James Van Der Beek opened up this week about his family's experience with the emotional pain of multiple miscarriages. He also offered advice to other people who might be going through the experience.
The actor and his wife Kimberly have five children, but have also had three miscarriages along the way, including one just before they had their youngest child, Gwendolyn, was who was born in June.
Van Der Beek wrote on Instagram that he'd like to see a better word for a pregnancy loss than "miscarriage," which "in an insidious way, suggests fault for the mother," he wrote. A miscarriage is a pregnancy loss during the first trimester, or 13 weeks or fewer of gestation.
And he talked frankly about the grief people experience after having a miscarriage. "It will tear you open like nothing else. It’s painful and it’s heartbreaking on levels deeper than you may have ever experienced," he wrote.
Kimberly Van Der Beek also posted recently on Instagram about her own feelings about motherhood, including the fact that in the last eight and a half years, she's had five children and three miscarriages.
"I share this because I love my family so much. I’m so grateful for these beautiful souls that asked to come in," she wrote. "But regardless of how pretty Instagram can be, everyone has a challenging day. "
About 10% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and half of those are thought to be due to a genetic abnormality in the embryo.
Although some people think they've done something that contributed to the end of the pregnancy, the vast majority of cases are thought to be unrelated to any specific activity. Exercise, going to work, having sex, and morning sickness do not cause a miscarriage, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Van Der Beek suggests that you "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 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," he wrote. "Many couples become closer than ever before. Many parents realize a deeper desire for a child than ever before. And many, many, many couples go on to have happy, healthy, beautiful babies afterwards."
Last year, Van Der Beek also opened up about his experience being groped by older, powerful men in Hollywood when he was a young man, tweeting his support for men and women speaking up about sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry.