10 Celebrities That Have Spoken About Pregnancy Loss
Content warning: This article discusses pregnancy loss and may be difficult to read for those who have suffered a loss or who are struggling with infertility. Here are some resources for those grieving a loss.
For too long, pregnancy loss has been a taboo subject. As a result, sometimes shame accompanies the deep grief in the aftermath of a loss. Suffering a pregnancy loss can be an isolating experience, but the sad reality is that one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. In recent years, high-profile figures have been opening up with their stories, bringing this painful subject out of the shadows. When celebrities speak up about this intimate topic, for many, that candor can mean the difference between feeling alone and feeling understood. Here are the stories of 10 celebrities who have publicly shared their experiences to help to break the stigma associated with pregnancy loss.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
The Duchess of Cambridge opened up about her miscarriage in a New York Times op-ed. In it, she described the experience of learning she was losing her second child as she held her first, as well as the heartbreak that followed."
"Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few. 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. Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning," she wrote.
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend
In 2020, Chrissy Teigen opened up on Instagram that she had lost her third child. The image alone was heartbreaking, but it was Teigen's words that launched a national discussion around the taboo surrounding pregnancy loss.
In her post, she wrote, "We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before."
Teigen shared that they would grieve together with her family, but they would try their best to move on.
She wrote, "We are so grateful for the life we have, for our wonderful babies Luna and Miles, for all the amazing things we've been able to experience. But every day can't be full of sunshine. On this darkest of days, we will grieve; we will cry our eyes out. But we will hug and love each other harder and get through it."
Michelle and Barrack Obama
Former FLOTUS Michelle Obama has used her status to highlight the importance of quality health care for women. In 2011, Mrs. Obama sat down for an exclusive interview with ABC's Good Morning America, where Robin Roberts interviewed her about her experience with miscarriage. Obama's words are profound as she clearly described what so many people with infertility have lived through privately.
"I felt lost and alone, and I felt like I failed because I didn't know how common miscarriages were because we don't talk about them," she says. "We sit in our own pain, thinking somehow we're broken," Obama told Roberts.
Mrs. Obama described the importance of sharing stories like hers, and in the interview, she told Roberts about her journey through IVF.
"So that's one of the reasons why I think it's important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen…I think it's the worst thing we do to each other as women—not share the truth about our bodies and how they work and how they don't work."
Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Jay-Z
If ever there was a woman who can do it all, it's Beyonce. And yet, despite her talent and success, the pain of miscarriage didn't spare her. Blaming oneself for a miscarriage is extremely common so, when a woman like Beyonce steps up and reveals that it happened to her— several times, even— it can help disprove the harmful myth that mothers are at fault.
"Success looks different to me now. I learned that all pain and loss is in fact, a gift," she told Elle UK during an Ask Me Anything session. "Having miscarriages taught me that I had to mother myself before I could be a mother to someone else. Then I had Blue, and the quest for my purpose became so much deeper."
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin
Gwyneth Paltrow and her ex-husband, Coldplay front-man Chris Martin, share two children, daughter Apple and son Moses. While their first two pregnancies progressed in the public eye, Gwyneth revealed that there was a third that had ended in a miscarriage. In an interview with The Mail on Sunday's You Magazine, the famous actress talked about the scary and devastating experience of losing her third child.
"My children ask me to have a baby all the time. And you never know, I could squeeze one more in. I am missing my third. I'm thinking about it," the actress told You Magazine. "I had a really bad experience when I was pregnant with my third. It didn't work out, and I nearly died."
Paltrow and her then-husband pondered what to do next. She told You Magazine, "I think I may have missed the window. I think maybe when Moses was three, I would have done it, but now he's six and such a guy I feel like I'm out of the baby phase. If it happens, it happens."
Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade
The We're Going to Need More Wine author and wife of NBA star Dwayne Wade, opened up in her book about a painful period as she tried to bring a pregnancy to term. She shared with fans that she had eight or nine miscarriages and tried and failed IVF for three years.
