Motherhood: Trigger Warning

Trigger warnings everywhere these days. They’re on Facebook posts, they’re in the opening credits of TV shows, they’re even on college campuses. They’re absolutely everywhere - except where we need them the most - our daily lives.

For moms like me and you, who have lived through trauma and maternal mental illness, triggers can be anywhere, but if we pay attention they do tend to show up in the same few places.

Some of us have Seasonal Affective Disorder and we dread the coming winter.

Some of us struggle around our children’s birthdays each year.

Some of us have deaths we are still processing.

I hated summer. Every year the weather would warm and the fog would descend. Everything was harder. Everything hurt more. My patience thinned and my resilience disappeared. I’d get a horrible cold every.single.summer.

And each year as fall returned I could feel myself coming back to life. There would be one crystal clear crisp day and all of a sudden I could think again! I could process again. I’m more social, I’m more active, and I love being outside. I used to think that fall was the magic. But really it was that summer is a season packed with triggers for me. Until I worked through them, I was a hostage.

Maybe your trigger isn’t an entire season. Maybe it’s a day, a week, a memory, a scent. Maybe you didn’t put all of the pieces together until just now, while you were reading this post. Maybe you’ve known for years.

Living like this is exhausting. It hurts. It hurts us and it hurts our families. None of us would choose this. But is there actually anything we can do about it?


Mama, I swear to you that is does not have to be like this. We can make simple changes in our lives that will allow us to do so much more than merely survive motherhood. We can create space and freedom where there was fear and stress. We can learn to make peace with the lives that we have and actually (really and truly) begin to let things go.

You don’t have to keep blaming yourself, feeling weak, or getting stuck in ‘shoulds’ after every trigger activates your anxiety, depression, OCD, or PTSD. You don’t have to spend days or even months wondering if you’re getting sick again and feeling like you’re failing at motherhood.

It’s time for us to break out of the trigger/response/guilt loop because that loop is bullshit. It doesn’t help us and it doesn’t help our families. It’s not what we actually want, is it? Do you want to be feeling this way?

You can identify your triggers.

You can learn to minimize them.

You can create a strategy that will support you during and after the event.

And you can model self-care for your children and show them what healing looks like.

This is not the part where I lie to you and tell you I can make it happen in five minutes or that it will super quick and easy. You know better than that.

We’ve all been through too much for any of us to be less than totally honest. This is going to take work, yes. But it’s never as much or as hard as you think it will be. And you don’t have to do any of it alone.

I created a five minute video and a worksheet that will help you get started. It’s totally free. Why? Because I’ve been where you are. Download the worksheet. Watch the video. Start feeling better.  Learn to disarm your triggers, today. 

Graeme Seabrook