Have you ever heard of the phenomenon of phantom crying? I guess in some ways it's similar to the phantom limb, where a person with a missing limb has the sensation that it's still there. Likewise, phantom crying is when you are absolutely convinced there's a baby crying, but in reality there is no baby crying. It's almost as if my mind continues to hear the cries long after they have passed. (And no, I'm not crazy ;) other moms hear it too!) It could be a home's buzz, a construction vehicle outside, music playing, the washing machine, or even silence. You name it. Anything can be mistaken for a baby cry. The trickiest thing about this phantom cry is that it usually creeps up on me when the boys are totally fine, often they are napping peacefully in their room in the middle of a calm day or they are sleeping soundly in the dark night.
I recently read an article in The Atlantic about how our brains change when we become mothers. Apparently there are biochemical reactions and a flood of hormones that overwhelm our minds and give us an enormous desire to take care of our children. The article explains that, "Mothers actually report very high levels of patterns of thinking about things that they cannot control." As I read this, I thought that this helps explain why I am constantly on alert, always attuned to the needs of the boys, and even, listening for a cry.