My story of miscarriage – Beauty from Imperfections

Nanette reflects on how the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi has helped her see her miscarriages in a new light.

Wabi-sabi teaches me that the true meaning of life is not about accepting imperfections but to seek beauty from imperfections and wholeheartedly embrace these imperfections. When you are vulnerable, you become the most beautiful version of yourself.

How do you describe 2019?

Many years ago I came across the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi – a concept of finding beauty within the imperfections of life. I did not resonate with it then because I always believed things could be better. Maybe one cannot be perfect but one could ALWAYS be better. This endless pursuit of perfection (or betterment) has been the driving force for my personal growth. However, little did I know that this seemingly GOOD motive has gradually become a source of enormous stress to me. It made me focus only on what was not enough about myself and what was missing in my life.

This summer I had my first miscarriage. The pain of losing a baby was indescribable. It is not only about the loss but the whole process of passing through days carrying the lifeless soul inside you up til the surgery and the anxious time waiting to fully recover so you could try again. Nonetheless, it was the shame from the failure of being a mother that devastated me the most. I felt utterly defeated and “imperfect”. This shame kept me silent about the painful experience. In our society, it is almost like a taboo amongst friends and family. Every time when this topic was unintentionally brought up, we had this mutual unspoken understanding that perhaps it was better not to talk about sad things?

Life goes on.

On my 36th birthday, I had my 2nd silent miscarriage. It is called a silent one because there is no symptom nor trace of miscarriage. You only find out the news during the ultrasound scan. Yes, when most people are looking forward to hearing the first heartbeat of the baby, you’d hear the opposite. And yes, life can really hit you the hardest when you are in your most unprepared state. Even though I had my first experience a few months ago, it did not make the second less painful. This time sadness and shame has quickly turned into a deep disappointment, both at myself and at life – as if hope has silently slipped away, no matter how tightly I hold on it. Despair made me want to escape from reality. Why do we have to suffer? What are we trying so hard for?

At my weakest moment, I saw a reflection of light in a shape of heart on my ceiling. That moment I recalled wabi-sabi and the book “Love for Imperfect Things” that my husband got me after hearing me blabber on and on about this ancient philosophy. I realised sorrow and pain made me overlook the joy, both the physical and mental joy of celebrating life when we learnt about the pregnancy. Without these experiences, I would not realise how ready we are for parenthood and how grateful we are to be there supporting each other unconditionally.

Wabi-sabi teaches me that the true meaning of life is not about accepting imperfections but to seek beauty from imperfections and wholeheartedly embrace these imperfections. When you are vulnerable, you become the most beautiful version of yourself.

I still feel defeated and broken yet I know I am on the journey to be a more loving and caring person. Instead of forcing myself to forget the grief, I choose to move forward with it and embrace my flaws proudly and no more in silence.

2019 is surely an imperfect year!

To welcome the new decade, I’d gift myself, my dear family, friends and all women having similar experiences a quote by the author Haemin Sumin*:

“It’s okay that you have flaws. How could our lives be as clean and white as a blank sheet of paper? Life naturally takes its toll on our bodies, our minds, and our relationships. rather than choosing a life in which you do nothing for fear of making a mistake, choose a life that improves through failure and pain. And shout out loud to your struggling self, I love you so much.”

Nanette Lam

31.12.19

 

* Love for imperfect things, by Haemin Sumin.  Published by Penguin Life, January 2019

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