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Triggers: how to recognize them, face, them, and deal with them!

Triggers: how to recognize them, face, them, and deal with them!

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Childless not by Choice, where my mission is to recognize and speak to the broken hearts of childless not by choice women, and men, around the world.  Civilla Morgan here. I am spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life, although we could not, did not, have the children we so wanted.

Welcome to episode 94!

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Episode content:

As I did the research for this episode, I realized there are quite a few types of triggers! Of course, because our podcast concentrates on childlessness not by choice, I am always concentrating on the triggers that affect us. The negative things people say and do to highlight our childlessness, whether unknowingly or on purpose.

But research showed that there are of course sexual assault triggers, there are PTSD triggers, there are emotional triggers, and the list goes on. But then there are also what I call individual triggers. For instance if as a child, you were abandoned by your parents whether literally or figuratively; as an adult, you can have abandonment triggers where if you are stood up for a date or someone does not return your phone calls or no longer wants to be your friend, you may not handle the separation or feelings of separation very well.  

Another ‘individual’ trigger might be having to endure the silent treatment as a child. If a parent were mad at you they would stop talking to you for a certain amount of time. As an adult, this silent treatment by a spouse or co-worker can create a triggering event.

What I noticed with many of these examples were that they were created in childhood.

This is where I believe our triggers as childless not by choice women may be different.  Our triggers happen once we are adults and hoping to be able to start a family, only to find out that we will never have the family we desired. We find out typically after a doctor’s appointment where we hear the bad news that we have been diagnosed with–insert diagnosis here–.

We then start to navigate a new journey, one we did not expect to have to. We slowly come to the realization that having children was never a guarantee. It took me a long time to come to that realization!

Yes, I know there are some women who knew when they were children that they would not be having any of their own. Typically because of something that happened to them as children or something they witnessed. Again, there is that common denominator: a childhood event.

But I still believe childless not by choice triggers are an adult event. So what are examples of childless not by choice triggers?

These are based on personal experience as well as the experiences childless not by choice women have advised in our group, that they have experienced:

  • Family members call out your childlessness in public by asking when you will be having children, advising you they are waiting for the next baby.
  • Family and friends who allowed you to have a relationship with their children, and then out of the clear blue stopped the relationship from continuing.
  • Family and friends who make passive aggressive comments about your childlessness.
  • Strangers who ask if you have children and then prolong your response with their heartless or thoughtless commentary.

These are just a few examples.  But the fact is, when any of these things happen, depending on where a childless not by choice woman or man may be in their journey, this type of commentary can send someone into a tailspin lasting a day or more.  

Those of us who have decided to deal with our triggers may not be sent into such a tailspin. We recognize the commentary as a pinprick to the heart versus a horse kick to the heart, as Jody Day so eloquently put it in episode 90:

So how does one get from a days-long tailspin to a temporary pin prick when dealing with triggers? I have said it in previous episodes, but here it is in a nutshell, based on a Google search:


‘First step is to beware of your triggers. Next, recognize when the wave is beginning. Take some simple steps like stopping what you are doing breathe deeply for 5–10 breaths to regain some emotional control. You can teach yourself to limit your emotions.’–Google.

Three questions to consider as you begin to face your triggers:

What are your triggers?

How do you feel when they take place?

How long do these feelings last?


This is an important step. In fact, think about these three question above before a triggering event, when you are in a calm place.  When you do this, you have faced the monster!

Next step: Remember, there is no way to avoid the triggers. In fact, it is not healthy. If you feel you cannot face the trigger or triggers alone, please see a therapist. Once you make the decision to face these triggers, you will feel a weight lift off of your shoulders. You are basically admitting to yourself that you have triggers surrounding your childlessness, and what those triggers are.  

When you admit these things to yourself, they are actually a strengthener to your psyche and even to your character. Remember, you cannot control how someone else treats you, but you can control your reaction to that treatment. When someone says or does something that could trigger you, and you have taken steps toward facing, recognizing, and dealing with said triggers; there is no way those triggers can affect you the same way as if you had not begun to deal with your triggers.

Can you see how important it is to face and deal with your triggers? It is very important. It will take time for you to get from days long tailspins to minutes long pinpricks, but it can happen. It all starts with you.  Isn’t that usually the case?


Be sure to check out the links I listed below.  They were used as research for this episode. I especially liked the article on the Psych Central website, ‘What is a Trigger? By U. of Alberta, Sexual Assault Centre’.

Articles and sites used for the research of this episode:

My contact information:

Website: and

Facebook: booksbycivillamorgan
Twitter: @civilla1
Instagram: @joyandrelevance
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LinkedIn: Civilla Morgan, MSM

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Thank you for listening to this episode of Childless not by Choice. I appreciate it!

Until next time! Bye!

‘To recognize and speak to the broken hearts of childless, not by choice women, and men, around the world.’

 ‘Spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life’.

Sculptor of image used for this episode is called Mélancolie” by Albert Gyorgy Geneva, Switzerland

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  1. I enjoyed this episode! Facing the triggers is so important. Thank you for sharing. I love how you say we cannot control how someone acts or what they say but we can control our reaction. It took me many years of being angry to realize this.

    • Hi Joanna, it is a daily battle for many of us to make our first reaction proactive and not reactive. But it is so worth it. My goal is to get it right most of the time!


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