Hi, readers. I haven’t been posting in a loooong time because I’m writing quite seriously on another platform. It’s fiction, so it’s really taxing, but I have a lot curiosities to satisfy over there so I had to keep updating.
But I’m ninja-ing back in here because I read the previous post by Jin Han, so I decided to taking a break from fiction for some real-life topics. Also, I feel the need to show some solidarity for my bro by baring my heart as well.
Because Jin Han told me that as long as I write something about Japan… This counts? lol.
In January 2013, I miscarried my first child.
I remember it happening right in the middle of class – I was teaching English to a bunch of Japanese high schoolers at the time. I had been spotting and cramping throughout my six-week pregnancy, and that day I knew that something was wrong because it was a lot more painful than what was normal, so I told the JTE (Japanese teacher of English, essentially my teaching partner) that I had to go to the toilet, and I removed myself from class.
We prepared for about two years to have the baby. My husband and I didn’t know how to drive in Singapore, but because we were situated in a more rural area of Gunma, we knew we needed a car before we tried to have a baby. So we shelled out to learn driving from scratch and got a car.
I always had a bad back, so we spent a couple thousand SGD to buy a Sealy mattress (we had one in Singapore) so I could have a comfortable pregnancy, and we also bought a sofa so I wouldn’t have to keep getting up from the floor when I was heavily pregnant. We thought of everything: bought books, went around scouting for gynaes, read up on raising a kid in Japan, stressed out about all the jargon that had to be dealt with in Japanese (and husband didn’t speak Japanese at the time so it was all going to be me).
I was 24 when I fell pregnant, and every night I prayed that I could keep this baby alive because the statistic of ‘one out of four pregnancies end in miscarriage’ constantly haunted me. But I consoled myself saying that I was in my early twenties and miscarriages tend to happen when women get older.
But it happened anyway, right in the middle of my work day.
In the year following my miscarriage I found out that I have a disease called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and the discovery happened because of my miscarriage – I’d started exercising and tried to put on muscle because a part of me thought that my next pregnancy would go smoother if I were healthier (I’ve had a host of health problems since I was a kid), but I ended up having a lot of pain in my joints, and that was when I went to get an ortho consult; and found out I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (Hypermobility Type).
I got all this done in Japan, so if you want to know what it’s like to get a referral letter to go to a big university hospital and have doctors interview you and interns take notes while staring at how far your joints can bend, leave a comment and I will do that post, but honestly I’ve summed the experience up in this sentence lol.
Losing the love of my life wasn’t losing the baby. It was losing an innocence that I didn’t know I had. It was like having a light snuffed out. Permanently.
I spent most of 2013 and 2014 in a very dark place. I cried a lot when I was by myself, when I thought no one was looking. I’m actually a really people person – gregarious, jaunty, affectionate – and I was still that when I wasn’t alone. I felt that I had the responsibility to be that person, because I wanted people (my husband included) to not worry, to think that I was okay. I found a dream – becoming a musical theatre actress – and worked towards it. I went for physiotherapy for my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I sought solace in making music, in teaching, in the wisdom of friends.
But it was hard to be in my head. I remember crying throughout entire showers, for months on end. Everytime I was really alone I would miss my baby. I would think of the way I miscarried – pushing over a toilet, horrified at how I was putting my baby inside a freaking toilet bowl. I would think of the guilt that plagued me when a colleague asked if I’d been down with the flu during the 10 days the doctor told me to go on bedrest, and I said yes: I essentially called my dead baby the flu.
Most of all, in these episodes of utter solitude and pain, I would mourn for the life that I used to lead.
I’d been gregarious. Jaunty. Affectionate. Ceasing to be really, really sucked.
Fast-forward to now. I’m better, though I sometimes still slip into the shadows and think about disappearing because the world is not worth being in, and then I remember that my faith is greater than my feelings, and I choose to hope, because faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Before you think I’m very zai for coming up with a sentence like that, don’t – it’s from the Bible. Haha.) I don’t have children and am not considering any in the near future. I’m still working on being a performer, and might revive my YouTube channel this year with some song covers and vlogs and such.
And in case you’re wondering: nope, haven’t gotten my innocence back. I’ve parted with it forever, but I’ve moved on.
Over the past few years I’ve been very vocal about miscarriage – not just my own, but about how the issue of miscarriage is treated and seen in society. It’s taught me a lot about grief and comfort, and while I don’t wish it on even my enemies I have to say the experience has changed me for the better. I could go on and on about it, but I’ll save it for another day. Also it’s somewhere else on the internet. Today I decided to post here because I thought I could do something just for gaijinhan.com, because Jin Han is my bro, which means his readers are also my people, and I am here to share my shit so you know you’re not alone, and because everyone goes through shit we can’t pretend to not know what it’s like to suffer through the shit, which means it just won’t do for us to be a shit person to another person, because that’s just making the world a shittier place for all of us, so we really have to be the best versions of ourselves – to be the shit – so we can live in a better world.
Sorry for all the heavy stuff we’re just heaping onto you at gaijinhan.com. Hope you stay tuned for more quality content. 😀