"For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant," Union wrote in her book. "I've either been about to go into an IVF cycle, in the middle of an IVF cycle, or coming out of an IVF cycle."
Union told Women's Health that motherhood hadn't been in her plans until she experienced the opportunity to step into the role of stepmum, a role that she loves.
"I never wanted kids," she said. "Then I became a stepmom, and there was no place I'd rather be than with them."
In 2018, the couple shared the blissful news on Instagram that they welcomed a daughter, born via surrogacy.
Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher
In 2020, Carrie Underwood and her husband Mike Fisher opened up about their three miscarriages. In an interview with ET Online, Underwood walked candidly about how she felt angry at God.
"It sounds wrong when you say it, but, it's one of those 'bad things that happen to other people,' you know what I mean?" Underwood told ET. "It's not something that you ever envision yourself having to deal with."
Underwood and Fisher have one son together, but soon after his birth, the couple tried to have more children. Underwood told ET how happy she was when she quickly became pregnant, but that happiness did not last long when her pregnancy sadly ended in miscarriage. Underwood and Fisher would suffer two more miscarriages before they would have their second child in 2019.
"I had an honest conversation with God, and I told him how I felt. I was hurt. I was a little angry, and, of course, you feel guilty for being mad at your creator," Underwood shared with ET. "And I told him we needed something. We needed to have a baby or not, ever, because I couldn't keep going down that road anymore."
Kimberly Brook and James Van Der Beek
James Van Der Beek of Dawson's Creek fame took to his Instagram account back in 2018 and again in 2020 to stand up for families who have experienced the horrible loss of a pregnancy.
Back in 2018, Van Der Beek addressed the stigma of pregnancy loss by writing on his Instagram, "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 poignantly described the kind of pain that is unique to a heartbreaking situation like pregnancy loss, writing, "it will tear you open like nothing else. 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 rationalise 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 recognise the beauty in how you put yourself back together differently than you were before."
Sadly, in 2020, the Van Der Beek family would suffer another loss. Again, Van Der Beek shared the sad news on Instagram. He wrote, "After suffering a brutal, very public miscarriage last November, we were overjoyed to learn we were pregnant. This time, we kept the news to ourselves. But last weekend, once again, 17 weeks in the soul we'd been excited to welcome into the world had lessons for our family that did not include joining us in a living physical body."
The Van Der Beek family is doing a courageous thing by sharing their pain with the world to shine a light on how much more compassion and love is needed around this sensitive topic.
Emma Thompson and Greg Wise
Dame Emma Thompson is a decorated British actress who has graced both stage and screen since the 1990s. While her professional life flourished, her private life met with considerable pain after experiencing pregnancy loss twice, as well as failed IVF treatments.
"I would have desperately liked to have had more children, and it's been a great agony for me," Thompson told the British paper, The Daily Mail. She has been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome and turned to IVF to give birth to her daughter, Gaia, in 1999.
Thompson shared that she had experienced profound grief after her experience with pregnancy loss. She was eventually informed by her doctor that she could not have more children.
"You can't carry about such a pain with you or you would go under," she told Daily Mail. "You've got to do something positive and, goodness me, there is so much to do."
Thompson later became involved in humanitarian work in Africa where she focused on AIDS and poverty.
"You see, doing that answers a need in me so, I suppose it's taking advantage of a very painful situation and turning it into something positive," she shared.
Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg
The Facebook CEO and founder regularly keeps up with his Facebook fans by revealing glimpses into his life. In 2015, Zuckerberg shared the news that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were expecting a baby girl. At the same time, he revealed the fertility struggles that had preceded this happy announcement, including three miscarriages.
"You feel so hopeful when you learn you're going to have a child. You start imagining who they'll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they're gone," Zuckerberg wrote in his post. "It's a lonely experience. Most people don't discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you—as if you're defective or did something to cause this. So, you struggle on your own."
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