Before I had children I used to cry. All the time. At anything. My husband and I had rarely had an argument because as soon as one developed I would cry and he’d feel like he couldn’t say anything more. I’d cry at films, I’d put certain ones on (‘The Notebook’ mainly!) just to have a good cry and get it out of my system if I felt a bit sad (or hormonal)!
But now I feel like I physically can’t cry. Like my brain is wired different and my body works in a different way too.
When I had my son I was beyond happy. (Once my husband found me sitting, sobbing, staring at this tiny newborn baby, because I couldn’t believe how much I loved him- see I told you I cried at everything!) But he was a tough baby. He didn’t sleep. Like, barely at all. We had a tough time establishing breastfeeding. Though once established he was rarely off them. He drained me, physically and emotionally. I wouldn’t have it any other way- that’s just the baby he was and I would do it again in a heartbeat because he needed that from me, but it was bloody hard.
He hit the terrible twos at 15 months and used to kick and scream- and there’s no reasoning with a child that young. There were days I would strap him in the car seat kicking and screaming and climb in the front, and sob and drive aimlessly around with no where to go. Friends had plans, family were too far away. In those moments I felt like I had no one. Like no one could see how hard it was, and like no one cared.
Fast forward 3 years and my son is 4 and his ‘baby’ sister is soon to be 2. From the outside not much is different, family still more than an hour’s drive away and the same support network. But I rarely cry. Not because I’ve got it sussed, and not because it’s any easier. But because no one came. (There was no one to come). Because crying didn’t help.
Instead I get cross. When I get stressed out I shout and the kids. and I shout at my husband. I never used to be a cross, shouty person. ‘Patient’ would have been one of those key words I would have proudly put on my CV. But it’s like it’s all been knocked out of me.
So while on the outside I might look more capable, more self-sufficient, I’m the same inside, I’ve just learnt not to show it.
And do you know what just occurred to me: if that’s how my brain has reacted to no one coming when I, a fully grown adult, cried. Then what do we think happens to tiny babies when they’re left to cry alone.