Processing Trauma The time I posted a blog I shouldn’t have
CONTENT WARNING: PREGNANCY LOSS
If you happened to read last week’s blog, then you know that I specialize in working with pregnant people + parents who are at risk of developing and/or have a PMAD (Perinatal Mood + Anxiety Disorder). In addition to my own lived experience and years of working with this population, I also have an Honors Degree in Psychology. So PMAD’s is an area that I know a lot about. So you would think I would know better than to post a blog that would spike my followers anxiety when reading it…. But back in 2017, I did just that.
What I was sharing
My first pregnancy ended in a late term miscarriage at 4.5 months pregnant. I was induced and delivered my son Zennon on April 11th, 2014. It was one of the hardest experiences of my life, and every year the weeks leading up to April 11th are hard for me, as the grief becomes harder and my heart feels heavy.
In 2017 as Zennon’s birthday was getting closer I found myself really anxious. At that time in my life, I did not have all the tools and strategies I have now to cope with heightened anxiety. During this particular time I was really struggling to process my feelings…. Enter my blog.
Processing a Trauma on a Public Platform
One of the ways that I would connect with my clients and community was through writing blogs. I had a clear understanding of topics that my clients would want to learn more about and wrote a new blog between 2-4 times a month. As Zennon’s birthday was coming up I found myself struggling to come up with a topic to write about. I felt stressed/anxious/panicky and so badly wanted to get past these feelings. Then I had the idea to write Zennon’s birth story for a blog. I thought, “this is perfect, his birthday is almost here and I can share about the real and raw experience.”
Before going into further details about what happened with this blog, I want to make sure it is clear that I really loved this blog, in and of itself was beautiful. I loved having Zennon’s story written down and was able to process some of the really big feelings I had about it. The story was not the problem, the problem was that I used my business space to process my experience, without fully understanding how reading about pregnancy loss would impact my already very anxious audience.
Receiving Important Feedback
The blog went up the night before Zennon’s birthday. When I woke up the next morning I had received lots of likes and positive comments on the post, and I also received a private message from one of my social media followers… this is what it said:
I read your story about your little one that passed and it brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry you had to go through such a loss…my heart goes out to you
I just want to say that I am also expecting and your story really scared me. I know you wanted to share your story but I’m not sure if sharing it on your page with a bunch of expecting women is the right choice. Please understand that this is my personal opinion and I don’t mean anything bad. Just trying to give you some feedback”
I was gutted, not because I was offended, but because she was right. I tried to rationalize the blog and make myself feel better, but deep down I knew she was right. Writing that experience might have been a great way for me to process my feelings, but it should have remained a blog I keep to myself. There is a time and a place for sharing a story like this. I have contributed to PregnancyAfterLoss.com for example, and that is a great place to share a story about loss.
But my primary business audience is pregnant people with anxiety, and I had just written a detailed summary about finding out my baby’s heartbeat had stopped well into my second trimester, and my experience in giving birth to a baby I would not bring home. No doubt their anxiety would have been high. That’s why this blog is titled “Processing Trauma: The time I posted a blog I shouldn’t have”.
The Importance of Healing Before Helping
At bebo mia, we talk a lot about the importance of processing and healing from our own experiences before supporting clients. This is a big reason why we now offer group therapy at no additional cost to students in our MSP program. We know how hard it is to be in a helping field, and working through our own healing. However it is vital that we feel grounded, secure and safe when supporting our clients, and processing our own experiences is an important part of that.
My blog post from 2017 is a perfect example of what can happen when we haven’t processed fully. If I had the understanding and insight then that I have now I would not have posted that blog publicly. I would have journalled about it and/or shared my experience with some close friends who are there to support me. At the time, I thought the blog was a good idea, but quickly learned for my particular audience that it wasn’t.
We are not always going to get it right
We are not always going to get it right, far from it actually. As each of us move through the world and learn, evolve and grow we will undoubtedly find new triggers. Our boundaries and limits will shift and change over time. Our capacity for support will ebb and flow as will the stress levels of our lives.
We cannot expect perfection as we are all always in process. But we can be conscious of our triggers. We can pay attention to the things that might feel too big, too hard, too heavy or just too much. And when we feel them, we can find ways to get support and to process our emotions. Because when we heal from our own experiences we are setting ourselves, our clients, our children, our families, our communities for success. Because by taking care of our own hearts we are best prepared to take care of those around us.
Have you found supportive ways to process your own feelings and experiences? If so what are they?! Share to comfort of course, but it may help others who are navigating this for the first time! Is this your first time connecting with this topic? Are there areas you feel like you could benefit from processing? Feel free to share your experiences/thoughts in the comments.
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