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  • Transcriber: Ivana Korom Reviewer: Krystian Aparta

  • According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology,

  • we create 15 to 30 gallons of tears a year.

  • I am what you would call a high-volume producer.

  • Now even though we do create less tears as we age,

  • I figure by the time I'm 80,

  • I will have filled up 40 average-sized bath tubs.

  • Now crying in my early years?

  • Not something I would brag about.

  • When I was five,

  • I thought it was a good idea to practice writing my name

  • on the side of the house.

  • Outside the house.

  • Momma didn't agree with me much.

  • She handed me a toothbrush and said,

  • "Here, scrub."

  • So I did.

  • I'd sit at the dining room table for what seemed like an eternity.

  • I didn't want to eat my vegetables.

  • You probably know the feeling.

  • I'd miss all my favorite shows and cry like crazy.

  • Crying was always associated with something bad.

  • Fortunately, I grew up.

  • I stopped writing on the walls, started eating my vegetables,

  • and I entered the wonderful world of motherhood.

  • And let me tell you, crying takes on a whole new meaning.

  • I was nine months pregnant and I was sitting on the couch,

  • looking at the front door where my bags were packed,

  • waiting for me,

  • because I was hopeful that today would be the day.

  • I settle in a little bit more,

  • and I think to myself, "You know, we can put humans into space,

  • but we can't seem to figure out when a baby will be born."

  • And then I feel this pressure build up in my chest,

  • my throat get really tight,

  • and I just burst into tears.

  • And you know what?

  • I had no idea why.

  • And not knowing why at the time,

  • well, that just got me more upset,

  • so I eventually was just upset for being upset.

  • I took a deep breath -- (Inhales)

  • and I let it out -- (Exhales)

  • Thought that would help, but no, it didn't.

  • Then my brother walks in with his smirky grin and he says to me,

  • "What's wrong with you?"

  • I said, "Nothing, just leave me alone."

  • And he did, he ran as fast as he could.

  • And you know what I did when he left.

  • I cried even harder.

  • I was ashamed and embarrassed, just like when I was a kid.

  • Now lucky for me,

  • I only had to look at that bag sitting by the front door

  • for another nine days,

  • right before my expected date of delivery.

  • And finally, my body said it was time.

  • And after 18 hours of feeling my body try to expel this little human

  • that weighed about the size of a bowling ball,

  • and hours of pushing so hard

  • that I thought for sure this baby was stuck,

  • within a heartbeat,

  • my beautiful baby girl Jennifer

  • entered the world.

  • And I looked at her, and she cried

  • and then I just cried.

  • All of that emotion and pressure that I had inside just seconds before

  • was immediately replaced with the most joyous sense of relief

  • that I had ever felt.

  • And after nine months of crying over these fears and anxieties

  • and crazy out-of-control hormones,

  • that was instantaneously transformed into the deepest,

  • most heartfelt, happiest cry of my life.

  • And I had no control.

  • Those really hard tears,

  • those happy tears,

  • those overwhelming joyful tears,

  • they had nowhere to go but out.

  • And it was those tears,

  • that moment, that incredible high,

  • that inspired me to birth three more little miracles

  • and start to help others have their own.

  • I became a childbirth educator,

  • and I started a whole new relationship with tears.

  • It was early in my 30 years of teaching,

  • I had a class touch my heart like no other.

  • The topic for the night --

  • emotions of pregnancy, go figure.

  • And it was important for the class

  • to first learn about the emotional changes and responses during pregnancy,

  • and how when we cry, it can feel like the body's trying to push out

  • that extra emotion,

  • almost like it's processing what it can't hold inside.

  • Like an exhaust port for extreme feelings of sadness,

  • joy or even relief after days,

  • years of anticipation of that one magical moment.

  • It can literally feel like your body is squeezing out all that emotion

  • in the form of water coming from our eyes.

  • Our tears.

  • Now tears were always expected during my classes.

  • Not mine this time, the new moms'.

  • And this night in this class,

  • it was way different.

  • I had just finished talking about the emotional changes of pregnancy

  • and I went in to talk about the couvade syndrome.

  • Now the word "couvade" comes from a French term, "couver,"

  • which means "to brood,"

  • similar to birds protecting a nest.

  • Well, who better to protect this nest than the expecting mother's partner?

  • Also called a sympathetic pregnancy,

  • the couvade syndrome is a real-life phenomenon,

  • where the non-pregnant partner can take on pregnancy characteristics

  • like mood swings, loss of sleep,

  • weight gain

  • and for some, a really intense drive to do something new and unexpected,

  • like buy a new sports car

  • or start a new hobby like gourmet cooking.

