cry baby

by humanmama on November 14, 2006


Have you ever seen the movie “Cry Baby” from the 80’s? It was on at a sleepover I was invited to in 6th grade, and although I didn’t see much of it I do remember a scene where the heroine and her man (okay, I’m kind-of making this up) break up and she’s so sad that she saves her tears in a glass canning jar.

I’m not a “crier.” I don’t cry at weddings, seldomly at funerals (unless it’s someone I know really well), and rarely even at times when it’s something you should do–such as when Ben proposed to me. He got down on a knee, he asked, he cried. All I did was shout “OF COURSE!” and call the family. Anyway, it was with great concern that I began my 5-(-or-more)-month cry fest after having Helena. At first I didn’t realize it had gotten so bad…until I found myself one day walking Helena in the hallway (she was about a month old) at night, us both crying at the top of our lungs. Ben heard me over the a/c and came running, but it was then that I noticed…something is definitely different.

Is it hormones? Is it healing from a terrible labor and delivery (for you; for me, just 4 hours of pushing and then a c-section…ahh…)? Or is it the incredible stress that comes from raising another human being who relies on you for pretty much every possible need and want?

Hmm.

I always tell new moms, and they agree, that there should be a book with the stuff they don’t tell you. Because even the books that claim “we tell you even the stuff that they don’t tell you!” don’t tell you. In fact, I am beginning to think that there’s an incredible conspiracy with women all over the world to keep the human population growing that goes like this: the first 3 months following labor are so incredibly horrifyingly hard, stressful, scary, confusing, and tiring. And you’re thinking the whole time, “oh my! As soon as I heal my wazoo and manage to learn how to get this baby into the carseat into the car by myself and pack up the diaper bag with toys, wipes, extra diapers, and my wallet, I will get out of this house and warn the rest of the women out there!” But the real kicker is that by the time you have recovered from all of that the baby is 3 months old and you’re wierdly in love with him or her and have already gone to Sears or JC Penny or The Picture People to get his or her photo taken and have already ordered 46 wallet size likenesses, …by now you have forgotten how hard that time was, and say things to your friends later like “Oh, yeah, that was pretty rough! Haha! But I remember how cute she was! And how little! Ohh! I…” (and this is the sickest of all) “…miss that time!” And the cycle continues.

Now, just for posterity, I would like to add that it is for this very reason why God made it so men do not carry babies. Men can be really loving and fantastic. But no man would go through that for another human being. This is what would happen: one man would do it and say “Dudes! Don’t do it!! That totally SUCKED!” and all men would vow to never become pregnant, and the human race would die out. Oh, BUT you can BET insurance would cover the entire cost of birth control…

Anyway, it’s amazing, this mommy thing. Because although it’s so hard, you just love them so much. You do, for the new moms out there, and it doesn’t always come quickly… but it does come. At first you’re so overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of what you have just done and what is still to be done that seems pretty insurmountable. But then, slowly, you come to realize that it’s not that bad, and it does get better, and then she or he will smile at you or roll over or laugh a little throaty “huuh huuh” and you’ll think, okay, I can do this. But it doesn’t make it easier. It just makes it worthwhile.

And, while you’re thinking about how worthwhile it is, let me offer you my canning jar. You’ll need to save those tears for later: you don’t have time to cry now! You have a baby!

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