I wouldn’t say I was excessively emotional before having a baby. I cried what I would consider to be a normal amount and at normal things, for example sad films, when something difficult or upsetting happened or when I was really passionate about something or overtired.
Then I gave birth. I remember there were a few days after giving birth where I still felt like a sane person and was in control of my emotions. But day three hit, my milk came in, and I turned into an emotional wreck and have never looked back (holds head in hands).
I remember a friend whose baby is two weeks older than mine telling me the crying had stopped four weeks in and I thought there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Sure enough, a few weeks later I had a sob-free day. But the crying was far from over. Now it has evolved from relentless all day tears to sporadic outbursts of ‘I can’t catch my breath’ cries (fun).
I still cry at the things I used to but have added a whole new repertoire of things I get upset about. And it’s not always the things you would expect. I actually find it quite funny when my son poos through three layers of clothing (which is a good job as those who have read my other blogs know that if crapping was an Olympic sport my boy would be in the prime spot for gold).
Instead it’s things like worrying about whether I’m doing a good enough job as a Mum, which is probably to be expected, to the the less usual crying because I can’t get the biscuits open to the bordering on outrageous sobbing because I can’t butter bread with one hand (nobody can – it’s physically impossible and not worth crying about so don’t ask me why I did!) and because I have cabbage sticking out of my bra. It seems there is no limit to what I’ll shed a tear for these days.
I’ve accumulated a list of some of the things that have cropped up that have had me in floods.
- Food – namely not being able to get to it. From it being on a high shelf or too far over on the side table that I couldn’t stretch to while balancing the baby on one boob, to packets that won’t open with one hand, to foods that you can’t eat with one hand (spaghetti, steak, Yorkshire pudding, rice), you name it and I’ve cried over it. I can hardly be surprised when my 11-week old son screams because he wants milk and does not want to wait for it. I have genetically pre-instilled in him a love of food and a raging hunger that nobody should mess with. The withholding of food is akin to sleep deprivation in the torture stakes for me.
- Spilt milk – I now know where the cliche comes from. It definitely started because of a woman who pumped milk only to knock it all over the floor. Or a woman who woke up to find her top and the bed sheets soaked in milk. Or a woman who, after breastfeeding the baby in public for the first time, had to wear a muslin cloth over herself for the rest of the day to avoid looking like she was entering a wet t-shirt competition – and that’s frowned upon in M&S on a Thursday afternoon. Yes ladies and gents, these things all happened to me and I cried about all of them. And if anyone had dared use the ‘don’t cry’ cliche to me in any one of those events, they might have ended up with some poured over their head for good measure (nah not really – that would’ve made me cry even more about wastage).
- Because I felt out of sorts – I woke up feeling tired (standard), groggy and a bit restless. In ordinary life I would have laid in bed watching tv or gone out but neither of these things were options so instead I sat and cried.
- Because I cried – yes after crying because I felt restless I then cried because I didn’t know why I was crying (FFS!). I’ve cried quite a lot because I didn’t know why I was crying come to think of it. Maybe I should just stop crying!
- I thought my boobs were going to explode – any woman who has had mastitis will attest to the pain. I was lying in front of the fire, shivering uncontrollably, clutching my boulder boobs and repeating to myself “Get it together for fuck’s sake – you got through labour!!” I googled “can your boobs explode from mastitis” and the general consensus seemed to be ‘no’ but it could have just been one of those things that nobody talks about (like how your waters don’t just go but continue to go and go with every contraction so you feel like you’ve permanently wet yourself for the rest of your labour. That was a nice surprise when I’d already been in labour for three days). Anyway, they didn’t explode but they had a bloody good go and we got several days of crying out of that one (and again when it came back…and again when it came back again).
- I couldn’t get the pram in the car. I’m pretty sure that it’s men who design prams and car seats as I just can’t see how any woman would create something that nobody can lift without a forklift truck and doesn’t fit into 90% of cars. Our pram needs its own trailer to get it from a to b. We may as well tie it to the back of the car and pull it along as a replacement trailer come to think if it. And it wasn’t even the biggest option available. There was one occasion where I’d gone to the local shopping centre and just could not get the chassis back into the boot. It later turned out the handle clipped down further but in the meantime I’d practically bashed a dint in the back of my car, thrown the chassis onto the backseat, vowed never to go out again until the baby could walk unaided and cried all the way home.
- I hated my hair. In a fit of I don’t know what I’m doing, I can’t cope and I look like shit rage, I chopped off the long side fringe I’d spent my entire pregnancy growing into a full fringe and then cried because not only had I made a mess of it but I also didn’t like it.
- The baby cried. And cried and cried. There have been some days when I’ve tried everything repeatedly and he still cried and there was nothing left to do but join in. We were like a singing duo, wailing along to our own tune. I’ll admit I’m a little (ahem a lot) competitive and I was trying to outcry him. It seems he’s competitive too. And stubborn (don’t know where he gets that from…) and he has more energy than me so I was never going to win. My husband did give me a look that was pure confusion as though he wasn’t sure whether to join in, take the baby away or envelop us both in a big cuddle (he did both of the last two even on the occasions when I stormed away and hid in the bedroom under a pile of pillows).
- The baby stopped crying. Right when someone other than me picked him up. This of course made me feel like a great Mum. Or someone else would get him to sleep. I thought he hated me so I tried even harder to get him to like me and cried even harder when he didn’t. Fortunately the little monkey saved his first smile for me. And held his arms out for the first time for me. And he looks into my eyes with what I can now tell is love. So now I just cry because he sometimes doesn’t like me, but more often because I know he definitely loves his Mummy, and out of pride at this gorgeous boy giving me a big gummy grin.
- Because I was just so happy. Despite all my ramblings and bitching, I cried the most on the day we brought our boy home and it was out of total happiness. Getting pregnant and getting to the point of having the baby had been a long road for us and there was no other baby so desperately wanted as this little boy. We got home from hospital and I couldn’t stop. I was just so proud and elated to have our baby back home safe and well. I couldn’t stop looking at him, cuddling him, smelling him (that sounds weird but seriously this baby’s head smells so damn amazing) and I bawled my eyes out. And when I think back to that day and see his little face now grinning at me I want to cry all over again.
Please Mums – don’t leave me in suspense – say I’m not the only one that this shit has happened to!! What else have other new Mums blubbed about?