The benefits of crying: sometimes a cry is exactly what you need!
The benefits of crying… where to begin
So for those that have been following us on Instagram or have been reading our blogs for a while. You will have noticed that Freddy was promoted to big brother nine months ago. Let me tell you, juggling a baby and a toddler is a whole new ball game.
Reaching breaking point: What led me to this belief
When Freddy was a baby, he was a shocking sleeper for the first four months. Wouldn’t self-settle, would only sleep for 20 mins at a time and always fed to sleep. At about the five months mark I reached breaking point. Sleep deprivation was killing me slowly, I was tired, irritable and not my usual happy self – it also turned out I’d developed thyroid disease but that’s a whole different story. A good cry helped me to feel better and decide on a path. To sleep train Freddy and work on a routine. Turns out he’s a kid that thrives on routine. Within 24hours he was self-settling because I was feeding him and getting him down at the right time, like clockwork and to this day is a great sleeper.
Baby number 2:
Along comes baby number 2. The early days with PJ were a dream.
I wasn’t panicking all the time about feeding him or checking his breathing in the middle of the night. And I didn’t need to rock or feed him to sleep. But somewhere along the four-month mark things changed. The dreaded four-month sleep regression hit, and I found feeding him to sleep was the only thing working at night. However, he still self-settled during the day. The problem was unlike with Freddy I’m finding creating a routine near impossible. This time I have a toddler to juggle and a teenager (my nephew moved in). Suddenly, I have a million things on and PJ kind of just goes happily with the flow. It seems like he has decided night time is when he gets my undivided attention so he wakes up several times and can be awake for hours. So now I’m sleep deprived again, busy and starting to feel the frustration and emotions moving in.
Don’t get me wrong, my husband and my teenager have been great and are constantly trying to help. And in fact, my husband is a pro at putting Freddy to bed and can rock PJ to sleep like nobody’s business. But the middle of the night is my time… Plus there is something incredibly lonely about spending two hours in the middle of the night trying to settle a baby on your own.
Fast forward to Monday just gone. I finally reached that breaking point again. Over the last few months Patrick had cut four teeth, had a cold and a virus that gave him fevers for four days. Up until a couple of days ago I hadn’t had more than a few hours of sleep at a time for months and I was exhausted. So, I did what any desperate mama feels like doing. I found my quiet place (in the shower) and I sat and cried. Now this doesn’t sound productive but let me tell you I felt a hell of a lot better so clearly there was some benefits of crying.
The Benefits of crying:
Sometimes we just feel better after a good cry. In fact, research is now supporting this idea that there are health benefits of crying. Judith Orloff M.D. a professor at UCLA explains in her new book that emotional tears have lots of health benefits. There is a reason that we often feel that emotional tears act as a stress valve for frustrations, sadness, anger and even happiness. Apparently reflex tears are 98% water while emotional tears contain hormones and other toxins that accumulate at times of stress, namely chemicals that trigger your body to create cortisol the stress hormone. So, by having a good cry we are releasing these nasties from our bodies. Studies are now exploring the idea that emotional crying also triggers the production of endorphins the ‘feel good hormone’ in the body.
Some other surprising benefits include cleansing your eyes and removing any build ups on the eye or lash surfaces. Improvements in vision due to lubricating your eyes. Finally, antibacterial properties as tears can contain lysozyme a natural antibacterial enzyme produced in the body.
And for the record, the night after my cry, PJ slept for 10 hours straight. Go figure!
So Mamas and Papas there you have it, sometimes we all need to blow off steam and have a good cry to help refresh us and help us to tackle another day. If you’re not already part of our Facebook community and Instagram page make sure you jump on. It’s a safe place to share pics, stories, anecdotes and meet some other mamas (and dad’s and grandparents) in the same boat.