It’s easy to guess — at least by looking at plenty of moms on Instagram — that pregnancy and parenthood are glorious, joyful, if somewhat messy and sleep-deprivation-inducing experiences. After all, isn’t half of social media dedicated to a barrage of smiling babies eating or learning to crawl, pristine nurseries, and adorable outfits of the day at this point?
But we’ve said it before and we’ll keep shouting it until it hits home: Pregnancy isn’t always a happy (or easy) experience. Plus, for plenty of people, conception alone can feel like the most epic feat. And aside from the anxieties and stressors and (often severe) morning sickness and terrifying genetic testing, between 10-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Period. We’re talking about devastating losses that can have a lasting physical and emotional impact on the expectant parents — and the mourning and recovery processes look different for everyone involved. So why aren’t more people talking about this?
Miscarriages happen during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and more than 80% occur before 12 weeks, according to Tommy’s. This number may be higher, as some people miscarry without knowing they’re pregnant, the Mayo Clinic notes.
While miscarriages affect thousands of pregnant people every year, we don’t always talk about the difficult experiences. However, many celebrities, including Beyoncé, Gabrielle Union, and Demi Moore, are hoping to de-stigmatize miscarriage and spark a conversation about its aftermath by sharing their stories.
Ahead, we’ve gathered some of their insights.
A version of this article was originally published in August 2016.
E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic spoke openly on her show Giuliana & Bill in 2010 about the miscarriage she suffered that year — after becoming pregnant via IVF. Her son, Edward Duke Rancic (who goes by Duke), was born in 2012 via surrogate.
“Before we had Duke we had struggles there too. We were trying for years to have a baby. We had a miscarriage then,” Rancic told E! News in 2014. “To see Duke, you realize, wow, everything is meant to happen for a reason. We wouldn’t have Duke. It’s pretty incredible to think how life works.”
Kimberly Brook Van Der Beek
When actor James Van Der Beek and his producer wife, Kimberly Brook Van Der Beek, found out in October 2019 that they were expecting their sixth child, Van Der Beek posted on Instagram about their decision to share the first ulstrasound on camera. Sadly, James revealed on November 18 during Dancing With the Stars that Kimberly recently miscarried once again.
“You never know why these things happen, that’s what I’ve been telling my kids. All you know is that it brings you closer together, it breaks you open, it opens up your heart, it deepens your appreciation,” said Van Der Beek on the show. “It makes you more human.”
Hilaria Baldwin is no stranger to the whirlwind that is pregnancy followed by miscarriage — even when she’s criticized for openly sharing both her early pregnancy and miscarriage experiences. Baldwin, who has carried four kids to term, has also experienced multiple miscarriages. Just this week, she bravely shared that she lost her most recent pregnancy — what would have been her fifth child with husband Alec Baldwin — while four months along.
She wrote on Instagram that she told her daughter “that this baby isn’t going to come after all…but we will try very hard to give her a little sister another time. I’m really devastated right now…I was not expecting this when I went to my scan today.”
Baldwin also added that “even though we are not ok right now, we will be. We are so lucky with our 4 healthy babies — and we will never lose sight of this.”
Gabrielle Union brought her miscarriages and difficulty with IVF to the forefront in her 2017 book, We’re Going to Need More Wine.
“I’ve had eight or nine miscarriages,” she wrote in her book, according to People. “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.”
Since publishing her book, Union and her husband, Dwyane Wade, welcomed daughter Kaavia James with the help of a surrogate in 2018. Despite being thrilled to add another member to their family (Wade has three sons from a previous relationship and also adopted his nephew), Union said she felt like a “failure” for being unable to personally deliver her child.
“The idea of [surrogacy] felt like surrendering to failure,” Union told Women’s Health.
She added: “People want to see the bump, hear that you got hemorrhoids — they want to know you’re like them. I was like, ‘This is going to seem like the most Hollywood shit ever. Will I be embraced as a mom?’ It’s terrifying.”
