This is an issue I’m learning nearly every loss parent encounters in some form or fashion and I can’t help but feel like it’s an issue we can easily solve. Unnecessary triggers is what I’m going to call them. The formula samples. The social media advertisements. The coupons and flyers for baby products. The need for so many companies to remind me of what I don’t have.
If social media has the power to know I was pregnant, it must also know I didn’t get to bring that baby home.
If companies can know I might be interested in samples of baby products, they should also know that their insensitivity doesn’t remind me Avery died but it makes the pain that much sharper.
Days after we got home from the hospital, Similac sent us what looked like a gift box of formula and other samples. My husband is the greatest man I’ll ever know and always has my best interest at heart. He knows I’m a strong woman but I have a kind heart that breaks easily in this broken world and he does his best to protect it. He hid the gift box in our cabinet, why I don’t know but I’m glad. Weeks later I saw it there when I was looking for a baking dish and I left it there, knowing what it was and assuming what was in it to an extent.
Last month we did some traveling and at one point our kitchen table looked like this. It wasn’t so much that we didn’t have the time to clean or the time to want to clean as much as the flyer that came in the mail one day asking me how my little one’s tummy is doing? Fortunately for that company I did have to organize it eventually and threw it away so I can no longer tell you who that culprit was.
For some reason God decided that this week it was time to talk about these unnecessary triggers. I read a great blog post about how the pregnancy ads don’t stop when the pregnancy does. I read a post on Refuge in Grief about the sheer number of triggers grieving people have to endure. Two instagram friends shared complaints about Similac. That sparked something in me. Obviously Jordan didn’t watch Tidying Up or he would’ve banished the Similac gift box to the trash for not sparking joy when we got it instead of hiding it in the cabinet. Thank goodness he didn’t because I went for it the other night after I heard and read complaints from other moms, and what I opened to find unleashed a fury within in me I wasn’t aware of before.
Well I headed to Facebook to do my sharing.
Their response was underwhelming.
Grieving people are hurting and you are throwing our hurt in our faces, not only reminding me of my pain but magnifying it.
Unnecessary pain on top of pain. Unnecessary hurt on top of hurt. In a world where we have so much information in near realtime, these companies can know better. When people use pregnancy loss hashtags we should not show them ads for baby products. When people get their mail they shouldn’t be sent a gift box of 3 cans of baby formula they not only did not buy but they never signed up to receive. That’s 22.8 ounces of milk powder that could have gone to a baby that needed it instead of them sending it to me and stirring up emotions that I’ve become all too familiar with in the last 4 months. (Yes, I will look to donate after I’ve let myself have all the feelings about it.)
These companies have more money than they know what to do with and technology to achieve goals they haven’t even thought of yet. Can’t they use it to recognize the motherhood I’ve found myself in? In the blog post I referenced above she gives some great settings changes you can make in social media which is obviously helpful for now…
BUT. They can do better. And after all we’ve been through as parents who have just said goodbye to their babies, we deserve better. I shouldn’t have to change my social media settings when tech companies apparently know my every move through their site cookies or whatever. I should not have to open my mail to find baby products I never signed up for.
So to anyone exposing grieving people to unnecessary triggers this message is for you, we see you. I see you and I’m asking that we find a way to avoid exposure of these triggers to mothers that will come after me.
Have we not hurt enough?