The photo posted captures the actor and Kimberly Van Der Beek, a producer, mother, and of course, Van Der Beek’s wife. The couple is shown holding their fifth child, a daughter named Gwendolyn. In the personal caption, Van Der Beek details his perspective on miscarriages.
Throughout the extent of the couple’s marriage, Kimberly experienced three miscarriages, making the topic very near and dear to Van Der Beek’s heart.
Van Der Beek opened his post by addressing the way in which the word miscarriage is structured. “First off – we need a new word for it,” the actor wrote. “‘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 the blame off the table before we even start.”
“Second… it will tear you open like nothing else,” Van Der Beek continued. “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 it’s rightful space. And then… once you’re able… try to recognize the beauty in how you put yourself back together differently than you were before. Some changes we make proactively, some we make because the universe has smashed us, but either way, those changes can be gifts.”
The topic of miscarriage is not commonly talked about, leading to many misconceptions and false beliefs. The lack of conversation surrounding the topic leads many to believe miscarriages are rare in pregnancy. In reality, between 15 and 20 percent of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage.
Additionally, the point Van Der Beek mentioned about miscarriage often being seen as the mother’s fault is an entirely common viewpoint. Many women who experience loss of pregnancy feel guilty. One woman described the shame she felt to NPR: “I felt, and feel, literally broken, and betrayed by my body. It’s irrational, but there is such a deep shame attached to not being able to carry a baby to term… I don’t want another baby, I want THIS baby, the one I thought I would have, the one I started planning for, hoping for, dreaming about, talking to. All that got taken away from me.”
With women being advised not to share news of their pregnancy with family and friends immediately in case a miscarriage occurs, many women who do experience pregnancy loss suffer alone. Conversation surrounding miscarriage is almost nonexistent because society has shaped pregnancy loss into a secretive issue.
Van Der Beek’s post not only addresses miscarriage, it also allows for a larger discussion on a topic that has almost become a taboo in society today. By encouraging women to share their stories and be open about the pain they have faced, miscarriage can become an issue we can help each other through.
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