PTSD From Losing A Child Is Real And Misunderstood 


When people think of PTSD they usually picture a war-torn veteran, struggling to adjust to civilian life.

While this picture is not wrong, it doesn’t encompass the whole population of sufferers.

Mothers who have lost their children experience a kind of grief that is lingering, relentless, and often debilitating.

Being pregnant connects you with your child in a way you have never felt before, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

You imagine what the little human growing inside of you will look like; you feel their movements as they strive to gain control over their bodies, and you nourish them with every nutrient your body can spare. 

Mothers who lose a child find it difficult to break the deep bond that is formed beginning at conception, and to stop ruminating on the moment their life changed forever. 

Caila Smith, writing for Scary Mommy, lost her daughter to SIDS when she was only four months and two days old. 

Trying to make it through life without going back to the memory of her child’s lifeless body has been a seemingly insurmountable challenge.

The Mayo Clinic defines PTSD as follows:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.”

Caila has PTSD, a disorder that can be triggered by any experience or image that reminds her of the traumatic event. 

Recently, a meme that was circulating on Facebook popped up on her feed, and it hit too close to home. 

The meme pictured a brain realizing the baby is quiet and then the mom resting feeling that the baby had finally fell asleep. Then it is followed by the brain getting the intrusive thought that the baby may be dead, and the mom waking up in a panic. 

While the meme was seemingly created in jest to show how moms live in constant worry of their babies, it provoked so much more emotion for Caila. 

Spilling her heart out in the comments section, being “raw, transparent, and somewhat vulnerable” as she put it, Caila had hoped to bring awareness that the meme was a trigger for mothers who have lost their babies.

But the reactions were different than she had expected. 

Sounds like you need to work on your PTSD,” wrote one user, while another commented, “You can’t be offended by everything , this isn’t offensive.”

Caila couldn’t believe what she was reading. In one swift stroke of the keyboard, strangers dismissed a bereaved mother who was reaching out about her pain. 

You don’t have to agree with Caila’s opinion of what is offensive or not, but showing some compassion for a fellow mother grieving over a loss that is unimaginable shouldn’t be too much to ask. 

Knowing what to say to someone who has lost a loved one is not easy, but can be accomplished simply with a few guidelines, as Mommy Underground has previously reported.

The next time a mother is triggered by the her PTSD from losing a child, try to be compassionate to her process, even if it doesn’t make sense to you. 

Please let us know in the comments section if you have PTSD from losing a loved one, and what your journey of healing has been like. 

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