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the long-term effects of childbirth on the emotions

October 29, 2009

Things that made me cry when I was at boarding school:

nothing. Had to be tough.

Things that make me cry since having children:

atrocities on the news; birdsong; a perfect view; the wearying catalogue of viciousness in the newspapers; laughing too much; my sons breaking yet another object to which their mother was sentimentally attached; my sons telling me spontaneously that they love me; feeling lonely; Disney movies; adverts; anything with babies in it; childbirth scenes on telly; too much beauty; too much ironing; starving children in charity leaflets; not being able to save the world; being exhausted; the endless mind-numbing inanity of negotiating with a three-year-old; unexpected kindness; the smell of a bonfire; presents bought with love; my sweet children; a play on the radio; Isolde’s Liebestodt; PMT; the relentless rolling of time and the deaths of friends; the very thought of dying while my children still needed me; the end of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ (EVERY TIME), the bit in ‘The Railway Children’ when the father returns and Jenny Agutter sees him through the steam and cries, ‘Daddy – my Daddy!’ (this one makes me well up just thinking about it); counting my many blessings; did I mention Disney movies?; all the hurt in the world; my 3-year old throwing his little arms around my neck and smiling, ‘Cheer up, Mummy!’…….sniff…..

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2009 5:25 pm

    Just thought I would come over to say ‘hello’. (Love the notion of a dancing beastie.) I hate to say it but the propensity to cry at all manner of things just increases as you and your children grow older (and my daughter is now in her forties.) . I am reduced to a quivering heap by so much, including ‘Daddy, my daddy.’ If I know that the original film version of The Railway Children is showing on TV, I have to watch it, from beginning to end. Ditto Brief Encounter. And when one is sad, the comfort of strangers can be almost overwhelming. But this, after all, is part of what it means to be human. Imagine a world in which we could not be moved to tears . . .

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      October 29, 2009 5:54 pm

      Absolutely. And you’re right, of course it’s ‘MY Daddy’ which is even more unbearable. In Brief Encounter all three of them, the husband not least, are so noble and decent – qualities much under-valued today, though still to be found I firmly believe – it’s just desperate. The sadness and poignancy of mortality is best captured in literature by Tolkien, I think: I know a lot of people sniff at the idea of Tolkien being literature at all, but to me he captures everything that is precious (in the non-Gollum sense) about life.
      Anyway, thank you so much for visiting!

  2. January 11, 2012 4:19 pm

    Just following a link here again, DB, to find yet another of your posts I so agree with, even to the poignancy of “Daddy, my Daddy!” and the defence of Tolkien as literature. I lost a whole weekend of my life to a first reading of the Lord of the Rings as a student at oxford and have never forgotten the experience..

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 11, 2012 6:43 pm

      Oh, how lovely to find another person who properly appreciates Tolkien! You must be a quick reader: I seem to remember losing days or weeks immersed in Middle Earth when I first read LOTR (as an undergrad at St. Andrews!). 🙂

  3. January 11, 2012 7:26 pm

    Oh, I used to be able to devour books very quickly when I was younger, DB. I read almost non-stop that weekend, only breaking for meals and sleep. The things we do when we are young…..:-) I even asked for book tokens for my 21st birthday the following year, so that I could buy the three volume hardback edition with the fold-out maps of Middle Earth.

  4. January 12, 2012 8:04 pm

    I just saw the second part of the LOTR movie trilogy last week….hmmpppfff. LOTR needs to be read, reread and savoured I think. A wonderful epic tale.

    Things that make me cry ..everything you mention and more!
    Small, slender bodies running towards the sea. Shouting and yelling out of pure joy for life. The fact that not all kids can have that.
    …and all that unnecessary hurt indeed.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 12, 2012 10:54 pm

      Perpetua, I am rather taken by your three volume hardback edition with fold-out maps…! But I love my well-used paperback editions, as I can read them in bed. And a year or two ago I treated myself to a single volume hardback of the trilogy with wonderful illustrations by Alan Lee. Diana, you are so right, LOTR needs to be read and re-read. This very evening, I have begun reading The Two Towers aloud to my husband! We enjoy reading aloud on winter evenings. Last winter it was the Hobbit, but I am thrilled that he has agreed to accompany me down the Anduin with Aragorn this time…

      As for things that make us cry: I think loves makes us open to everyone and everything. I remember reading once that ‘to have a child is forever to have one’s heart running around outside one’s body’.

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