  • The class usually laughs a little bit after that

  • and that's it.

  • We end the night.

  • But it didn't end there.

  • When I finished my sentence,

  • this big, burly father-to-be stands up,

  • and I thought for sure he was leaving.

  • But instead, in a really gruff, commanding way, he says,

  • "Alright, you guys,

  • how many of you have cried during this thing,

  • you know, her pregnancy?"

  • I scan the class to make sure everybody was OK.

  • They were fine,

  • they were just very intent on what was going to happen next.

  • And then, one gentleman raises his hand and says, "I have."

  • And then another,

  • and the stories just flowed.

  • Even this really quiet gal --

  • she was the fiancee of one of the expecting moms --

  • she looks at her and she says,

  • "See? I told you my crying was normal too."

  • The class connected,

  • they validated each other,

  • and we all walked away with a new respect

  • for the non-pregnant partners that night.

  • For me, that solidified my passion to embrace those tears.

  • Then, it got better.

  • On the last night of that same six-week class,

  • one of the expecting moms came up to me.

  • She asked to talk to me privately, and I said of course,

  • and we went into the corner.

  • And she says,

  • "I need to thank you for saving my relationship."

  • I let her go on, and she tells me

  • that her husband was considering leaving her

  • over her mood swings,

  • out-of-control crying,

  • and his turmoil and anger over this pregnancy.

  • But he didn't leave.

  • She went on to tell me that they realized now it's OK to cry.

  • And he had told her that when he cries,

  • he doesn't feel as angry.

  • Wow!

  • Not only did crying bring my class together,

  • it kept that couple together.

  • And you know, his comment about anger was really, really intriguing to me,

  • so I looked around, did some research,

  • and sure enough, Dr. Oren Hasson,

  • an evolutionary psychologist,

  • he had some theories about when tears blur our vision,

  • it really has the ability to, sometimes, reduce our ability to react to that anger.

  • But the tears weren't the anger.

  • They were more like the release valve.

  • And though many of us, we try to keep those tears inside,

  • but letting them out really may be the better move.

  • Keeping them inside

  • can amplify our feelings of anger or sadness.

  • And while we're releasing those tears,

  • our hormones inside, they're on high alert,

  • and we know this

  • because of Dr. William Frey, a biochemist.

  • He found that inside of our emotional tears --

  • not our everyday, like, yawning tears,

  • but our emotional tears --

  • there's high concentrations of stress hormones

  • and leucine enkephalins,

  • which, easier on my tongue, is endorphins.

  • And while our stress hormones are helping our bodies out,

  • our endorphins, those feel-good chemicals,

  • they're helping to act as a pain reliever

  • to boost our mood.

  • Now who wouldn't want that?

  • There are two triggers for the release of endorphins

  • for most of us.

  • Stress and pain.

  • And for a woman giving birth,

  • experiencing both stress and pain,

  • endorphins, they are a gift.

  • As the labor progresses,

  • those endorphins will rise to help her with a potentially long labor.

  • As a result,

  • the mom is better able to cope,

  • and she can feel more alert and almost euphoric after the birth.

  • Crying

  • is just awesome.

  • I wish there was a bigger word.

  • Crying offers us an opportunity for physical relief,

  • for intimacy between two individuals

  • and ultimately,

  • it promotes physical and mental well-being.

  • And as an expression

  • of our most intense interior human experiences,

  • there is no need to be embarrassed,

  • no need to be ashamed

  • and no need to run away.

  • We need to have a healthy relationship with crying

  • and change the way we view tears.

  • We see them as overwhelming and scary and confusing,

  • when they're really beautiful,

  • soothing and reassuring.

  • They're not to be seen as some screeching alarm bell

  • that something is wrong

  • but rather a natural functionality

  • of our amazing bodies.

  • Crying is as essential to me as breathing.

  • And now, if I'm caught crying on that couch by my wonderful husband,

  • who has had to learn way more about crying than he ever wanted to,

  • he doesn't run away.

  • He'll ask me why I'm crying,

  • and I'll let him know I just need my release.

  • He'll take my hand,

  • and you know what I'll do?

  • I will let it all out.

  • And then I'm going to sink into that deep sense of intimacy

  • and extraordinary sense of relief

  • that only my tears can bring.

  • Thank you.

Transcriber: Ivana Korom Reviewer: Krystian Aparta

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B1 pregnancy class anger cried relief mood

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