By: Hailey Ricks
This is an excerpt from a recently published book Stillborn Still Loved by Hailey Ricks. It tells the story of the loss of her daughter Laurelai, and the pain and loneliness that comes with baby loss. Through her words and journaling she gives the reader permission to acknowledge their grief and find healing.
A crucial part in understanding your grief is triggers. Everyone has triggers. They are a normal part of life. However, typically when talking about triggers when it comes to pregnancy and infant loss those triggers can get tricky. Why? Because most of the time the things that are triggering us are things that “normally” wouldn’t bother us or are things that would bring us joy before our loss. Your best friend getting a positive pregnancy test.
Seeing a post on social media about a baby being born.
Passing the baby section at a retail store.
Being invited to a baby shower.
These are all things that trigger grieving parents and the worse part of it is that we don’t want to be triggered by those things. These aren’t things that would get under our skin before we lost our babies. We would leap for joy when our best friend announced her pregnancy. We would be so happy that a baby was a born. We would smile as we passed the tiny onesies in the store. We would be excited to attend a baby shower. The truth? It upsets us. It breaks our heart. We feel jealousy, bitterness, maybe even anger. And that makes us feel even worse because those are things that we feel shouldn’t trigger us. We feel guilt and shame for having negative thoughts about a positive moment in someone else’s lives. And it’s not fair. Not a single part of losing our baby is fair. There are things that trigger us that are easier for us to understand like when someone minimizes our loss or is just being unkind. The sad part is, even then sometimes we leave the conversation feeling crazy or confused about what someone said to us. I didn’t realize that there was such an uncomfortable expectation in the air when it came to baby loss. The first time I heard someone say, “At least you know you can get pregnant.” I wanted to punch them in the face. I was so angry and so confused. I was hurt and felt so alone. We hear statements like that all the time.
“At least you have other kids.”
“At least you can always adopt.”
“At least you didn’t know your baby.”
Those at least statements are coming from a place of someone else trying to not only make themselves less uncomfortable but also to comfort you. The problem is that it doesn’t comfort us. It minimizes our loss, our feelings, our baby’s life and in the end disconnects us even further from everyone and everything.
Being self-aware about your triggers is not only going to help you see your grief as a whole, but also help you manage them. Remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with how you feel. Whatever your grief looks like to you is normal for you. You have every right to have the feelings you have, and I don’t want you to feel shame, or guilt, or any negative feelings about your grief.
About Hailey Ricks
Hailey is a mother, wife, author, poet, and advocate for pregnancy and infant loss. She has made it her mission in life to support other grieving parents, spread awareness and break the silence attached to pregnancy and infant loss. Her belief is that your baby matters no matter the gestation, stage, or age of loss. Her hopes are to end the stigma attached to pregnancy and infant loss and to make her readers feel less alone. She is also the founder of the Stillborn Still Loved Foundation. Her book Stillborn Still Loved is available on Amazon and her website www.StillbornStillLovedFoundation.org