To the new Moms: It’s okay to cry!

When Luigi was not more than a month old, there were nights that he wouldn’t stop crying. I nursed him, carried him, sang him a lullaby. No dice. I felt like such a bad mother, not knowing how to calm my own baby down. I was afraid I was doing something wrong, mad at myself for not knowing what to do, confused and overall, helpless. During those times, I would burst into tears and just sob my heart out. Eventually the baby would calm down. It wasn’t colic, he wasn’t hungry, I don’t know what it was! All I remember now is that he stopped crying after awhile. Each incident probably took only about ten minutes but from my recollection, they sure seemed much longer.

Other times, I’d be okay. The baby would cry in the middle of the night and I’d get up, nursing him, singing to him till he went back to sleep. But I was tired, so very tired.

There’s this one moment I remember clearly. Midnight became three a.m. Three a.m. became dawn. Luigi didn’t seem to want to stop nursing! Eventually I saw the sun rising, and I wondered, Why is this scene so familiar? I realized that the last time I saw the sun rise was in my much younger days, when I’d get home really late (well, really early the next day) from a night out with friends. Then I felt even more tired, even though I found the contrast in seeing the sun rise a little funny. Once Luigi finally got to sleep though, I’d sob my tiredness out.

I’m writing about this because I’d like my fellow new Moms to know this — crying during those first few weeks is normal. It’s normal to feel helpless during those first weeks. It’s normal to be confused, to be a bit paranoid about each sound the baby’s making. It’s normal to want to burst out into tears. You’re tired, and crying is one way for your body to release the stress. Your hormones are wonky too, as the body’s still adjusting post-pregnancy. There there, fellow new Mom, it’s okay to cry.

My friend Cristina gave me a heads up on this crying while we were talking over the phone. She said there would be moments like this. I was hoping it wouldn’t happen to me, but I’m glad I listened to her. My expectations were managed better, and I didn’t feel alone.

A strong support system helped ease the tears too. Whenever I would feel the waterworks coming, I’d tell my husband, “I’m going to cry okay? Just let me be. I don’t need any solutions or advice. I just need to let it out.” Men have this knee-jerk reaction to solve things when presented with a problem, I’ve observed. The first times I cried, my husband naturally gave me tons of pep talk. They didn’t always work though, and eventually we both learned it was all right if I just cried it out, and he sat by me. Having him by my side was enough to help me feel better.

Over time, the sobbing sessions disappeared. Over time I became more in tune with my baby’s cries, knowing immediately what he needed. Over time my confidence grew, and there were no more tears. No more tears from the baby, no more tears from me.

So new Moms, it’s okay to cry it out. If, however, you don’t feel any better or are having ill thoughts about the baby and those around you, see your doctor. Having the baby blues is different from postpartum depression. Crying it out is normal but only to a certain degree.

Overall, crying during those early helpless moments doesn’t make you less of a Mom. Let the tears out, let the stress out. You’ll feel so much better!
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