I have an annual cryfest to cleanse my emotional palate. Crying is a natural response to certain emotions or pain. Some of us cry a lot while others cry a little or hardly ever. Adrienne Bailon, a host from The Real, has a regularly scheduled cry to get things out of her system and create emotional space. Crying is healthy, but I have never been much of a crier.
I shed a tear at my wedding in 2016. My bridesmaids besties are sure to remind me of it. Since it was captured on camera, I can’t deny it. But, my tear trajectory would be transformed after I gave birth to my daughter, Malia Deanna, on May 4th, 2018.
Labor Was Crazy
My labor and delivery story is not the craziest—however, for me, it was intense and overwhelming. I spent weeks visualizing and meditating about the birth of my daughter. Her birth did not go as planned…at all. I cried every step of the way.
- I swore I went blind when the IV hit my vein.
- When the Pitocin seemed to be creating contractions I couldn’t handle, I was looking around for help.
- “If you don’t want a C-Section, you have twenty-four hours to have this baby.” Way to motivate a new mom, team! Several hours had already ticked by. The pressure was on, which also caused the tears to flow.
- Labor pain was incredible. I didn’t want to be a hero and got an epidural…only to cry some more because it was done incorrectly.
- When it wore off and it was too late to get more, my tears re-emerged.
- And then I cried even more because pushing for three hours was exhausting!
Whew, I was all cried out. When I heard my daughter’s first cry before she was placed on my chest for skin to skin time, I could not believe all the emotions I felt. I cried tears of joy and excitement because I was awestruck. I was impressed with this little miracle.
Cry, Cry Baby
The amount tears I have shed in the last seven weeks has been a surprise. Every day I cry for something! My ability to produce the water works on demand is amazing.
Breastfeeding was simply not working. Forced to use formula to help her gain weight when Malia was less than a week old, I bawled my eyes out. The spontaneous tears were like the ones from the cartoons. Exacerbated by exhaustion, I could have drowned in my own tears that day. My goal was to make food for my child and nourish her without supplementing. I could not.
The combination of formula and pumped breast milk set her on the right path. Within twenty-four hours, she was back to her birth weight. Guess what? I cried again!
I use the Milkie’s breast milk saver to capture every last drop. When she unlatched and I placed her in the Rock N’ Play, all of the liquid gold spilled, unbeknownst to me. It was time to pour my milk winnings into a bottle when I discovered an empty stash. I wept like I had lost big at the stock market. Believe it or not, I was crying over spilled milk! Who was I becoming? A cry baby. What else would provoke all these tears that continue to chase me everywhere I go?
My daughter loathes her car seat. She refused to stop crying on the way to my monthly lactation support group. I watched her in the car seat mirror and acknowledged there was not a whole lot I could do for her. So I joined her. Seeing all of her little tears gets to me. Every. Single. Time.
Each day presents a reason to embrace the tears. She cries when she is getting her diaper changed, getting dressed for the day, taking a bath, or wants more food after the pumped liquid gold has run out. I let her know she can take her tears with her.
Somewhere along the way I got some strange memo that crying was bad—a sign of weakness. But crying has multiple benefits. It makes us human, relieves stress, and remove toxins. I hope my daughter will have a different relationship with crying.
Now that I’m a mama, I have a new motto: It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to! In fact, I believe that tapping into the variety of emotional responses available helps me to be a better mom. I will keep momming to the best of my ability in these Milwaukee streets and take my tears with me.