5 Key Lessons from Hundreds of Celebrity Miscarriages
No one is immune from a miscarriage.
Posted July 13, 2021 | Reviewed by Abigail Fagan
- Celebrities are increasingly speaking out about their experiences of miscarriage, which helps some people cope with their own losses.
- People coping with pregnancy loss can remember that they are not alone, that it wasn't their fault, and that grief is different for everyone.
- Celebrity stories of miscarriage also highlight the different ways that people can build families.
“My miscarriage was one of the loneliest experiences of my life. I hadn’t told anyone I was pregnant yet, so no one knew I miscarried, and no one was calling to help me feel better. Then I read Chrissy Teigen’s miscarriage story, and I felt less alone.” —A.K
So many of my patients have told me similar stories that I did an online search and found over 50 public personalities who have shared their miscarriage loss openly. Celebrities may not be friends or family, but it feels like they are. We may feel we know celebrities personally because they’re so familiar to us. When they talk about their losses and hardships, we listen and care. And when their feelings echo ours, we are reassured, and if they give advice, their lessons are remembered and considered.
Many celebrities, of course, choose to be private about their fertility and family building journeys, but those who share their experiences help others to deal and heal. Here are some of those names:
- Bethenny Frankel
- Carrie Underwood
- Chrissy Teigen
- Claire Holt
- Gabrielle Ruiz
- Gabrielle Union
- Gwyneth Paltrow
- Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness
- James Van Der Beek and Kimberly Brook
- Jana Kramer
- Keanu Reeves
- Kristie Alley
- Lauren and Nick Carter
- Lisa Ling
- Lisa Marie Presley
- Ludacris and Eudoxie Mbouguiengue
- Meghan McCain
- Michelle Branch
- Michelle Obama
- Nicole Kidman
- Wendy Williams
Each person has come out with a statement or has addressed their miscarriage to their fans and community. Here are some of the key lessons learned from these messages and what you can take away from them.
1. You are not alone.
The first thing most celebrities want you to know is that if you are grieving about pregnancy loss, they understand because they’ve been there too.
After Lauren Carter had a second-term loss, her husband, singer Nick Carter, tweeted, “I’m heartbroken.” Lauren wrote, “If you are struggling to start a family or have had a loss this post is for you, you’re not alone and there is always hope.”
When actress Anne Hathaway announced her second pregnancy on Instagram last year, she added that she’d gone through both primary and secondary infertility. She writes, “For everyone going through infertility and conception hell, please know it was not a straight line to either of my pregnancies. Sending you extra love.”
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, perhaps the most outspoken couple on the topic of infertility, mourned their miscarriage just one month after making their pregnancy public. They posted on their social channels, "We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before.” They said they shared their feelings to help others.
Beyoncé told Oprah that miscarrying was, "the saddest thing I've ever been through," and she wanted to share her loss because there are “so many couples that go through that. It is hard.”
Jamie Otis from Married at First Sight gave a suggestion to the community. She had a loss at 16 weeks and posted on Instagram for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. “If you’ve lost your baby early, please know that you’re not alone. Yet, no one talks about it. I hope this can change. I’ll be the first in my circle. You be the first in yours.”
Key Takeaway: Miscarriage is more common than you realize. If you share, you’ll find that others care and might be going or have gone through the same thing but are too nervous to bring it up. According to the National Institutes of Health, 12% to 15% of known pregnancies are lost by week 20 of gestation, and many more were lost before a pregnancy was recognized1.
2. You have your own timeline for grief.
Would it surprise you to know that no scientific study has ever demonstrated that there’s a neat, universal sequence of stages when recovering from grief? Grief is more of a mixed bag of feelings that come and go, and we each work through our feelings at different rates.
When rapper and hip-hop celeb, Xzibit, and his wife, Krista, lost a newborn son, their loss took him away from music for years.
In contrast, Morgan Goodwin, the professional hurdler, told People Magazine that although her and her husband Marquise Goodwin, a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, have lost three babies through miscarriage, and they are still determined to become parents and are not waiting to move forward.
The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend actress Gabrielle Ruiz posted on Instagram that she felt many emotions all at once when she found out she miscarried, “Shocked, numb, confused, practical, overwhelmed, scared, sad, sarcastic, relieved, frustrated, even the thought, 'Oh, this couldn’t be happening to us.'”
On the other hand, Ludacris’s wife, Eudoxie Mbouguiengue, has said she focused on gratitude after miscarriage and “refused to let the enemy win.” She and her rapper/movie star husband now have a daughter, Cadence.
Country star Carrie Underwood told Women’s Health that her three miscarriages in two years, “was a tough pill to swallow. It reminded me I’m not in control of everything."
Key Takeaway: There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and you don’t have to resolve all issues to move forward. Life doesn’t work that way and neither does fertility treatment or the family building journey.
3. It’s not your fault.
Self-blame can be an attempt to increase our sense of control. If we believe that we are responsible for our trouble, we can make ourselves believe that we have the power to fix it by relaxing or having positive thoughts — both good ideas, but not a cure-all. Celebrities’ stories help us understand that a miscarriage is something that happened to you, not something you did.
