When Women Cry

Have you ever cried alone, so hard you would wish someone was there to comfort you, yet if someone were to ask you the reason for your crying your best honest answer would be its nothing?

Introducing the series

Daily women complain of minor stresses and are encompassed by multiple stressors, such as hormonal stress, parental stress, marital stress, post and prenatal stress as well as occupational stress.

Have you ever cried alone, so hard you would wish someone was there to comfort you, yet if someone were to ask you the reason for your crying your best honest answer would be its nothing?  Have you ever cried so hard in church, and people thought you were the most spiritual yet the church was the only safe place to cry freely without the need to explain why?   Have you ever gone before the Lord in prayer and all you could do was cry?  Have you cried alone in your car driving, by the time you got to your destination you were all made up and no one would ever guess that you were crying?  When do you cry?

Root Causes

In this series, we will explore that well-spring of emotion that just seems to overwhelm women, sometimes without notice. Without understanding to root causes, it is difficult to even understand what is happening on the surface.

We will look at a number of scenarios, some real but changed for anonymity’s sake. We will hold online and live discussions. But the first thing we will acknowledge is that there are no simple answers. None of the scenarios has a pre-packaged microwave solution.

Women Just love to cry

I was standing in a queue at a local supermarket preparing to pay for my weekly groceries.   “Women just love to cry,” said one gentleman remarking to his peers.  Naturally, I turned around to see who had said the statement, Ndiri kunyeba here ambuya? (Am I lying, ma’am?) added the gentleman addressing his question to me.  I just smiled gracefully as I pondered on what he had said.   Do I just love to cry, am I given space to cry?  My crying is always viewed as a sign of weakness, it’s considered being a woman after all.  Nobody ever interrogates the source of my tears hence whenever I cry it should be as justifiable as possible.   I don’t cry when I have to, neither do I cry when I want to, but it seems I only cry when I CAN.

As I was preparing to leave, I remembered having some good girl talk with a colleague recently and she summarized it well.  She said “women in our African culture cry for the many losses they have but the unfortunate part is most of these losses have no name” Most of the emotions we go through have no name in the local language or at best three emotions share one word.  This has left most of our women aware of their emotional turmoil yet without a precise language to express them.

Scenario One:Is Motherhood a source of tears?

When Runyararo called, I dreaded picking up her call.  Was I ready for another of her common rantings of late?  She seemed to be always angry of late. Only that one could never really tell the target of her anger.  She would start seemingly well, courteously asking if you were in a position to help her with the day’s school run. The rantings would start when one probed as to why she seemed too preoccupied. Without really pointing at one issue she would explain how her life had become a total mess with the coming of her third child in the past two months.   She would, however, hasten to reassure you not to worry, as she had done this (giving birth) two times before, she was going to deal with it.  Back to the events of the day, I picked up the phone and to my amazement Runya answered with a bitter groan, she was crying.  All she said was “can you please come over”.

As I was driving, the questions that rang in my head were

  • Should I just offer a shoulder to cry on only? She is just looking for an outlet.
  • Should I dig a little deeper? Should I peel the onion? Will I be able to put her back together again?
  • Should I pray for a spirit of discernment to help address the deep spiritual battle that Runyararo may not even be aware of?

In the coming days, we will hold a live discussion to explore these two scenarios a bit further. Please check www.moniquetoday.com/events/ and make sure to check in.

About the Author

Fatima Mapuke

Fatima is passionate about psychology of women, mentoring and family. She is a Community Psychologist dedicated to facilitating transformative change and addressing societal problems that give rise to behavioural and emotional maladjustment.

Currently she is involved in the Tirere Pamwe parenting support services project and Psycook a culinary art therapy project, both aimed at promoting mental wellbeing in communities.

She is a Christian, married and has one daughter and one son.

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