7 Gems - You're Welcome, grief & loss, Laugh through the pain, Trauma of it all

The Value of Trigger Warnings

You know that feeling when something’s going on with you and you feel like you then see evidence of it everywhere? Like when you’re going through a breakup but everywhere you turn, you seem to see couples cuddled up, cuffing season is in full swing and everybody-and-their-mother is getting engaged? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. When you’re boo’ed up but potential bae-material folx keep coming out the woodworks…When you’re broke af but everybody seems to be traveling and living their best life. It’s happened to all of us. If you say it hasn’t, I don’t believe you flat,800x800,075,f.u1.jpg (600×800).  It’s Murphy’s law, feast or famine, you get my point.  Fertility challenges and perinatal loss is no exception.  Sure, you’re kind of immersed in this perinatal loss community if you’ve sought help by becoming part of some of the support groups so naturally, you’re going to find out more about it. Aside from that though, there are triggers EVERYWHERE and any angel parent can confirm this for you.

trig·ger warn·ing

NOUN
  1. a statement at the start of a piece of writing, video, etc., alerting the reader or viewer to the fact that it contains potentially distressing material (often used to introduce a description of such content):

    “there probably should be a trigger warning for people dealing with grief” · 

Sometimes the triggers don’t seem obvious to other people and sometimes they’re blatant and everybody needs to be aware and sensitive to this.  Trigger warnings are valuable because seriously, almost anything (even the apparently unrelated thing) can send an angel parent into a tailspin that could result in some form of agoraphobia (fear of going outside). I think I mentioned in one of my early posts (go take a look if you’re new to blackangelmom.com), how difficult it was for me to be outside right after my loss. It was just safer for me to stay in and only have to interact with the world on a super limited basis. I’m going to list out some common occurrences AND things that just happened to me recently even being almost six months post-loss, where trigger warnings can be helpful.  

  • When your having a get together and you know have guests who are bringing small children OR are pregnant.

 

      • Know your audience. We all have a general idea of who we’re inviting to stuff we host at our homes. So if you are close with an angel parent and know that your cousin is pregnant or bringing their baby, give your angel-parent friend(s) a heads up. It may not be a big deal but for the angel parent’s that it is, your little bit of extra care can help them prepare themselves for that.

 

  • When you get a package in the mail containing Enfamil

Copy of IMG_20171121_1916417

      • Like most angel parents, you probably signed up for the apps that tell you your baby is the size of a lime or whatever at the corresponding time. I canceled that app after losing the girls BUT, there’s a lot of shit you inadvertently get signed up for in addition to that one app. So Enfamil has been sending me letters and coupons, I didn’t think much of it. Last week though… last week BAE and I go to the package room and she says, “babe… this is for us” or something like that. At first, I thought she was joking but then realized she’d be a horrible-ass person for joking about something like that. Turns out, Enfamil sends you sample formula to try.  I planned to breastfeed and my boobies seemed to cooperate nicely despite having no babies in my arms so I don’t think I would need formula anyway. Regardless, it came and I’m still trying to find someone to donate it to.

 

  • When a miscarriage happens on a television show

 

      • If you’re my FB friend or are in any of the virtual support groups I am in for perinatal loss, you’ll see that I posted a trigger warning for a couple of shows. For this particular scenario, I’m talking about This Is Us. I won’t entirely spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it but the most recent episode could definitely be a trigger for folx. Be mindful of what’s on TV because they tend to just throw things in there willy-nilly and then you get smacked in the face with art imitating your damn life.

 

  • When a (potential) stillbirth happens on a TV show

 

      • Related to #3, TV can be a mofo… So this time, I’m talking about How to Get Away With Murder (HTGAWM).  Again, I won’t entirely spoil it for you if you haven’t watched yet but angel parent’s, be forewarned! The episode is graphic and though there is a content warning at the start and on some commercial breaks, it doesn’t say what the triggering content is so… The realness of this episode, particularly the last like 15 mins, will hit home with lots of angel parents who were awake for the birth of their angels.

 

  • When they’re doing some kind of complicated surgery on a pregnant woman on a TV show

 

      • Thought I was out of the woods watching The Good Doctor w/ bae the other day and then, boom! Pregnant woman who’s been trying for years has a baby w/ a tumor that will steal the blood supply and result in a lost pregnancy if it’s not removed. Mom wants surgery to remove the tumor even if it may kill her because she “can’t live through another miscarriage.” I talked a little about this level of commitment in my post titled Things You Learn About Yourself When TTC so go check that out if you have time. Again, the realness of the mom’s clarity even at the thought of losing her own life as a result… I feel her. I didn’t spoil what happens so go watch if you want to but again, *trigger warning*!

 

  • When you know people are showing up to the workplace with their new babies

 

      • Ok so you can’t control for all things all the time BUT if you know there’s an angel parent in your office AND someone else is visiting w/ their baby, it could be helpful to give a heads up.  That can allow the AP (angel parent) to make a choice to take a bathroom break, go to lunch early, take a walk to another floor, put headphones in, etc.

 

  • Basically anytime there is a baby, small child, pregnancy or fertility stuff happening anywhere at any time.

I know this sounds like a lot to monitor. It kind of is because inevitably, one or more of these things will be happening at any given time. The point is not to catch everything and be hyper-vigilant like a crazy person BUT it is to just be considerate of other people who are going  through stuff. It’s the little bit of care that ends up going the longest mile. I don’t agree with the rationale but sometimes, early pregnancy loss via miscarriage or even stillbirth is sometimes not regarded with the same kind of understanding and support. People think because you haven’t seen your little one outside of your body that they somehow mean less to you and that’s completely untrue. So when others recognize our pain as just as valid as someone who lost an older child or an adult loved one for that matter, it’s greatly appreciated.

Basically all of these are for the support system and of course, you can pay it forward as an angel parent and alert other angel parents you know.  I mean, you get it. You understand so it’s only right to help out others w/ the same info. People will let you know whether they need that level of consideration or not but I honestly believe that most people appreciate it. When they no longer need it, they’ll let you know. Some people are immediately able to be in this situations w/o being affected but a lot of others really need some support as they rebuild. Trigger warnings are valuable for a lot of reasons but the main thing is just to allow the potentially triggered person to make an informed decision about what they want to experience. So much in this world is out of our control. We’re constantly in situations where there is a forced choice rather than a true choice so when there is an opportunity to have a little bit more autonomy about what our sphere of existence encounters, I think it’s important to exercise that. Be well y’all and continue to  take care of yourselves & each other on this healing journey.

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