Friday, August 5, 2011

The Crying Game

I was reading this article the other day ( and was a little irritated.  The research study discussed in the article (which, in my opinion, has some glaring flaws in methodology that no one is talking about) is being cited all over the news media as proof that crying doesn’t make a person feel better.  I call B--- S---!  Sometimes crying makes you feel a lot better.

I can’t tell you how many times I went numb during the infertility process, wishing I could cry about my pain and disappointment.  I craved crying because holding the pain in, while sometimes necessary, was exhausting.  Talking to supportive friends and/or a therapist was probably a better long term fix for my negative feelings than a bawl-fest, but sometimes a long term fix is unfathomable.  Sometimes I just needed a good cry to lift that emotional weight crushing down on my chest, to get rid of the persistent lump in my throat, and to remind me that I was alive and I was okay.

Now that I am pregnant, I cry all the time…but it’s not real crying.  When watching America’s Got Talent last week, I had The Prince in stitches because I cried at every performance…either because the good performances were “so moving” or because I felt sorry for the bad performers.  That kind of crying is just hormone-crying, and that isn’t the type of crying I’m talking about.  I’m talking about the type of crying I experienced last night.

Last night, The Prince and I got into a huge argument…something we haven’t done in a long time.  Without going into the gory details, there were a lot of things said (by both of us) that shouldn’t have been said (I even dropped an “F--- You!”…something that I think has no place in a “fair” argument and which I have since apologized for).  There was very little productive conversation between the two of us…just nastiness sprinkled with some venting. 

I ended up crying hysterically (and I am not exaggerating about “hysterically”) for almost two hours, even though the argument lasted about 20 minutes.  The crying included choking, broken blood vessels in my face and neck because I couldn’t catch my breath and some throwing up.  The crying only stopped when I had worn myself out and there were no more tears to shed.

And…in hindsight…I realize that’s just what I needed.  I know how sick that probably sounds, but that cry was like wringing out a sponge filled with all of the frustration, fear and anxiety I had been collecting for months.  The cry was ugly and brutal, and I certainly don’t want to do that on a regular basis.  But last night, I slept like a baby for the first time in weeks.  No bad dreams.  No laying awake with anxiety about the pregnancy, my mothering abilities or my relationships.  Just lovely sleep.  I woke up refreshed and had an incredibly productive day at work. My mood is improved.  I’m not stressed or anxious.  I’m more focused and I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.

I suppose it is possible that I’m just weird and I enjoy a good cry more than the average gal.  But I find that hard to believe (not the “weird” part…just the being in the minority part).  I am concerned that the study cited above is going to bolster the whole “thinking positive thoughts will cause positive things to happen…but allowing yourself to indulge negative thoughts or crying will only bring more negative things into your life” movement.  (Those who go to my fertility center will know just what I am talking about here… “Raise those vibrations”).  Positive thinking is great…but acknowledging and really feeling the hurt and sadness of life circumstances is an equally important endeavor….and crying is one of our bodies’ ways of acknowledging those emotions.  I don’t like the idea of women feeling like they should not allow themselves a good cry because research has shown it won’t help.  Maybe it won’t help…but maybe it will.  Crying isn’t harmful, so why not let the waterworks flow when it feels right?

That’s just my take on it.  (And I should, in the interest of full disclosure, let you know that “Cry Baby” was one of my nicknames when I was a little girl…so I may be biased about this subject).  What do you think?


meant to be a mom said...

I gotta say, I think it's grossly unfair for some research article to claim crying isn't beneficial, when whether or not it is helpful clearly depends on an individual basis. I myself have enjoyed many a cathartic cry (usually after a BFN). While it certainly doesn't erase all the pain, I do feel a sense of relief in purging such emotions - just my two cents. :)

Willow said...

I agree with you--crying can be a great release, and sometimes it's the only way you can react when things are really bad! I think our society already discourages crying a lot (don't be a crybaby, keep a stiff upper lip, etc), so I worry that a study insisting it has no benefits will just make people feel forced to bottle up their emotions even more. Not cool!

Elaine said...

I agree crying is really good. Growing up a friend of mine and myself would get together once a month and talk about all our fears and worries and cry all night long. I know it sounds strange but it really helped with my anxiety. We would talk about what it would feel like to meet the love of our lives and get married, how we would feel when we had our first child, right through to when we lost our parents and other loved ones. My friends father died when we were teenagers and she grieved but I think it was a lot easier knowing she already faced that fear before it came. So I say talk it out and cry it out it cleans the soul out.
However on a side note I know all relationships will have fights and ups and downs, but I hope that you two talked it out after calming down and in the future will work to find better ways to get through your frustrations and disagreements. That way you don't have to worry about having that added stress or the increased blood pressure.

New Year Mum said...

I agree... crying is so therapeutic. I always feel better the next day. Love to you and bub always xoxo