Fears aside, Union seems to have fully come into her own via life as a mom — and often shares sweet photos of her kids on Instagram.
Demi Moore’s memoir Inside Out delves into the actress’s history with addiction, her three marriages, her relationship with her daughters, and her painful miscarriage at 42, when she was married to Ashton Kutcher.
Moore confirmed that she lost her pregnancy (she intended to name her child Chaplin Ray), around the six-month mark in a profile with the New York Times. Later, she opened up about the experience in an interview with Diane Sawyer for Good Morning America.
“You could see a combination of [the doctor’s] dread, and it shifting immediately into matter-of-fact, practical information — because it was unquestionable, because there was no heartbeat,” Moore said on GMA.
Though she said she and Kutcher tried IVF “quite a few times,” she ultimately decided to stop trying for another child. Now, she’s focused on maintaining a healthy relationship with her daughters, Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah.
Whitney Port of The Hills fame revealed she had a recent miscarriage on her podcast, With Whit. Port shared a clip of the podcast on Instagram that showed her talking to her husband, Tim Rosenman, about how she felt relieved that they wouldn’t be having another child yet. The two share a two-year-old son named Sonny.
“Two weeks ago, I had a miscarriage. The amount of various emotions I felt in the past couple weeks have been extreme…from shock to sadness to relief, which then led to guilt for feeling that relief,” Port wrote on Instagram. “My identity has been shaken…as a mom and human being. I’m currently in the process of learning to accept that my feelings are valid no matter what they are.”
Port said the overall experience has been “traumatic.”
“It’s traumatic to think about your body going through this and something being in you that could have been someone like a Sonny,” she said in the clip. “I feel sad.”
Beyoncé revealed in her HBO documentary Life Is But a Dream that she had a miscarriage a few years before giving birth to Blue Ivy.
“About two years ago, I was pregnant for the first time,” she said in 2013 on her show. “And I heard the heartbeat, which was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life. I picked out names. I envisioned what my child would look like… I was feeling very maternal.”
“I flew back to New York to get my check up, and no heartbeat,” she shared. “’Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine, but there was no heartbeat. I went into the studio and wrote the saddest song I’ve ever written in my life. And it was actually the first song I wrote for my album. And it was the best form of therapy for me, because it was the saddest thing I’ve ever been through.”
Hart of Dixie actress Jaime King opened up about the painful process to become a mother, after having five miscarriages and struggling with infertility.
“For all the struggling women & moms out there that think they are alone — This is the truth about conceiving my son and struggles after,” she wrote on a post on Instagram.
“8 yrs of pain and undiagnosed PCOS & Endometriosis, 9 doctors until Dr. Randy Harris diagnosed me & saved my life from a severe ectopic, 5 miscarriages, 5 rounds of IVF, 26 IUI’s, most with no outcome, 4½ years of trying to conceive, 26 hours of brutal labor, early delivery b/c of sudden preeclampsia, tearing and tearing after the stitches were in once I was home, milk supply issues, painful mastitis, uncontrollable crying while breast feeding, worked until the day before I [gave] birth and went back after 6 weeks after because I was afraid of letting others down.”
King now has two adorable sons, Leo and James, and has felt that opening up about her struggles will help other moms going through the same issues with infertility and motherhood.
Gwyneth Paltrow opened up to the Daily Mail and revealed that she had suffered a devastating miscarriage. She and her ex-husband, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, have a son named Moses and a daughter named Apple; however, after giving birth to her two children, she got pregnant again, miscarried and “nearly died.”
“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,” she said, when asked if she would have any more children.
“But I had a really bad experience when I was pregnant with my third. It didn’t work out and I nearly died. So I am like, ”We good here or should we go back and try again?’” she said.
Nicole Kidman shared that she had a miscarriage when she was married to Tom Cruise. “From the minute Tom and I were married, I wanted to have babies,” she told Vanity Fair. “And we lost a baby early on, so that was really very traumatic. And that’s when we would adopt Bella.”
