Pregnancy Diary Week 21: Crying
So, it turns out it is OK to cry uncontrollably during a pregnancy yoga class. I must point out that it should be OK to cry pretty much anywhere when you are pregnant. There should be signs up that say this and leaflets handed out to all women of child bearing age. And to men, to help them cope. It's OK to sob like a baby when you are growing one, because it's bloody hard work. So you need to cut yourself some slack and others need to do the same. This is particularly important for me to remind myself of as totally losing my shit emotionally is not unusual for me at the moment. Recently, I have found myself weeping excessively at a range of different things. I have sobbed after accidentally dropping and smashing a plate; when hearing the news that my friend is also pregnant; when remembering a late colleague during a work meeting; when reading about the London marathon runner who helped another runner over the finish line when he collapsed 200 metres out; at the mere mention of kittens; at a suicide attempt storyline on Broadchurch; at the lyrics of “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman; when my son lobbed his lovingly homemade chicken casserole across the room; at the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester. Some of these things are of course painfully, horrifically sad, but some of them are not. It’s sometimes those that get to you the most as they take you by surprise and overwhelm you with feeling that has nowhere to go but out. Like a shaken lemonade bottle when the lid is taken off. I can't even articulate fully what set me off today but I think it was a combination of exhaustion and feeling overcome with a cocktail (virgin of course) of emotions, both positive and negative, which surfaced during a particularly poignant yoga practice. And it was full on crying. There was snot. I had to mop the yoga mat after returning from taking a moment outside. Seriously. Obviously hormones have some part to play here. But also pregnancy can throw a lot at you. There can be a great deal to cope with physically, a lot to plan for and do, and enormous amounts of change, on top of usual daily life. I think we are programmed to believe that we have to cope with everything life throws at us, particularly when it is something overridingly positive like pregnancy. However, sometimes thinking that we should be feeling a certain way only heightens our uncertainty or guilt or vulnerability, and can make us feel a whole lot worse. The ethos of yoga has really helped me with this, both during pregnancy and at other times. It encourages awareness that can help you to acknowledge feelings of all different kinds, process them and accept them, rather than fighting to suppress them. Yes it can be embarrassing when your eyes are all red and your face is covered in snot, when your voice becomes shaky and you’re struggling to catch your breath. Maybe one of those awkward squeaks or snorts sneaks out when you’re desperately trying to hold everything in and you want to crawl under a table and hide. The thing is, when we see others who are upset, the first thing we feel is usually compassion, it’s not judgement or anger or negativity. When our children are distressed we go to them with comfort and empathy and tell them it’s OK to cry, but we don’t always do that for ourselves. And I think we could all do with cutting ourselves some slack. I am sometimes overwhelmed by a mantra used in yoga because its sentiment is so powerful, so positive and so comforting: “I am enough. I do enough. I have enough.” And I remind myself of this today when feeling like I’m not. Because I am pregnant and I am doing a great job and sometimes doing a great job just means getting through each day.