Trauma Often Leads to Tears

  When I saw this theme for the Friday Five I didn’t know what to think. Crying in general tends to make me feel uncomfortable, whether it’s me doing the crying or watching someone else cry. I tend to be a fairly even-keeled person regarding emotions. At least, I’m good at keeping them from showing most of the time. I used to be more self-conscious about crying in public but I am growing in understanding and acceptance that it is okay to have emotions and to express them in healthy ways. I thought it would be interesting to think back on my past and talk about five memorable instances of crying. It was challenging. It was also a very interesting exercise of reflection on past events.

1) When my kitten was run over

  When I was in elementary school we adopted a mother cat and her four kittens. We lived on four acres so we had plenty of room for them. Some friends of my parents came over for dinner one evening. We were outside watching them leave and, apparently, one of the kittens (named Killer of all things) had climbed up onto one of the tires. It was a terrible tragedy to witness, especially since it wasn’t killed by the accident and my dad had to relieve him of his pain. I distinctly remember bawling in my room that night. It was the first time I remember being emotionally affected by an animal loss.

2) When my friend was killed in a car accident

My friend and I freshman year

  The summer after my freshman year of high school, just a week or two before school started again, my friend (and across-the-street neighbor) and her friend were killed when their car hydroplaned into a concrete pillar under a bridge. I remember my mom calling me, telling me the news and saying to find my dad. I went downstairs and told him what mom had just said and then cried into his shirt. In addition to losing a friend and neighbor, I was a bit traumatized knowing that I could have been in that car (she had invited me to go with them but I had volleyball practice). It was the first time I’d lost a person close to me.

3) When I found out my first child was breech

  I was thirty-five weeks into my pregnancy and had gone for a regular check up. The doctor was checking my cervix and noted that I was beginning to dilate. She thought she could feel the head but then realized that it didn’t feel like a head so she had an ultrasound performed. She then confirmed and announced to me that my baby was breech and that, if s/he didn’t turn, I would have to have a c-section. I was upset because it was not at all part of my ideal birth plan. Somehow I managed to call my husband to tell him the news and then continue on to the consignment sale to look for baby items like I had planned. Later that day, when I saw Adam at home, he asked me how I was doing and then I burst into tears in his arms.

4) A few days after my first child’s birth

Am I really ready for this???

  I am confident that I leaked some happy tears when I heard my children’s cries for the first time. I’m sure a lot of people cry after their children are born. What I distinctly remember is being home from the hospital (either the day we came home or the next) and being so overwhelmed by emotion (and probably hormones) and bawling in my husband’s arms once again. I’m sure this is common for many women. I don’t remember doing this after my second child was born but there is a distinct difference between the two birth experiences.

  This crying jag occurred just over a week after the one when I found out my daughter was breech. The time period between the two events may not seem significant but it is. After learning my baby was breech my doctor set up an appointment for the following Tuesday just to check up on things. So, five days later, I was back in my doctor’s office. My husband came with me for emotional support after the last appointment, which was a blessing because at this one we learned that the umbilical cord was prolapsed and we needed to get the baby out quickly. I’m pretty sure my ob looked at us and said, “You’re going to have a baby today.” My husband drove me straight to the hospital, ran home to grab the bags we had half-packed and came back to witness the birth of our first child at my 36th week of pregnancy.

  Everything was so unexpected and stressful. Thankfully, the surgery went fine and the baby was pretty healthy despite being a month early. I was thrust into motherhood without my usually careful planning and preparation. I was so overwhelmed by everything that, when we returned home and were alone to process everything, the stress of the experience overwhelmed me and I cried (I didn’t really comprehend how traumatic my experience was until I was working on this post).

5) When I pray out loud with other people

  This has been a more recent phenomenon, partly because I used to be terrified of praying out loud.  In the past couple of months I have noticed that I cry during intercessory prayer times. I remember sitting at a friend’s dining room table a few weeks ago and tears running down my face as we prayed for one another, for our church, for our children. I recently attended a prayer meeting and cried as I prayed, listened to others pray and agreed with the prayers offered on behalf of the family.

  This more recent prayer-related crying is what is helping me to become comfortable with crying in front of others. I don’t want to stop praying with people and I don’t anticipate this physical response ceasing. I just need to make sure there are tissues close at hand.

I hope sharing my experiences has been helpful and encouraging to you. Have you seen any patterns in what causes the physical release of crying in your life? Have you cried over similar experiences? It’s always encouraging to be reminded that you’re not alone in your experiences.


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