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Why have I been grieving when nobody died?

October 23, 2018

I used to be an elementary school teacher and ed-tech consultant; now I'm a mom of twins and aspiring children's book author.

This blog is a place for me to write about personal life experiences, gleanings from books I've recently read, past and current DIY projects, and reflective thoughts that need a home outside my heart. Here at HeartEyes, I am opening my heart and eyes to yet another new chapter of my life, and my hope is that by joining me here, your heart and eyes would be opened to a more thoughtful and intentional life.

Hi, i'm tiff!

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I read a lot while I was pregnant.

I read about sleep-training twins, breastfeeding twins, baby brain development, what a woman’s body goes through during a twin pregnancy, recovering from a C-section, necessary gear for raising twins, unnecessary/harmful things for babies that the general population have/use etc. All the practical stuff, I read.

So I knew that having kids was going to flip my life upside-down. I knew I would be exhausted. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be physically painful. I knew I would have less freedom. I knew priorities would change.

It was the weirdest thing, though, because even though I knew all of the aforementioned changes would happen, I could not mentally accept it. I knew life would be different, yet I didn’t expect that I wouldn’t accept it.

This was the weirdest and dumbest feeling to me. Like, “Tiff, why are you fighting what your life has become? You had a healthy pregnancy. You have healthy twins. You have a very-involved and helpful husband. You have supportive siblings, parents, and in-laws. Be thankful and accept it!”

Well, upon months and months of reflection as well as a conversation with my therapist, I learned that I was grieving. I was confused at first because why would I be grieving when nobody died? But my therapist explained,

“With every big life change, it is normal to experience grief as a way to process the change.”

I remembered learning about the stages of grief in my psychology class back in college: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Ah yes, I have definitely experienced all of these in the past 2 years and have recently finally hovered around the acceptance stage.

But why was I grieving? What loss was I experiencing?

Turns out I was mourning the loss of who I used to be – an independent, traveling, productive, working woman, always pushing myself to grow professionally.

But this life of a working woman changed 2+ years ago, upon moving to Illinois and not bringing my job with me.

I became pregnant with twins, experienced prenatal depression which led to postpartum anxiety, suffered from postpartum preeclampsia, recovered incredibly slowly from having a twin pregnancy, all the while trying to keep 2 little humans alive and inching through the 5 stages of grief without family or childhood friends nearby.

I no longer recognized the person I had become. No wonder I was grieving who I used to be.

With all things said and done, I’m glad to have come this far in my recovery process, both physically and mentally. I had a conversation with a friend a while back who told me that when I was ready, I could be the Mom that I want to be, not the Mom that others think I should be. Now that I’m hovering around the last stage(s) of grief, I think I’m almost there and almost ready.

Here’s to my journey of self-discovery – Mom edition.

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  1. Noel says:

    Hi Tiffany,
    I want to tell you how grateful I am for your blogposts. I am not a mother, but I have been going through a grieving process from the loss of a deep friendship.

    I know it may not be the same, but I realize now that the friendship has changed me in a strange way and I too do not recognize the person he has become either.

    I’m glad to see that there is a process, and even if the acceptance may be miles away at this point, at least I know why I am feeling the way I am right now. You’ve answered a lot of my own heart’s questions, I am so thankful to God that I stumbled across your post.

    Your candid honesty is so refreshing to read. Thank you! Please keep writing!

    • Tiffany Chan says:

      Dear Noel, I am so sorry for the loss of your deep friendship. That must be so so hard. We all are fighting our own battles and I hope you find peace and rest at the end of your grieving process. Thank you for your encouragement to keep writing. Supportive people like you really do help keep me going. =)

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Pondering thoughts, personal life experiences, things I love, mental health, marriage life, and everything in between.



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Everything from my birth story to postpartum anxiety and depression, from c-section recovery to mom guilt and judgment. Prepare for raw and emotional posts!


Books + Podcasts

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Gleanings from books I've read and podcasts I've been impressed with, with the occasional children's book recommendations!


DIY Projects

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DIY project tutorials from six years of projects in my home! Very much a work in progress, migrating tutorials from my Instagram page to my blog!


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