Updated: Jul 26, 2022
I’m a little confused about the topic of trigger warnings when it comes to baby loss. This is something I have been sitting on the fence about for a while and I’m going to break down my thought process below.
So, firstly there are two general communities when it comes to having a baby; The baby loss community and then everybody else. I have no idea if there is better terminology to use or not but that’s all I’ve got.
Firstly, I understand the reasoning behind trigger warnings in some aspects, but I don’t feel there should be a general rule that should be applied across the board. I think it’s up to the person sharing their story and it shouldn’t be dictated by anyone else.
Who am I actually putting trigger warnings up for? Is it for the sake of the baby loss community or for the NON baby loss community?
I know personally as a baby loss Mum, I don’t need a trigger warning for other loss posts. In fact, I welcome these posts because those people that are sharing, need our support the most. They are experiencing a world of pain and the last thing they need to hear about is the bloody expectation of a trigger warning, simply because their post is a sad one.
I generally find other ‘normal’ posts more triggering. You know? The baby announcements, baby showers, new born arrival photos, the milk drunk cuddles, the sleepy little baby, the cute little wrinkly toes, the family portraits.. The adorably cute stuff that makes your heart melt (or if your a loss Mum, brings on a sweat)
As much as I am delighted and happy for that family and for the fact that they have their baby in their arms safe and sound.. I do sit here sometimes wondering why aren’t those posts expected to come with trigger warnings?
Wouldn’t you think the baby loss community would need these kind of warnings more than what the non loss community would need them?
Especially considering the significance of the loss we are grieving and the silence we already feel pressured to remain under.
It just seems a little backwards that the loss community, who have already lost so much are also expected to pop trigger warnings on their content because they unfortunately lost their baby by no fault of their own.. But for those who were blessed to bring home a healthy baby are free to carry on sharing and celebrating without the fear of triggering anybody because that’s the ‘normal’ thing to do. It’s just another prime example of an unfair aspect to the life of a bereaved parent.
I’m not saying everyone should have trigger warnings on all their posts and I’m certainly not saying you shouldn’t post, share or celebrate your baby with your friends & family, because that’s definitely not the solution.
But what I am saying is, why is this an expectation for one community, but not for another?
I understand the baby loss community is the ‘minority’, however there are still a lot of us out there, some of which are currently sitting in your friends list, who are trying to pick up the pieces of an already really tough gig. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss. That’s a lot of pregnancies and that’s a lot of affected people.
I feel like this expectation just further adds to the stigma and shame around an already incredibly traumatic life changing event called loss. One I already feel confined to talk about but am pushing my hardest to share anyway, because it’s my new reality.
I know from experience sometimes when you see a post that catches you off guard, it can bring on an entire intense set of emotions that inevitably affects the rest of your day. Sometimes even brings you into a panic. I can’t imagine anyone from the non loss community having a similar reaction to any one of my posts? I can’t see it ruining their entire day or bringing on a panic attack. I could be wrong, but I just can’t imagine it. I would assume this is because they thankfully cannot relate and the topic doesn’t necessarily strike an emotional cord that stings like hell.
Popping up a trigger warning just deters more people away from facing exactly what we are trying to change. We are trying to educate and change the way our society handles loss, grief and death. As a society, we like to pretend loss doesn’t happen because we don’t KNOW how to properly deal with tragedy and/or because we don’t WANT to deal with it.
We generally assume a loss like this would never happen to us, so we don’t feel the need to read about it. I thought the same thing, until it did in fact happen to me.
And I know that pretending loss doesn’t exist, isn’t the answer either.
Is this an expectation I’m supposed to uphold for the rest of my life?
I mean.. I’m not going to wake up suddenly one day and not feel the need to talk about or share my boy, so does that mean anything I say about him is therefore expected to have a trigger warning on it?
Now some one may argue that trigger warnings are required for the younger generation but my response to that is, if they are too young to know about baby loss, then they shouldn’t be on social media. There are plenty of other topics we should be worried about them being exposed to on the internet and I don’t believe baby loss is one of them. Probably easier said than done and a problem I don’t currently have to worry about.. A topic for another day.
Solution? I don't think there is a simple answer.
For me, I’ll continue doing what I feel is most appropriate, according to the post.
I shouldn’t have to, nor should I be expected to do anymore than I what believe is appropriate.
It’s not our fault that something tragic happened to us or our baby, and it’s not our fault if you don’t want to know about it.
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