Whether you’re a recovering alcoholic, drug addict, binge eater, shopaholic, disordered eater … triggers exist everywhere in life and they seem just as prominent in the blogosphere — where we choose what we read (whereas we have limited choice over what we see when we walk, shop, work, eat, etc).
I know at my worst, I couldn’t read some blogs because I felt the blogger was masking disordered eating behaviors , or because the focus was (what I thought to be extreme) weight loss, or because they were not recovered and still struggling (to the point where the posts made me uncomfortable).
I knew what I needed, and those blogs weren’t it. So I deleted them from my Google Reader. I should note that I’ve gone back to some of them. But there are some I just can’t read. It’s nothing personal against the blogger themselves, but more my own frame of reference or, shall I say, where I was at at the time.
The difference with all of these triggers is that most of them are not visible to the naked eye in real life.
Pregnancy, however, is.
After a certain point, you kind of can’t hide it.
On top of the physical presence of pregnancy … between bump-talk and bump-watch … there’s a collective obsession here in the U.S. about the baby bump and as a first-time mom, I have to admit, I am loving seeing my little bump grow.
But that little bump that means so much to me, could be very difficult for someone else to see or read about. Not everyone wears their life history on their sleeves, and we just don’t know what someone else has been through.
For example, over the weekend I read a reallythoughtful and eloquent post by Clare about the baby boom she’s experiencing among friends and family right now and how she is so genuinely excited for everyone, but admitted that it’s hard sometimes since she doesn’t know if she’ll be able to have children herself.
I admire Clare’s strength and positive attitude more than words can express, and love that she can continue those friendships in spite of them being pregnant. I am sure that isn’t easy and it makes Clare an amazing woman for being able to feel what she feels, but still look outside it.
I told Clare in her comments that though I couldn’t sympathize exactly, I could certainly empathize. True, I didn’t struggle with infertility or loss the way so many women do, but we had a whole host of issues that I can’t talk about here that made it difficult for me in the beginning of my pregnancy, specifically, to talk to new moms or soon-to-be-moms or people I knew were trying.
I am the first to admit it’s hard not to be envious when someone else has something you want – especially if it’s something you just cannot have (for whatever reason). I’ve concluded that even good people feel envy from time to time. I think it makes us human.
It was hard to see at first, but I’m realizing now that for some people, the fact that my blog has changed direction might be triggering and bring up some really uncomfortable, sad, maybe even angry feelings for some people. Likewise, seeing a growing baby bump might also be difficult for some people; people you never even realized could be affected. And I need to be mindful of this.
I try not to talk about it too much in real life (except for with family and my closest friends) but my blog is my outlet and a way to chronicle this mind-blowing experience that so many women experience, but few put into words.
So this weekend I thought long and hard about next steps, and what I concluded is that I don’t think hiding my pregnancy on my blog is the solution or censoring things is, either; it’s a huge part of my life right now and 100% relative to body image and my recovery journey.
But I can (and will seek to) be cognizant of the fact that my words might be hard for some readers to grapple with, and I’d completely and whole-heartedly understand why they might need to stop coming around. (Likewise, I’d understand if readers with no interest in this stage of my journey stopped reading; I can’t blame you– pregnancy does not thrill everyone and that’s totally OK).
So going forward, I hope to be as compassionate as I can be for my readers and people I encounter in real life.
It’s a reminder, too, to never take what you have for granted — something this pregnancy has taught me all too well, given how fragile it has been.
How about you? How do you handle triggers (of any kind) in the blogosphere? In real life?