Dear Courageous Mamas,
This U.S. election season just keeps getting more turbulent: more divisive and more anxiety producing for many people across the United States for multiple, and often very personal, reasons. But I’ve heard from many mamas that last week’s debate was particularly triggering for them due to the political rhetoric around the subject of abortion. And, of course, both sides of this difficult issue have hammered the subject since, seemingly oblivious to the impact on our Courageous Mamas.
Pregnancy After Loss Support is an inclusive community. We support all loss moms, and we don’t compare those losses, nor do we judge each other. Each of you mamas is precious. Your journeys are unique, and we hope you feel validated in this community. As we approach the last several weeks of this election season, I want to take a moment to check in with you and make sure you know that we see you, we support you, and PALS is a safe place for you.
As Elizabeth Thoma, one of our contributors, recently wrote, “To the Courageous Mama who made the heartbreaking decision to end a pregnancy, we see you. We see the love you have for your child. We know that you made that decision out of love in an impossible situation. That’s what mothers do.”
To the Courageous Mama who made the heartbreaking decision to carry to birth after a life-limiting diagnosis, we see you. We see the love you have for your child. We know you made that decision out of love in an impossible situation. That’s what mothers do.
To the Courageous Mama who received heartbreaking news that your child died before birth, we see you. We see the love you have for your child. We know you’re moving forward despite an impossible situation. That’s what mothers do.
To the Courageous Mama whose baby died in the NICU, from SIDS, or from other causes, we see you. We see the love you have for your child. We know you’re moving forward despite an impossible situation. That’s what mothers do.
To all of our Courageous Mamas, we realize that your loss may have impacted your beliefs about abortion. For some, your own loss has solidified your belief in the right to choose; for others, your loss has solidified your belief that life begins at conception and should not be terminated for any reason. Your own personal experiences have shaped your beliefs and brought you to this place. We respect and validate you, affirming your beliefs, whatever they are.
Courageous Mamas, we encourage you to protect your hearts right now. No matter your journey or your beliefs, the language being used by politicians and their followers can be triggering and hurtful. Therefore, we hope that one or more of the following coping strategies may help you get through the next few weeks:
- Avoid television news, political speeches, newspaper articles, and blogs on topics of the election, specifically abortion. If the political ads are triggering, turn off the television completely.
- Hold your story close to your heart. Many women are sharing their stories to help create dialogue over this very divisive topic, but you do not have to be one of them. You are no less brave by protecting your story.
- Tell your story. If you feel the way to best protect your heart is to explain how your experience has influenced your beliefs, share your story. But, understand that may open the door to discussion, so proceed cautiously.
- Un-follow friends on social media who are extremely vocal about topics you find triggering. You can re-follow them after the election. If you find social media to be too triggering, take a break. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will all be there after the election.
- Watch copious amounts of feel-good shows and movies on Netflix or other streaming services.
- Find a few people who can be your coping tribe. You can make the topic off-limits or a safe place to share how the political rhetoric is affecting you.
- Practice kindness toward yourself and others.
- Vote. Have your voice heard, even if you’ve turned inward to cope.
We at PALS will continue to work to keep our support groups safe havens for all moms pregnant again after a loss. We encourage you to find the support group that best fits your situation. For instance, mamas who have terminated for medical reasons, there’s a group just for you. See our Private Support Groups page to see all of the groups available, including a private non-Facebook group at SmartPatients. If you need a break from social media, that may be a good option for you.
So much love to all of you brave, Courageous Mamas.
Valerie Meek and the PALS Team