Miscarriage is a dirty word among lots of women. We all love to share the beautiful parts of pregnancy, our growing bellies, glowing skin, cute nurseries, and the bravest of us will fess up to ugly parts, like neverending morning sickness, exhaustion, and irritability. But barely ANY women ever talk openly about experiencing miscarriages, which is really unfortunate because they happen much more frequently than people realize and we should be actively working to destigmatize them. In the end, it will help all of us heal and understand this loss so much more if we just share our experiences.
That’s why when Hilaria Baldwin opened up about the fact that she felt like she was in the middle of miscarrying with her sixth pregnancy, it felt like a different kind of social media post. Here was a celebrity who’s built her brand on motherhood, health and, wellness admitting freely that she was probably going to lose her pregnancy and talking about the sense of both loss and gratitude for her healthy, living children she felt. It was pretty revolutionary. 10-15% of all pregnancies end in miscarriages and some doctors think that number is even higher, but not calculated because women may be so early on in their pregnancies they don’t realize they’re miscarrying and think they are having a regular period. The yoga instructor and host of the aptly named Mom Brain podcast explained that though they are very early on in their pregnancy, the baby was not thriving, exhibiting a very low heart rate and minimal rate of growth, both strong indicators that a miscarriage is likely in the first trimester.
Baldwin has been famously open about her pregnancies and family life raising her gaggle of four children under 5 years old alongside husband, actor Alec Baldwin. So she felt the need to share the news about this pregnancy too, even it was not necessarily as happy-go-lucky as the rest. The honesty was refreshing, in part because we so rarely let ourselves talk about how hard it really is to be a mom.
“I always promised myself that if I were to get pregnant again, I would share the news with you guys pretty early, even if that means suffering a public loss. I have always been so open with you all about my family, fitness, pregnancies…and I don’t want to keep this from you, just because it isn’t as positive and shiny as the rest. I think it’s important to show the truth,” Baldwin wrote, “because my job is to help people by being real and open. Furthermore, I have no shame or embarrassment with this experience. I want to be a part of the effort to normalize miscarriage and remove the stigma from it. There is so much secrecy during the first trimester. This works for some, but I personally find it to be exhausting. I’m nauseous, tired, my body is changing. And I have to pretend that everything is just fine — and it truly isn’t. I don’t want to have to pretend anymore. I hope you understand,” she added.
Baldwin’s specific reference to shame and embarrassment is something so many moms mention when they talk about their miscarriages as if they’ve been betrayed by their bodies and are unable to do something we were made to be able to do. But the truth of the matter is that no one is at fault when they suffer a miscarriage, and many women suffer from mental health issues afterward such as grief, depression and, anxiety. The only way to combat these notions and help women suffering from these losses is to be open and honest about our lived experiences and normalize them as much as we can.