I recently started reading a fictional book about a woman suffering from a severe case of post-partum depression. The character’s resentment and detachment from her baby, although primarily due to the condition she suffered from, was excruciating to read and so I stopped reading. I could not allow myself to invest any more time in something that felt soul destroying to me. I could not relate to this character not wanting her baby because of my own loss.
The author is an amazing woman and a good friend. And for that reason, I immediately decided that I had to be honest. I didn’t hate her story; it was simply too painful. I could not simply stay silent either because being a part of this community for as long as I have, I knew that this book held several triggers. I contacted her and suggested that she add trigger warnings at the beginning of the book to give readers who may have experienced baby loss or even post-partum depression differently, a warning about what was to come. It was not her fault that I chose to read the book, not at all. I simply thought I was ready for it but I wasn’t.
Related: An Unexpected Trigger
I thought that I could handle the triggers, it has been four-plus years after the death of my baby. I’d crossed the hurdles of the early years, but I now realize that there were some things lying dormant.
It may sound strange but I’m glad it happened. There is some truth in the fact that you can’t run and hide from everything but there is also truth in the fact that you cannot immerse yourself in something that causes you pain.
It made me realise that I had to be honest with myself and my feelings. It’s about ensuring that I am no longer a spectator but an active participant in my own life.
How many times have you gone along with it just because that is what everyone around you expected?
Yes, you’re still standing!
Yes, you’re a survivor!
But, you should never forget how important it is to stay true to your truth, to your heart, to your soul.
Don’t Read that Book if it hurts and brings up feelings of anxiety and despair within you set it down. It doesn’t matter how much you paid for it or if it’s written by a friend or if you’re meant to honestly review it. Don’t. Your peace of mind is more important.
Don’t go to that baby shower until you’re ready. If it still hurts, don’t do it. It doesn’t matter if it is one, five, ten or more years since your loss; if it doesn’t feel right, don’t go. Neither does it matter if it’s someone really close to you. So often we are concerned about what people are going to think about us, what they will say to whom. The truth is that those who love you will understand that you’re not doing it to be rude. Decline the invitation politely, do not apologize for taking care of your heart.
Leave the conversation. Early on, I often found myself stuck in that baby conversation with pregnant mothers, new mothers or mothers planning children. You know the one, how the baby is growing in and out of utero, how they want to start trying again because they’re not getting any older. When will you try again? But until you’re ready to have those kinds of conversations, stay away from them. It is okay. It took a long time for me to be comfortable in these conversations and at times, it’s still difficult.
Related: The Thing About Triggers
Communicate to yourself, whether in writing or simply acknowledging out loud those things which are causing you distress. Talk to those close to you, your partner, your friends, help them understand the triggers so they can hold your hand or help you walk away from them if need be. Nobody is going to know your limits if you’re not communicating with them. So often we remain silent, only to have that hurt and resentment eat at us.
Breathe. Then let it go. It’s Okay, It’s okay, It’s Okay, remind yourself of that every single day. It is okay to feel the way you do, there is nothing awful about you, walking away from something that didn’t feel right to your soul is no crime.
And above all, refuse to be a mannequin in your own life, watching, staring, hoping that someone will notice your pain and make it easier. You are the only one that can do that.