Coley mentioned in the newsletter this month that adoption is everywhere. Lately, I've felt like every TV show I turn on or movie I rent has some sort of storyline about adoption or unplanned pregnancy. I go to dinner and the people behind me are talking about adoption. The radio station I work for did an entire two hour program on unplanned pregnancy and I had no choice but to listen. I'm constantly getting baby-related mail. Some days, I really really want a break from these emotional "triggers."
On good days, these emotional triggers are frustrating, and can leave me in a funk. On bad days, they can bring on some pretty strong emotional reactions.
So, how do you handle these triggers? Here are some things I do:
- If I'm feeling a strong reaction coming on, I will try to excuse myself for a few minutes. Bathrooms are great for this. So are cars. Sometimes just stepping away from people gives me enough of a chance to calm down.
- Internally praying, reciting a comforting Scripture or quote, or singing an encouraging song. Any of these can help to calm my thoughts and focus me.
- Finding a task to distract myself. This is especially helpful if I'm faced with a trigger at work. Anything that takes significant concentration will do.
- Turning off the TV show/radio, stepping away from the conversation, etc. Sometimes it's hard... especially with adoption themes in shows. But, I'd rather miss the rest of the episode than let it drag me down.
- Send a text to another birthmom. Sometimes just venting to someone who understands makes a huge difference.
- Sometimes, thinking about or looking at a picture of my son helps... other times, I know it would just make things worse. I always keep a few pictures in my purse for times I think it will help.
Unfortunately, these options aren't always available. Sometimes, I just have to deal with it. If I do start crying and I'm with people who don't understand, I just explain that I'm having a hard day. Most people are kind enough not to pry. I also try to remind myself that it's a normal part of the grief process and, next time, I'll be a little stronger for it. Each time I face these types of things, I get a little better at managing them and at figuring out what I need to recover.
What do you do when faced with unexpected triggers?