Do you find why, when and what we cry about intriguing?
Crying is our earliest way to communicate our needs, from the first moment of our lives we cry, probably surprised at moving from the world in utero to the huge expanse of life that awaits us.
Of course the 1st few wails and the breaths that accompany the first few moments after we are born form a vital biological function in closing the hole in the septum of the heart, opening the lungs and establishing the bodies circulation. Our heartbeat and breathing are therefore linked, forever together until we die.
Before we can verbalise our needs and until we are around 2 years old we communicate our needs through crying. We cry if we are hot or cold, hungry or thirsty, over stimulated or lonely, frightened, scared, in pain or need to be comforted. Our cry is pitched at such a level that makes it difficult for the adults who care for us to resist responding to what we need.
If we are fortunate we have parents who are patient and tune into our cries and the pattern of our life rhythms and remain calm and accept our distress and learn ways to soothe us. They accept the crying, try to find out what's bothering us, and address our needs. If we are fortunate our parents don't see our crying as being a judgement on their abilities or evoke their anger when the crying goes on all night.
Infants crying does evoke many emotions in their parents. Those with children know something of a continuously crying baby, awake all night, nothing sees to help and eventually taking them into bed where they settle.
As we grow through infancy, childhood, teenage and adulthood we cry less and less as we have other ways to get our needs met, we can ask or get what we need for ourselves. As we get older crying becomes less and less socially acceptable, well meaning parents start to tell us to stop crying, don't make a fuss, "You're a big girl/boy, and big girls/boys don't cry".
We can become self-conscious about crying in public "what will people think of me?" and suppress our need to cry and judge ourselves as weak and become ashamed of "being emotional".
We deny ourselves the healing power of crying which connects us back to childhood. We can express such different emotions when we cry of course sadness and loss, but also joy and happiness and sometimes these emotions join and mingle together. Crying can feel bittersweet at times.
When was the last time you cried? Why and what did you cry about?