Michelle Obama echoes this when she talks about her miscarriage in her book, Becoming, “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. 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.”
James Van Der Beek, Dancing with the Stars contestant, at the time when he and his wife, Kimberly Brook, had a miscarriage, he said he worried that the word “miscarriage” 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.”
Big Bang Theory actress Melissa Rauch agrees. ″Miscarriage deserves to be ranked as one of the worst, most blame-inducing medical terms ever,” she writes. “To me, it immediately conjures up an implication that it was the woman’s fault, like she somehow ‘mishandled the carrying of this baby.’”
When Ali Wong miscarried twins, she made the experience part of her comedy routine so women would stop feeling like it was their fault. “I remember I worried what my in-laws would think, which is so crazy. I thought they’d think their son had married a terrible person."
And Christina Perri, the A Thousand Years singer announced her miscarriage on Instagram because she hoped to "help change the story & stigma around miscarriage." She wrote, "I am so sad but not ashamed. ... To all the mothers who have been here and who will be here, I see you and I love you."
Key Takeaway: Blaming yourself for a miscarriage is inaccurate and it adds insult to injury. Be kind to yourself, and when you talk to yourself, substitute a neutral, non-judgmental mantra like: “It was so unexpected” rather “It was my fault.”
4. It can help to share.
You may want your miscarriage to be private because you don’t want unsolicited advice, you don’t want to hear everyone else’s miscarriage stories, or because you feel there is a stigma attached to a miscarriage. As a result, you may feel isolated when you’d greatly benefit from sharing.
Michelle Branch, the Breathe singer, said she’s grateful to have been able to lean on her husband, Patrick Carney, as well as her sister when she experienced her first miscarriage.
Eva Amurri Martino, lifestyle blogger, actress and daughter of Susan Saarandon, reminds us that, “there is no shame in voicing our heartbreaks and allowing others to comfort us."
The View co-host, Meghan McCain, worries that too many women don’t reach out for support. “Nobody talks about this kind of stuff,” she said on Good Morning America. “The only experience I’ve ever had on TV when women are pregnant is streamers and excitement, but I just think there’s a lot of other women out there who have had my [miscarriage] experience and you are not alone.”
Key Takeaway: Find the support you need and know that you are not alone in this journey. We can all use help, and we can all help each other to find a listener who has been through the same or similar situations. Use national fertility organizations like RESOLVE, or your fertility practice’s resources for finding others to talk to in confidence. Visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory to find a therapist near you.
5. There will be a way.
Since time is usually an important factor in fertility treatment, try to keep moving forward after a miscarriage. Clarify all the options available to you and all the information the miscarriage gave your physicians. You do not have to resolve all your feelings after a miscarriage to move forward. Once again, life doesn’t work that way and neither does fertility treatment.
- After "eight or nine" miscarriages, Gabrielle Union and former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade moved forward with surrogacy. As she wrote in her book We're Going to Need More Wine, “For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant. 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.” At a separate time, she told TODAY Parents, “I’m so glad I got over myself and my fear of what people would think of me if I did not carry my own child.”
- After five unsuccessful IVFs due to low ovarian reserve, Prison Break and Good Doctor actress Camille Guaty moved on to ovum donation, and succeeded. “I share my story,” she said on Instagram, “not because it is unique but because I think it’s something we don’t talk about.”
- Nicole Kidman’s story is well-known. "From the minute Tom [Cruise] and I were married, I wanted to have babies," she said in a Vanity Fair interview. "And we lost a baby early on, so that was really very traumatic. And that's when we would adopt Bella."
- Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness also used adoption. They had tried IVF, got pregnant twice but miscarried each time. Jackman has said in interviews that although the experience was very painful for both of them, they are now happy parents.
- Sometimes moving on means trying again. Lisa Marie Presley told People Magazine that she was able to move forward after several miscarriages because her doctors found, “my blood was too thick and would clot.” They used that information and she reports that “the moment I took blood thinners, I got pregnant.”
- Although it took two years after talking publicly about her miscarriage, Frozen star Patti Murin had some good news in 2020. She gave birth to her and her husband’s first child.
Although many celebrities may feel social pressure to hide personal experiences like pregnancy loss or infertility struggles, those who do choose to speak out help to fight the hurtful stigma that often surrounds this journey. If you’ve had a pregnancy loss or are struggling with infertility, be reminded to choose what you need during this difficult time and take everything one day at a time. Remind yourself that no one is immune from a miscarriage. Remind yourself that you are not alone, you have your own timeline for recovery, it’s not your fault, it helps to share, and if you want to build a family, there’s more than one way.
(1) . (Mar 20, 2019 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov › articles › PMC6425455).
Early Pregnancy Loss, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, number 200, Practice Bulletin Number 150, May 2015)
Fifteen to twenty percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage (according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Early Pregnancy Loss, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, number 200, Practice Bulletin Number 150, May 2015)
At least 10 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to estimates from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Mayo Clinic. But one 2015 survey found that 55 percent of responders believe miscarriage is “uncommon.”