Cruise and Kidman also adopted a son, Connor, before they divorced. Kidman went on to marry Keith Urban and she was able to get pregnant and give birth to a baby girl named Sunday Rose and then later had another daughter named Faith via surrogate.
Friends and Cougar Town star Courteney Cox has an adorable daughter named CoCo with her ex-husband, David Arquette. However, she revealed that having a baby was not easy, as she had several miscarriages.
“I get pregnant pretty easily,” she told People magazine, “but I have a hard time keeping them.”
Singer Pink and her husband, Carey Hart, have two children, Willow and Jameson. But she revealed to Ellen DeGeneres that she waited before announcing her pregnancy with Jameson because of a previous miscarriage.
“[I] was just really nervous and I have had a miscarriage before, but if I was going to talk about it with anyone, it was going to be with you,” she told DeGeneres.
19 Kids and Counting matriarch Michelle Duggar was overjoyed to find out she was pregnant with her 20th child; however, she found out at her 20-week ultrasound that she had miscarried. In their book, Growing up Duggar, Jana, Jill, Jessa and Jinger shared the story of how they found out their mother had miscarried.
“Mama smiled a sweet smile and said, as tears welled up in her eyes, ‘We had the ultrasound… and there was no heartbeat,’” the sisters revealed. “‘Our baby has died.’”
“We were stunned. Speechless. The baby brother or sister we had so looked forward to holding and playing with… was gone. There was no holding back the tears as Mom shared the story of how the technician had started the ultrasound, how she had looked and looked at the screen, how she had paused and turned to them, looking so sad, and said, ‘I’m so sorry.’ The doctor had confirmed there was no heartbeat.”
Duggar gave birth to her stillborn baby girl, whom they named Jubilee Shalom Duggar.
“She had beautiful blue eyes, and a very cute little Duggar nose. She looked perfect in every way,” they said.
Céline Dion opened up about her struggles with infertility to Oprah, revealing that she didn’t share her miscarriage news initially. “They said that I was pregnant, and a couple of days after, we were not pregnant again. We didn’t want to feel like we were playing yo-yo. ‘I’m pregnant. I’m not pregnant. I’m pregnant. I’m not pregnant.’ So we didn’t want to do this thing. But we did have a miscarriage.”
Dion, who now has three children, kept an optimistic attitude. “It’s life, you know? A lot of people go through this. We tried four times to have a child. We’re still trying. We’re on the fifth try, and I’ll tell you, if five is my lucky number, this fifth try has got to come in.”
Lindsay Lohan revealed that she miscarried while filming her OWN docuseries.
“No one knows this, and we can finish after this, I had a miscarriage for the two weeks that I took off,” she said during her reality show finale. “It’s a very long story.”
Lohan didn’t share who the father was, but did reveal how the experience affected her. “I couldn’t move. I was sick. And mentally that messes with you,” she said on the show.
Correspondent and former co-host of The View Lisa Ling opened up about her own miscarriage, which happened when she was seven weeks pregnant.
“I made a career of telling people’s stories, but it’s very difficult to tell my own,” she said. “But women need to know that you’re not alone, that a miscarriage is not your fault.”
She and her friend Sophia Kim started secretsocietyofwomen.com after this experience. “Sharing and reading what other women are going through helped me,” she says.
Brooke Shields struggled with infertility and eventually was able to conceive after IVF, but sadly miscarried. “Everyone around me was getting pregnant. I was starting to feel bitter,” Shields wrote in her memoir, Down Came the Rain. “Maybe I really wasn’t meant to have kids… I didn’t want to be happy anymore for the many other people who were having kids. I knew that their blessing had nothing to do with me, but it felt like a slap in the face.”
Brooke and her husband tried several times with IVF, and were able to eventually get pregnant. The couple now has two adorable daughters, Rowan and Grier.
Before giving birth to her twins, Monroe and Moroccan, Mariah Carey and her then-husband Nick Cannon revealed that she had a miscarriage.
