, a year later, the breastfeeding stopped. I wept when the purées I had spent hours cooking and mashing were refused or spat out; despite everyone telling me that a ‘baby won’t starve itself’ I was terrified that mine might be the first recorded case. And don’t get me started on the first time the boy said “Mummy.” 

When William started school, I tried to prepare myself. I was determined to keep a happy smiling face as I waved at him from the school gates. I was doing really well until we turned to go and a two year old Scarlett started to cry, “I want my brubber!” Clutching her to me like an extra in made-for-TV film, I cried, “I want him too!” 

It’s beginning to dawn on me that this is not a temporary state. Becoming a parent has scratched the surface of my heart and it’s beyond repair. Before me, I see a life of waterproof mascara and handy packs of tissues. My children will see every milestone greeted by a blubbering mother. I am prepared to be a complete embarrassment as they learn to ride a bike, star in the school play, graduate from university. 

However, it’s not all bad news. According to popular science, the fact that we cry is one of the reasons women live longer. Which means, with the frequency of my sobs, that I’ll probably be around, still crying, by the time I have great great grandchildren.  



2 thoughts on “Crying

  1. great post. I totally agree. I am ashamed to say I keep crying at the various versions of the facebook advert on TV where they describe the reasons why you become friends with people. I am beyond rescue!


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