It's my pregnancy and I'll cry if I want to

By Published On: December 7th, 2011

Written by: Rachel December 07 2011 For a good part […]

Written by: Rachel

For a good part of my adolesence and even through college, Ithought something must be off with my crying genes. Maybe Iwas short one?Or maybe Iwas a double recessive? Because Imean, sure, I cried if something happened to me—like when a boy broke my heart or Igot into a fight with my parents or I fell off the top step of my back deck (for example), but when it came to crying at movies, or welling up in sympathy with a friend whose dog died, Igot nada. Zilch. Dry eyes for miles.

Then I got pregnant. And it became very clear very fast that my sneaky sob-at-all-the-things gene was actually just laying in wait, killing time keeping me stoic until it was hit with the whammy of mom hormones. I remember the day I came home from the hospital with Noah, sitting at the dinner table eating, cradle with (peacefully sleeping) newborn in the next room, probably 15 feet away. Halfway through a bite of chicken casserole, I lost it. I went from zero to Ugly Cry in five seconds flat, tears dripping onto the tablecloth and into my lap. Luke and my mom looked at each other uneasily and then my mom finally ventured a, “What's wrong?” Through gulps and heaves, I stuttered, “He's j-j-just so f-f-far away!” The baby. Who was asleep. And close enough that Icould practically hear him breathing. So they slid the cradle over next to the table and I pulled myself together, sniffling and wiping my nose on my sleeve through the rest of the meal.

Oh man, it's Luke and baby Noah. Here come the waterworks.

What the heck, body? And it's only gotten worse with subsequent pregnancies. I always thought people were being dramatic when they said commercials made them tear up (ditto people who said they fell asleep between their contractions, but Ihave witnessed this and declare it truth), scoffing at such obvious malarky. Oh, but then. Then the weepy gene was turned on and now Ihave a box of tissues at the ready, just in case this comes on TV in the middle of What Not to Wear or Jersey Shore. (The dad with the face!And the son!And the everything!Gah!)

Noah and baby Rosie. Excuse me, I seem to have something in my eye.

Ialso have trouble recently with things that aren't really even that touching, which is embarrassing. For example, I struggle through Noah's Friday morning assemblies, where the whole auditorium of kids sings a rousing version of the school song and says the pledge in English and in Spanish. Something about all those little fresh-faced Kindergarten through third graders, eager and bouncing in their seats with excitement, happy it's the end of the week, voices raised with pride for their school makes me choke up, right there on the linoleum under the fluorescent lights. Ihave to hustle out at the end past all the other non-tear-streaked parent faces to save my reputation.

Do you see what Iam dealing with here?I cannot blog under these conditions.

By far the worst offense though, came one day a week or two ago when Ihappened to be watching Ellen. You know, The Ellen Degeneres Show. Not a typical tear-jerker. But I have mighty powers of emotion that break all stereotypes!On this particular episode, Ellen was pulling one of her usual pranks, and it happened to involve the craft store Michaels, so when the bit was over and the audience's laughter had died down, she gave a quickendorsement of the store and then announced, “And everyone in the audience gets a $100 gift card to Michaels!” And as the audience squealed in delight, Igot all lump-throated and I'll be darned if a tear didn't form, right at the corner of my eye. You guys, IDON'TEVENLIKETOCRAFT. My propensity to cry has officially reached ridiculous proportions.

Ok, just stop it. Now I'm all puffy-eyed.

Iwould close with a nice reassurance that the crying goes away and all goes back to normal after pregnancy and postpartum, but if we're going by my experience, it looks more like women who are historically non-criers become criers with their first pregnancy and get increasingly sobbier with every pregnancy thereafter. I shudder to think what happens to people who were born with a working crying gene from the get-go. My guess is after they get pregnant they don't watch television. Or go to elementary school events. Or … look at anything? All Iknow is that this former non-crier won't be turning on The Ellen Degeneres Show anytime soon. She might be planning to give away gift certificates to Home Depot next, and Idon't know if my fragile-flowered constitution could take it.