There are lots of ways I can tell when I’ve transitioned from my Week 2 (the week leading up to and including ovulation) to my Week 3 (the week right after ovulation): My energy and libido drop like a rock, my vaginal secretions get cloudy and thick and I start salivating like a rabid raccoon at every food commercial on TV. Even the gross ones, like meat-lover’s deep dish pizza.
But, this cycle around, I figured it out a different way.
I was watching this video of a group of moms surprising their kids by dancing at a high school pep rally–when I suddenly burst into tears. Like real, blubbery, snot-triggering tears.
Now, there was nothing tear-jerky about this video. No one gets hurt. No one boos the moms. The ladies don’t bust out Dancing with the Stars-like moves. But, they do alright. All in all, just a cute, harmless video.
So, I had to ask myself: “Why the tears?”
That’s when I had to laugh: I knew then and there that I’d started my Week 3.
See, when Week 3 arrives, your estrogen drops sharply, which drags down your brain’s level of mood-stabilizing serotonin. And, when progesterone rises, it can make you prone to the blues if you’re sensitive to its saddening effects.
Together, this hormone combo can make you more likely to tear up about issues you’re facing, regrets you’ve had or just plain silly stuff that doesn’t mean anything to you, like watching a bunch of moms dance for their kids.
The start of your Week 3 isn’t the only time this happens. Truth is, depending on your sensitivity to your hormones this tendency to shed a few tears can last throughout most of the second half of your cycle because of another dip in estrogen in your premenstrual Week 4 and progesterone sticking around throughout both of these weeks.
So, what’s my point here?
If you’re not aware that your estrogen and progesterone are behind the waterworks, you could mistake hormone-fueled tears for something else, for instance, that you’re depressed or upset about someone or something.
It’s only natural. Whenever we experience a strong negative emotional reaction–be it crying, shock or anxiety–we automatically tend to seek out the reason and assign blame.
But sometimes an out-of-the-blue crying jag just indicates a hormone-fueled physiological response without any meaning at all. And all is still okay in your world.
So, next time you find tears streaming down your face in the second half of your cycle and you’re not sure why, before you look around for an innocent culprit, pause. Then, consider whether it’s just hormones toying with your eye faucets. You could end up laughing at the very thing that caused you to tear up!