My kitchen. I am sitting on the floor, crying.
Not pretty crying, like you sometimes see in movies. These tears didn’t silently trail down my cheeks while I stared out the window wistfully.
This crying came from deep down in my bones. My body was shaking uncontrollably. I could barely breathe. The tears just kept coming and coming in waves. Once the water works started, I couldn’t turn them off.
I cried about my morning, which didn’t go as planned. Best intentions sometimes still fail. A few extra minutes gained by waking up before my alarm did not result in more time. Instead, it resulted in an even more rushed and frantic exit when I tried to get Milly dressed and out the door for school.
I cried because I was up earlier than usual as a result of a sleepless night full of unsettling dreams combined with a slightly sick kid, snoring loudly in my ear and coughing directly into my face for a large part of the night.
I cried because I yelled at my daughter this morning, despite the fact that she is a little under the weather and feeling yucky, just because we were running late and I was stressed. I made her cry and she told me I scared her. Quite possibly one of the worst things I hear as a parent.
I cried because sometimes I feel like my daughter deserves a better mom than I am.
I cried because I was feeling less attractive, not just to my partner but in my own eyes, which is actually worse.
I cried because my body was feeling more awkward and stretched out and uncomfortable. My body was feeling less and less my own.
I cried because I felt like a terrible mother.
I cried because I felt like a terrible partner.
I cried because I felt completely at the mercy of raging hormones.
I cried because I am pregnant.
I cried for all of the women who can’t get pregnant, but would happily have this moment of pregnancy-related hysteria if it meant they could be pregnant.
I cried for all the things I am missing out on because of the timing of my pregnancy, including a retreat for female entrepreneurs that I was desperate to attend but couldn’t because of my responsibilities as a parent and the concerns of traveling at 34 weeks pregnant.
I cried about the sorry state of my house. The perennial mess that never seems to let up, no matter how much or how often I pick things up.
I cried over the endless piles of dishes in the sink; the endless baskets of laundry that require folding and putting away.
I cried about the adult decisions I have to make regularly.
I cried about the things I have to spend money on, but wish I didn’t.
I cried about the things I want to buy for myself, but really shouldn’t.
I cried for the friendships that have suffered in the past 3 years while I figured out how to take care of a child and simultaneously take care of myself.
I cried about my fears around becoming a mother of 2.
I cried over the very real truth that for most of the next year, I will be solo parenting a 3 year old and an infant.
I cried about the huge shifts that are on the way for me, for my partner, for our family.
I cried about the sacrifices I make on a daily basis that sometimes make me feel like I am losing important parts of myself.
I cried because it felt good to cry.
Finally, my tears came slower. My breath evened out. I pulled myself up from my puddle on the floor. I took a step and then another. And then another.
I realized that this probably wouldn’t be the last time I’d cry loudly and uncontrollably for 30 minutes straight on my kitchen floor. It wasn’t a comforting thought.
The I realized I probably wasn’t the first mom, or the first human being for that matter, who had cried loudly and uncontrollably for 30 minutes straight on her kitchen floor, and that WAS a comforting thought.
I realized that although crying was cathartic, it didn’t solve anything for me. Crying didn’t fix my problems or soothe my sorrows. Crying just allowed those problems, fears, sorrows, and frustrations to rise to the surface and be more visible. Crying helped me put some of my shit in perspective. It made some of the issues I’d felt so burdened by seem less big and overwhelming. It also made others feel very real, very immediate, and very raw.
Those deep, heavy, body shaking sobs allowed me to sift through the mess of it all and start to address things, one piece at a time. Some with myself; Some with friends; Some with my partner; Some with my child, although she is completely unaware of it I’m pretty sure.
One tear at a time.
One foot in front of the other.
One step at a time.