10 stars who broke the silence around pregnancy loss

In short: you’re not alone.

Warning: the following discusses pregnancy loss, fertility struggles, trauma and other subjects that readers may find triggering.

According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, roughly 15 to 20% of pregnancies in this country end in miscarriage. It seems a surprisingly high statistic but only when juxtaposed with how little pregnancy loss, and its resulting trauma, are discussed.

What’s certain is that having a miscarriage is nothing short of devastating and, until recently, most have been dealing with the difficult emotional and physical aftermath alone and in silence. Often within that silence are feelings of loneliness and isolation, of anger, and even of guilt and shame. But over the last few years, several well-known figures have stepped forward to share their own painful stories of child loss in hopes of not only breaking the taboos around the subject, but also standing in solidarity with those experiencing depression and grief.

So in honor of Bell Let’s Talk Day, we’re taking a look at just some of the people who have spoken out to both share their experience and support others in the wake of their own miscarriages.

Chrissy Teigen

In September 2020, not long after celebrating the news of her third pregnancy with the world, the American model and author shared a heartbreaking Instagram post announcing that she and husband John Legend had lost their son, Jack, at just 20 weeks.

Teigen’s devastatingly candid photos from her time in hospital struck a chord and led to many others sharing similar stories in solidarity with her loss. She has continued to talk candidly of her experience, including in an heartbreaking personal essay for Medium published one month later.

In it, Teigen wrote of the importance of documenting her pain and of the innumerable words of kindness and support she had received for doing so:

“The worst part is knowing there are so many women that won’t get these quiet moments of joy from strangers,” she said. “I beg you to please share your stories and to please be kind to those pouring their hearts out. Be kind in general, as some won’t pour them out at all.”

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Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex

In an emotional op-ed for The New York Times, the Duchess of Sussex revealed she had suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage in July 2020 while holding her first child.

“After changing [Archie’s] diaper, I felt a sharp cramp. I dropped to the floor with him in my arms, humming a lullaby to keep us both calm, the cheerful tune a stark contrast to my sense that something was not right,” Markle recounted. “I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”

Though privacy can be hard to come by for the Royal couple, the Duchess felt it incredibly important to share her story publicly so that others going through a similar experience might feel less alone. Especially during the pandemic, she encouraged loved ones to reach out and to speak out.

“In the pain of our loss, my husband and I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered from miscarriage,” she shared. “Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning … I realized that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, ‘Are you OK?’”

Pink

When the singer revealed she was pregnant with her daughter on Ellen DeGeneres in 2010, she explained she’d been hesitant to share due to the fact she’d experienced a miscarriage in the past.

Pink has since opened up even further, telling USA Today in 2019 that she writes songs to deal with the pain.

“When that happens to a woman or a young girl, you feel like your body hates you and like your body is broken, and it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do.”

Along with her songs, Pink credits therapy with helping her deal with the confusing emotions in the aftermath of her loss.

“I think it’s important to talk about what you’re ashamed of, who you really are and the painful s***. I’ve always written that way.”

Beyoncé

Queen Bey told her story of pregnancy loss in her 2013 HBO documentary called Life Is But A Dream. The Freedom singer revealed that she and husband Jay-Z had suffered a miscarriage prior to the birth of their daughter, Blue Ivy:

“About two years ago, I was pregnant for the first time. And I heard the heartbeat, which was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life. I picked out names, I flew back to New York to get my checkup and no heartbeat.”

She later explained to Oprah why she thought it was important to share her experience publicly.

“There are so many couples that go through that and it was a big part of my story,” the Lemonade singer said. “It’s one of the reasons I did not share I was pregnant the second time, because you don’t know what’s going to happen. And that was hard.”

In 2020, as part of an ELLE cover story, Beyoncéelaborated on how her experience with pregnancy loss had changed her overall outlook on life. “Success looks different to me now. Having miscarriages taught me that I had to mother myself before I could be a mother to someone else.”

Michelle Obama

The former first lady shared her struggles with infertility and pregnancy loss in her 2018 memoir, Becoming. In its pages, Obama revealed that she had suffered a miscarriage and that both of the couple’s daughters, Sasha and Malia, had been conceived through IVF treatments.

She spoke with Good Morning America host Robin Roberts about the importance of speaking up about both the event itself and its effect on her mental health. Citing this passage in her book:

“I felt like I failed, because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were, because we don’t talk about them. We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken.”

She went on to explain how important it is for women to share their stories and their experiences. “I think it’s the worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work, and how they don’t work.”

