Coping With My Triggers After Losing a Child

My day to day life and coping mechanisms, I try and avoid triggers but they're everywhere

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I’ve never been a fan of horror films and ghostie films (apart from Ghostbusters), they leave me scared and unable to sleep properly. Even though I’m a staunch non believer of all things paranormal it still scares me witless! But I like evocative drama, murder mysteries and serial killer insights. I was a huge fan of Casualty, Eastenders, Dexter and CSI.

ThenΒ I had a baby, I got a bit more dewy eyed at sentimental media, even a carefully targeted ad would get me. ThereΒ was now something I had that I couldn’t bear to part with and didn’t want to leave motherless that added a new dimension I’d never previously understood.

Then that baby was diagnosed with a terminal disease. Then I lost a baby early on. Then my baby died. Then I lost another baby whilst simultaneously giving birth to my first healthy child. It was a lot to cope with (That’s the short version. Long version starts here). I began to not cope with certain story lines in soaps. It started with Ronnie Mitchell losing her baby and swapping it with Kat’s. I stopped watching Eastenders with the idea I would pick it up once the story line ran it’s course. Every time I tried there was still some mention, it dragged on. I couldn’t cope. I still don’t watch Eastenders, now more because I don’t know what’s going on, who’s who and it all seems rather silly. I’m also a little bit wary of similar story lines.

Casualty did the same. I forget her name but one of the nurses had a baby then had a car accident where the car fell in a lake and the baby died. I stopped watching, then the minute I tried again there was mention of the baby again. The nurse is contemplating going back to work, is finally getting over it, then she’s in the kitchen, opens a drawer and finds one of her baby’s spoons in her cutlery draw and is reminded again. It was a bit like life imitating art. I stopped watching Casualty.

It’s a bit like that with me now. I’m happy, I have 3 beautiful healthy children and I’m over it (as much as you can be) but every now and again I find the equivalent of a baby spoon in the cutlery draw and the trauma comes back. I don’t want to forget, and I can’t forget. Sometimes I make myself remember, a lot of it has blurred with time but most of it I can imagine as clear as yesterday. I don’t want to live in the past but I don’t want to ignore it either.

I still on the whole avoid sad programmes, soaps, sad films and Casualty. I do like watching real life casualty programmes like 24 hours in A + E, Ambulance (brilliant new programme by the BBC), and 999 what’s your emergency.

I’ve realised now that those instances were triggers, and I wasn’t ready to deal with the emotions and trauma they evoked. I’m more ready now, but still don’t go looking for it. I prefer comedy programmes, light hearted entertainment, positive news. Love Island. There’s something to be said for frivolous TV.

Last night we watched the film Allied with Brad Pitt. I half watched the first quarter with the intention of going to bed. Gradually I put down my book and got engrossed. Then hooked. I had to see the end. Spoiler alert…. I knew it wouldn’t end well. I cried at the end. Usually I cry silent tears in a sad film with a massive lump in my throat, but once it was over I held my husband’s hand and had a good cry. It was cathartic.

There will always be triggers for me. I get more down in summer – I lost Amy and Elouise in the summer time. White feathers and butterflies. Seeing boy girl twins out and about. The Charlie gard case.

I’m not saying I’m ready for Casualty again, but it’s a start.

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  • Reply Rochelle -

    This is such a heartbreaking, but also inspiring read. I think as parents many of us become more sensitive to stories and images after having children, but I can only imagine how difficult it must be after loss like yours. It’s truly inspiring to hear that there is an ‘after’ that can be happy and filled with love.

    August 31, 2017 at 1:03 pm
  • Reply Emma

    This is so moving Jenny. I actually clicked on the link to read it this morning but couldnt do it as I’ve experienced something similar twice mgself. Feeling braver this afternoon I’m glad I did as it’s good to know where not alone. So glad you have your beautiful family and sorry for your heartache xx

    August 31, 2017 at 2:15 pm
    • Reply Midwife and Life

      Thank you Emma xx

      August 31, 2017 at 4:33 pm
  • Reply Honest Mum

    I’m so sorry, thank you for your honesty, it will help others xx

    September 3, 2017 at 10:42 am
  • Reply Laura Tulip

    I wasn’t expecting to see that you’re a midwife after reading this blog (I followed a link straight to this blog and didn’t see it until the end) given how easily that could be a trigger. I can’t imagine what you’ve been through but it definitely sounds like you have excellent mental fortitude and you’re very good at coping with traumer. Good for you πŸ™‚

    September 4, 2017 at 8:17 am
    • Reply Midwife and Life

      After it happened I did go back to work but didn’t like looking after twins. I haven’t dealt with anyone suffering a loss since either, I don’t think I ever could now, I wouldn’t be able to support them properly. My work now is more through this blog than clinically.

      September 4, 2017 at 8:22 am

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