Written by: Emily Karklin
Not Something to Cry About
Have you ever gone to a theatre to enjoy a movie when all of a sudden you hear a child crying and giving their parents a hard time? Have you been one of those parents who wished they could take their child somewhere quiet but could still watch the movie? Do you wish crying rooms would come back into fashion?
In the 1940’s crying rooms were used as a space for parents to take their children when they were being fussy. Speculated to have started in the United States, a crying room was a soundproof room equipped with windows so that parents could leave with their children but still enjoy the movie. In Selkirk, the Garry Theatre had a crying room. When the theatre was destroyed by a fire in 1954, a crying room was included in the reconstruction plans, demonstrating its popularity.
Unfortunately, by the 1970s many crying rooms were being used as smoking lounges and were seen as a waist of space. Because of this they were being left out building plans and were eventually forgotten about.
A Safe Space to Cry
They were not just used in theatres though. Churches offered parents with fussy babies a private space with a window that they could use so that other church goers were not disturbed during the service. The baby boom spiked crying room popularity. Today, some colleges and universities have crying rooms for students while some workplaces have spaces for employees who just want to be alone for a few moments. Even some hotels in Japan offer mothers rooms to ‘de-stress.’ One hotel called the Mitsui Garden Hotel Yotsuya in Tokyo goes as far as having tissues, feel good movies, and masks that heat your eyes. Spain, is combatting the stigma of crying in public by setting up crying rooms in Madrid that anyone can use.
Crying rooms may be making a comeback, but not for how they were originally used. They are still around today and are being used to battle the stigma with mental health in our society. They may have been created for parents with fussy children in movie theatres but now they have evolved into something that we can all use when we are having bad days.