I dealt with a lot of losses last year.
The first one was when I split with my long-time boyfriend after finding out that he was sleeping with a co-worker — my co-worker. He said that the woman made a move on him and that he was a weak man, but I refused to buy that. No one would get seduced if they did not want to be drawn. Hence, with a heavy heart, I moved out of the house and got an apartment on the other side of the town.
I also left my workplace at that time. My ex went public with his mistress, and I could not bear the pitiful looks that my colleagues kept on giving me. It was a little hard to quickly find a job, so I went from being a marketing specialist to a waitress for at least a month to pay my rent.
If those weren’t enough, my mother fell ill and passed away a couple of weeks after losing my job. It turned out that she had known about her cancer but never told any of us about it. As the eldest child, I had to prepare everything for her wake and funeral and support my father and younger sisters emotionally.
Despite all that, I hardly shed a tear in front of other people. I wanted them to see that I was tough, that nothing could make me cry. But I could not help but break down when I experienced heavy bleeding another month later, to the extent that I need to call 911 and be brought to the hospital. There, I heard two terrible news:
1. I had a miscarriage (hence the bleeding).
2. I got diagnosed with endometriosis, which caused the miscarriage.
At the time, I did not feel ashamed to cry anymore. I bawled painfully in my hospital bed; I refused to talk to anyone, not even to my doctor. I would have cried for hours if the doctor did not order the nurse to give me a mild sedative to calm me down. After all, I already lost so much, and that felt like the final straw.
When I woke up, I was already nighttime. I was alone and still a little disoriented; however, feeling my slightly damp pillow indicated how much I probably cried after finding out the diagnosis. I hugged my belly, realizing that my baby was no longer there. I only found out that it existed when it was already gone. That’s something I would regret forever.
I also regretted not learning about my endometriosis long ago. I felt discomfort in my middle section for years, but I always charged it to menstrual cramps, so I never had it checked. If I knew from the start about it, my baby might still be alive.
The next day, my doctor came to my hospital room, showing her sympathy towards me. She said, “I would never tell you that I understand how to feel even if I miscarried my first child, too, since every woman has a unique experience. I can tell you that I am here if you want to talk, or I can recommend you to a psychologist I have known for a long time. She may be able to help you get through your emotions before they get the best of you.”
I could only nod at that point, but another doctor – the psychologist – visited me later that afternoon. When she asked, “How do you feel?”, I did not know what to tell her.
The psychologist noticed my hesitation, so she uttered, “It’s okay to let me know if you are not okay. You are in a safe space – I will never judge you.”
That’s when the floodgates opened. I told the psychologist every awful thing that happened to me throughout the year, from the time I split with my cheating boyfriend until now. It was challenging to speak up when you’re almost choking in your tears and snot, but the psychologist merely sat there and waited until my story was over.
Once I was done, she offered me a hug, making me cry some more as she reminded me of my mother. If Mom were alive, she would never leave my side. When the psychologist talked, she said, “It’s evident that you have been hiding your feelings from everyone for a long time now. That’s not ideal for your mental health – you need to express your emotions when you feel them. I’m glad that you cried when you learned about your miscarriage and health condition – you should have done that earlier.”
The psychologist scheduled me for grief therapy sessions for three months to further cope with my losses. My perspective changed since then, and I became more expressive towards my family and friends. My sisters cried the first time they found out about my experiences and then later scolded me for keeping them in the dark for long. Still, what matters was that I already learned my lesson: it’s okay not to be okay sometimes.