Mothers Day is approaching and a day I usually love, I now dread. Pre-miscarriage, I loved the photo’s on social media of new moms celebrating first Mothers Days, pregnant folks celebrating their babies-to -come and all of the handmade cards from little ones. I looked forward to Indigo’s Mothers Day emails of gift guides for Mom, and loved scrolling endlessly to find the perfect gift for my own mom. I was excited to envision a day, someday, when I could celebrate too.
After miscarriage, I’m triggered by the Mothers Day gift guide emails. I’m dreading seeing everyone’s Mothers Day posts and I feel unprepared for the emotional turmoil of having just gone through a miscarriage less than two months ago, and now having to see Mothers (and Moms-to-be) everywhere celebrate. I feel jealous, guilty for feeling jealous and angry that my baby couldn’t stay- that my wife and I will never get to hold them.
I was chatting with my own mom about this recently, and though she’s not experienced a miscarriage, she knows loss. She said that every first milestone will probably hurt, a lot. So, if you consider the year after the miscarriage- Every holiday, every trimester, the date when we could have found out the sex, the month we planned to have a baby shower, the due date month, and the due date day. These are all the days I am anticipating will be especially triggering and painful.
But, the tough thing about triggers and grief, is you can’t avoid them. They are everywhere you look. They’re on social media, TV and in the news. They’re at work, on the sidewalks in a stroller and at the grocery store. And, if people haven’t either A) been through a miscarriage themselves (or been close to someone who has (IE: partners) or B) have done the work to educate yourself, they’re very likely to trigger you somehow too.
The interesting thing, is triggers can be “random” to some. It can be a smell, a date, a month, an emotion. But, the truth is, these aren’t random at all. Below, I will explain a few of my triggers and I’ll break them down to demonstrate that as strange as they may seem to others- they’re not random.
My Triggers Include:
- Friends who complain about pregnancy related topics such as weight gain while pregnant, pain while pregnant, not fitting into clothes etc – This is a big one. I’ll tell y’all on behalf of folks who have been through a miscarriage- WE DON’T WANNA HEAR IT. Complain to someone else. Your feelings may be valid, but many of us can’t emotionally handle hearing them right now.
- Seeing baby bumps – This is a tough one. I was just starting to get a tiny bump when we lost our baby. So, seeing peoples big bumps just reminds me of my little one.
- Going through a miscarriage openly and not receiving a card or kind gesture from specific folks – This one is more of a respect aspect. People don’t think of miscarriage as a death, but it is. It’s a death before life. And, if you would send a card to someone who’s 1 month old baby passed, then you should send a card to someone who’s baby passed away before it was born.
- Pregnancy announcements of any sort (But, I’ve had a few folks [Specifically folks who have experienced loss or educate themselves on baby loss] warn me that they’d be announcing soon which is SO thoughtful and lessens the shock/panic response for me). But, when I’m scrolling through Facebook and see an announcement, my stomach turns and panic rises.
- Hearing babies cry on TV – self explanatory.
- Hearing about birth/birth stories – When I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time thinking about birth, reading about it, listening to other peoples stories. I imagined how my own birth would be, and envisioned welcoming our baby to the world. Now, hearing of other peoples birth stories is just a harsh reminder that the baby we lost won’t get to be born.
- The month of October. – Our baby’s due date was in October. My wife, our dog and my birthdays are also in October. I’m actively thinking of ways we can honor our angel baby, and also still celebrate our own birthdays.
- Being invited to baby showers- Especially if I’m not expecting it. If you have a friend who’s gone through a miscarriage, do them a favor and ask them privately via phone call or text if they feel comfortable being invited and if they say no, please acknowledge that you respect their decision. It’s not that we don’t love y’all- it’s that we have to heal somehow, and it’s harder to heal when the wound gets ripped open over and over again.
I’ve chatted with so many folks who have gone through a miscarriage/loss and here are the triggers they shared with me:
Seeing newborns/pregnant mama’s and holding friends babies.Emily- 30 years old.
The notion that because I know I CAN get pregnant, I can just try again. And, when people tried to tell me how to greive and what to do to “Feel Better.”Laura- 28 years old
Due dates/Birthday Reminders.Kristen
Seeing my newborn niece actually helped me but also triggered me to the point where I avoided messages/updates and that made me feel terrible.Montana – Wife
Not knowing what she was going through at the time it happened.Paul – Husband
Pregnant people, baby showers and first birthdays.Alisha, 37 years old.
My closest co-worker is pregnant with the same due date, so watching every milestone in real time of where my journey should have been.Meghan
Seeing my period. I often get flashbacks.Tanya- 37
Pregnancy annoucnements from relatives knowing our kids would have been bffs. And, friends and family who didn’t know making “when will you finally give us a baby” comments.Brittany
Getting pregnant again after loss, passing the due date and other peoples pregnancy announcements.Lisa – 38
Triggers are everywhere. And, as Mothers day approaches, many of us feel left out of a club we almost got to join (especially those of us who don’t have other children.) And, for folks who do have other children, they may feel guilty to miss their angel baby, when they have children earth side to celebrate.
Here are ways to honor the miscarriage survivors in your life around Mothers Day:
- Send them a gift, or a card
- Tell them you’re thinking of them and their angel baby
- Drop off a treat
- Censor your social media posts (this can be as easy as blocking them from seeing them)
- Ask them if they want to talk about their angel baby
- Acknowledge that they are a mother, even if they don’t have a baby, or baby bump
- Tell them you love them
- Say their angel babies name – it’s likely been a while since they’ve heard it
- Just be there for them.
The biggest take away I hope folks get from this, is that we aren’t being difficult on purpose. We are struggling, we are mourning. And, it means the world to us when folks educate themselves, and meet us where we are in our sadness.
I’m sending so much love to the Mother’s of angel babies this Mothers Day. I know it’s not going to be an easy day, and my heart goes out to all of you. ❤