Lily Allen

The British singer has been incredibly open about her experiences with pregnancy and child loss, having suffered a miscarriage in 2008 and then had a stillborn son in 2010.

She wrote her 2015 song “Something’s Not Right” in memory of the latter, sharing in a Twitter post: “Five years ago today I was admitted to hospital. Four days later I delivered a beautiful baby boy, but sadly he didn’t make it. It’s unlike me to discuss this sort of thing so publicly but I wrote this song in his memory.”

Allen also spoke to The Telegraph about the difficulties she faced in coming to terms with her earlier miscarriage.

“I just didn’t deal with it at all,” she explained. “I didn’t even start beginning to deal with it until the baby’s due date. Then it just hit me like a house collapsing. The week before the due date, all I wanted to do was talk about my baby, but I also felt I shouldn’t.”

As a result of her tragic losses, the singer has used her platform to encourage fans to donate to organizations that support those affected by similar situations, like U.K. charity Sands.

Alanis Morrissette

Canadian singer-songwritter Morissette spoke about her fertility struggles with Dax Shepard on his Armchair Expert podcast. “Not all of it was the ideal situation,” she explained. “I had a bunch of miscarriages.”

Despite the repeated devastations, the musician talked about using trust to lift her up when she was most down.

”I have this trust pilot light thing that keeps cooking along – even when there’s a torrential downpour it’s still flickering – of hope and faith and vision for something to work out, whatever it is.”

In a July 2019 interview with SELF magazine, Morrissette delved further into the “grief and fear” she’d experienced, explaining: “I … learned so much about my body and biochemistry and immunity and gynecology through the process. It was a torturous learning and loss-filled and persevering process.”

James Van Der Beek and Kimberly Brook

The Dawson’s Creek star took to his Instagram in 2018 to share the couple’s heartbreaking story “in an effort to chip away at any senseless stigma around this experience and to encourage people who might be going through it to open themselves up to love and support from friends and family when they need it most.”

The actor, who was expecting his sixth child with wife Kimberly at the time of the post, talked about the losses they’d experienced along the way. In particular, Van Der Beek took issue with the word itself: “miscarriage.”

“First off—we need a new word for it. ‘Mis-carriage,’ in an insidious way, suggests fault for the mother—as if she dropped something, or failed to ‘carry.’ From what I’ve learned, in all but the most obvious, extreme cases, it has nothing to do with anything the mother did or didn’t do. So let’s wipe all blame off the table before we even start.”

He also wanted to emphasize the whirlwind of emotions brought on by the loss (or losses) are normal and are experienced by everyone.

“It’s painful and it’s heartbreaking on levels deeper than you may have ever experienced. So don’t judge your grief, or try to rationalize your way around it. Let it flow in the waves in which it comes, and allow it its rightful space. And then, once you’re able, try to recognize the beauty in how you put yourself back together differently.”

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Carrie Underwood

The country singer told CBS Sunday morning that she’d experienced three miscarriages over a two-year period, from 2017 to 2018. By the time she’d lost her third pregnancy, Underwood was questioning everything. “At that point, it was just kind of like, ‘Okay, like, what’s the deal? What is all of this?’”

Two years later, the musician spoke candidly with Women’s Health about that difficult time in her lifeShe described the painful losses as being a “tough pill to swallow”, but went on to say that they also served as a reminder that not everything is within her control.

“It’s not a dirty secret. It’s something many women go through,” Underwood told the magazine, while explaining why she felt it important to tell her heartbreaking story. In doing so, she felt as if a great “weight” had been lifted off her shoulders.

Hilaria Baldwin

The yoga instructor, author and podcaster shared her miscarriage experiences over several months via her Instagram in 2019.

“I don’t want to keep this from you, just because it isn’t as positive and shiny as the rest,” she posted.

Unflinchingly honest in her description of events, she went on to explain that she wanted to “be a part of the effort to normalize miscarriage and remove the stigma from it.” There should be no feelings of inadequacy around pregnancy loss, and Baldwin herself felt “no shame or embarrassment” because of it.

In a later post, confirming the miscarriage she’d predicted, she wanted to ensure that the “conversation continues to grow and that we stick together through both the beautiful and challenging moments in life.”

Baldwin went on to experience another devastating miscarriage a few months later but the next year gave birth to a son and then welcomed a daughter, via surrogacy, in 2021.

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This article originally appeared on eTalk.ca in January 2022.

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