If you’re reading this then you really are a true friend, because I haven’t been broadcasting very much on social media lately, so you really had to dig to find this.
Here’s the truth. In late May, I had a miscarriage, and my life hasn’t been the same since.
I’ve hesitated to share about our miscarriage publicly for a few reasons, one of them being that I don’t usually get this personal on my blog. But the main reason is that my grief is still in process (and probably will be for the rest of my life). I often default to rigid, perfectionist tendencies that leave no room for gray areas or anything that’s in process. These tendencies have made it difficult for me to share what’s really been going on in my life the past 7 months. I have neither lessons nor encouragement to share, and it almost feels wrong to publish something that’s so raw, so incomplete (even though I started drafting a version of this blog in August).
So why now?
It’s definitely not that I’ve moved on, or that I’m stronger or wiser, or that I’ve learned any grand lessons or truths in all of this mess. It’s not that I stopped being angry, or depressed, or anxious.
Even though I hate to call it a lesson, one thing I’ve realized over the past few months is that I can never go back to how I was before our miscarriage. People talk about “feeling like themselves again” or “getting over it.” I have a hard time relating to such sentiments, since I am now different than I was.
I’ve found some ways to cope, get through my days, and even find joy in small things. Like cooking, and irreverent podcasts, and amateur candle-making, and zumba, and “The West Wing,” and the terrifying works of my dear old friend Stephen King. And of course the antics of my husband and dog (two separate beings, in case anyone was confused). But I think I’ve given up hope that one day I’ll wake up feeling “back to normal.” Since I’m closer to accepting this as my new normal, I guess I figured — why wait any longer to share my story?
There is always great risk in vulnerability (especially the virtual kind), and there are so many ways people can unintentionally wound a grieving mother. I’ve been protecting myself lately by staying off social media. But I’m poking my head out today because there’s never going to be a perfect time to tell my story, and this is still the best way I know how to do so.
Why no Christmas cards?
One of my favorite holidays is coming up, and I had envisioned this Christmas looking very different. If all was well with the world, I would be 8 months pregnant. My husband Chris and I would probably be sending out cards with a smiling picture of us and my sizable baby bump. Everything from our families to our nursery to our calendar would be getting ready to welcome a little January baby into our lives. There’s a good chance I’d still be blogging, doing creative writing, going to church — the list goes on.
I started to put together a Christmas card and found myself Googling things like:
Christmas cards when you don’t feel like telling anyone you’re joyful or merry or bright or that Christmas is worth celebrating
Christmas cards when you’re not happy
Wishing Christmas cheer when all is dark
Unsurprisingly, my search didn’t yield much.
I realize now that there must be so much untold sadness — as well as joy — behind the smiles in the holiday cards I receive from beloved family and friends each year. We’re all hurting in some way, even if our pain isn’t obvious. With the help of good therapy, I’m trying, really trying, to learn how to hold both pain and joy together at the same time.
In the meantime, it just didn’t feel right for me to send out a card that showed only the joyful parts of 2018 for the Ahn family.
Please know that, card or no card, I care about you, and sincerely wish you a happy holiday season. And if “happy” is just not possible for you right now due to your own sadness or grief, then I wish you moments of warmth, comfort, and companionship in the midst of your pain. Maybe our Christmasses don’t have to be 100% merry. Maybe the new year doesn’t have to be 100% happy (in fact, I’m pretty sure it won’t be). Maybe each holiday, each season, each year is just composed of many moments that span the entire range of human emotion. Maybe it’s OK to acknowledge each of those moments, whether we put them in a Christmas card or not.
Thank you so much for checking in. I’ve missed connecting with you through this blog of mine.