Trigger warning: Miscarriage and baby loss mentioned. Please be kind to yourself and don’t read this if you have been affected by any of these issues.
Blindsided: To catch or take unawares, especially with harmful or detrimental results.
It has been nearly four years but it still has the power to jump out from nowhere and sweep my feet from under me.
Logging on to Facebook this morning, the last thing I expected to see was the photo of a dead baby. However, someone, I have to assume well meaning, had re-posted a story about the dangers of choking (there might have been more to the story but I couldn’t read on) in one of the forums I belong to, which was illustrated with the picture.
Now, obviously, this is an issue that is very important – as is raising awareness – but, as it turned out, this post was fake. Someone vile created a story – I can’t even think why – and used a photo of this poor baby, which people, clearly without properly reading it or checking its truth, reposted. I know they probably thought that it would somehow help prevent the same thing from happening again – although, from my brief look, it wasn’t that sort of story.
For me, its impact was instant. And brutal.
I felt blindsided.
Sick to my stomach.
I’ve been shaky all day and now have a headache. I’m angry, furious even. I can’t get the image out of my head.
I suffered Post Traumatic Stress (albeit mild) after my first pregnancy ended with a medical miscarriage at 12 weeks. (I’ve written about that here). For months following, what happened replayed it my head every time I closed my eyes. Every time.
For a while, I lacked a filter and kind friends received more detail than was probably right. I desperately needed to explain the full horror of what happened without really thinking about the impact on them. The details clawed at me. I feel a bit like that with this post. Should I be writing it? I can’t tell today.
Much has happened in the interim – another loss, yes, but, joyfully, also a healthy baby, now toddler – and I felt like I was finally walking with less tentative steps on legs that were sturdy.
Of course it still hurts, it always will, but I have been working to create some more positive associations with that time – a project to help other people, mothers, in similar situations, for example.
It was working.
Now the image is back and my legs feel like jelly.
Is this what the creator of the post wanted? I simply can’t fathom what would make someone do this. Did they want to see if people would simply repost? Are they ill? Have they lost a child and are in desperate need of help themselves?
Clearly, there are tough issues in the world, heartbreaking situations, which should be highlighted – and sometimes only a specific image will do it. I understand that and accept that some things will upset me.
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” they say. It’s up to the creators to gage whether the good outweighs any harm that might come of it.
But I would urge everyone to check the story they are re-posting and, even then, try and be sensitive.
Even with this story, the poster could have issued a trigger warning and posted the story in the comment section so that if people wanted to read it they could.
It’s days like this where I wish Facebook had never been invented – or at least I had the willpower to leave it – but I have to remember the good it can also do – especially that particular forum, which has been a lifesaver for me.