trigger warnings.

If you’re on pregnancy or baby boards, you’ll often see threads with the term *trigger warning*. Women put that before asking a question about sensitive topics, like miscarriage or still birth. I’m in a preemie parent Facebook group and I see a lot of *trigger warnings* there, too, and it always confused me a bit, mainly because here we are with healthy, happy babies – what is so sensitive or triggering about that?

Then, this morning, a woman posted asking about what we liked about our preemie birth experience. She’s preparing for a potential premature birth and is writing a “birth plan” for things to make the experience less traumatic.

At the end she apologized if it was a trigger for anyone.

As I sat there thinking about Charlie’s birth, and even writing down a couple of things that I thought she should think about (delayed cord clamping, for example), I found myself sitting in tears and ended up deleting my response. I just couldn’t respond for whatever reason. Not without over-explaining, without feeling like I had to also share the extreme emotions that went along with all of it.


7 hours old.


We’re two short months away from Charlie’s first birthday. I always read the first birthday of a preemie was hard and can also be a trigger. Again, a concept I didn’t initially understand, but one that is starting to finally make sense as we make the approach to his 1st birthday and it’s only natural I start to recall the events surrounding his birth in more detail.

While he was a little fighter and surprised everyone with his large size (4 lbs  12 oz for a 32 weeker is awesome!) and strong set of lungs . . . his entrance into this world was still too early and not ideal. He still spent his first three weeks in a hospital. He was still whisked away from me, the only person he had known for 9 months 7 months actually, to be poked and prodded and have IVs and PICC lines put in.

The first video S brought to show me of him while I waited in recovery, was of the nurses trying to adjust his CPAP mask and he was hitting and kicking.

That’s SO my Charlie.

And it breaks my heart.

(To this day he hates, HATES, his face messed with. Sometimes I wonder if it’s related.)

Anyway . . . Charlie might not remember any of it, but I do.

And if anyone replies to me to say, “but you have a healthy baby!”

To you I say:

Yes, I do.

I am so very, very lucky. 

I count my blessings everyday.

But . . . it still doesn’t change the fact I experienced trauma around his birth. Take everything you can think of from a “traditional” birth and I didn’t get to experience a single one. Not a single thing.

I don’t look back on our time in the hospital and think how sweet it was. Or wish we were back there.

The time in the hospital was terrifying for me.

And that’s hard, because that’s not how it’s “supposed” to be when babies are born.

And that is all. No real point to this post except I’m feeling kind of “triggery”.

I’m sure you’ll be seeing lots more posts the week leading up to his first birthday in April as well, so just brace yourselves as I work through my issues!


  1. I wish I could give you a great big hug right now and assure you it gets easier. And after the first birthday, it did…for me. We all have our own journey with preemies and it may take longer but, up until Brady’s 1st birthday passed by everything from the week before and the hospital stay replayed in my mind. Like you, I felt grateful, but I also felt slighted at having this “normal” birthing experience taken from me. Nothing can ever prepare you for leaving your baby in the hospital and going home without him/her. You won’t know what having a preemie is until you have a preemie. There’s nothing you could have said or should have said to the person posting about making a potential preemie birth less traumatic. I don’t even think retelling your experience can help someone grasp what it’s really like. It’s one thing to empathize but an entirely different beast to live through it. And somehow, you do make it through to the other side.

    • Thanks for this, Kelly! 🙂 It’s a hard thing to work through because you have to balance being grateful for a good outcome versus the disappointment from not having the experience you expect. Charlie’s 1st will be bittersweet, but looking forward to being able to grant myself some peace over the situation.

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