This week, I went to a spinning class. I loved it, right up until we got off our bikes to stretch. The cool down song was Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven, about the death of his 4-year-old son. I promptly burst into tears, though I would have insisted I just had sweat in my eyes, had anyone asked.
Since I had my little boy this year, this happens daily. I can’t listen to the news, read a newspaper, or watch a film, without becoming hugely emotional about any child related content. When I was pregnant, I watched Three Men and a Baby. The “baby in mild peril” scenes were too much for me, and I turned it off. Not kidding.
This is the one thing no-one warned me about. I was warned I would be tired, sick-splattered, grubby and ungroomed. I knew I would be chubbier, less cool, and even less rich. I knew I would love my baby. I did not know that loving a child is sometimes like having your nerves stripped bare.
This is not weakness, it is a gift. I have gained a sense of deep empathy, and with it comes a fiercely protective instinct. The two go hand in hand, and feel like internal sea-changes, but also essential and instinctive parts of my femininity. I will happily jump in front of a bus for my son. But in my everyday life, I care more deeply than I ever did about how we can make our lives better in small ways, like breastfeeding, recycling and buying organic if we can.
So yes, I may cry spontaneously, randomly and constantly, but next time, I will be proud to do so. It means I am doing a great job as mum.