“Literally, the day we were supposed to travel to Aspen we had an ultrasound. Unfortunately that was a time where [the doctor] said, ‘I’m sorry but the pregnancy is unsuccessful.’”
“It was really sad. We had really to absorb this… We really learned a lot just as people. It was even more of, like, preparing us to do this because of the way it happened so quickly at first. I think I was sort of in shock because I didn’t expect [the pregnancy]… and then when that happened and I wasn’t able to even talk to anybody about it, that was not OK, that was not easy.”
Kris Jenner opened up to People that she had a miscarriage and, interestingly, it was her late friend Nicole Brown-Simpson who helped get her through it.
“Before I got pregnant with Kendall, I had a miscarriage at three months,” she said. “Nicole really got me through that. I had never run before,” says Jenner. “And Nicole would encourage me. She got me running — and she told me, ‘I promise you’ll get pregnant [again].’ ”
Jenner was actually pregnant with Kendall during the OJ Simpson murder trial — and gave her the middle name of Nicole.
General Hospital star Kimberly McCullough, who plays Robin Scorpio on the soap, wrote in a blog post that she had a painful miscarriage.
“I had just found out I was pregnant. Two weeks later I was in my office (OMG) over at Pretty Little Liars and I got a call from my doctor. The nurse came on the phone and to my surprise, told me I was having a girl. That was probably the best day of my life thus far, the one I will remember as ‘having it all.’ My heart was so full and then it broke,” she shared, revealing she found out she had miscarried.
“I had lost my baby girl. It was too much. I didn’t need to learn this lesson. I wasn’t interested. But I wasn’t in control. These things happen and no, I don’t believe they happen ‘for a reason.’ I’m still processing, still healing, but anyone who has gone through it knows, losing a baby at 22 weeks is tragic.”
McCullough has now learned to focus on the joy she felt. “One thing I am proud of however was that I allowed myself to be happy and to relish the moment. I sat in all that goodness and I can recall those feelings (when I’m having different ones) and hope that it can be like that again.”
Shayne Lamas, the daughter of Lorenzo Lamas and former Bachelor star, was rushed to the hospital when she was 16 weeks pregnant and sadly miscarried. Doctors found out that she was bleeding around her uterus, and she actually had to be in the intensive care unit for several days.
“Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers,” she said in a statement. “I’ve cried reading the expression of generosity and warmth from everyone.
“To everyone out there, please donate blood,” she continued. “You can save a life like mine. In loving memory of my son, Rex Jagger Lamas-Richie.”
Bethenny Frankel was surprised and excited to learn she was pregnant with her second child at the age of 41; sadly, she was unable to carry to full term. She wrote an article for Glamour in which she described her miscarriage.
“And then it happened. The next day it was warm out, 50 degrees, but you’d have thought it was negative 10, I was shivering so much. I took Bryn to the Central Park Zoo, and I was cold and tired, and felt terrible,” she wrote. “Then, in the makeup chair for Bethenny Ever After, I started bleeding. Really bleeding. Jason picked me up, and we went to the doctor. In the exam room the doctor ran an ultrasound, looking for the heartbeat. Something was wrong. ‘I’m not finding it,’ he said. Jason said, ‘I don’t see it.’ And I’m like, ‘Is this a miscarriage?’ I didn’t know.”
“I got dressed, we met the doctor in his office, and I launched into it,” she continued. “‘Is it because I’m busy? My lifestyle? Is this my fault?’ I asked. ‘Absolutely not, absolutely not,’ he replied. ‘You’re 41. You had bleeding. There’s nothing you could have done.’”
Bachelor alum Ali Fedotowsky opened up to The Doctors about how she found out early on that she had miscarried her baby. She said the pregnancy was confirmed through a blood test, but her HCG levels were so low that her doctor told her that the pregnancy would not last.
“It’s hard for me to talk about because I know some people suffer miscarriages far along in their pregnancy,” said Fedotowsky, who was eventually able to conceive again.
They say the show must go on, and for pop star Halsey. that meant performing while struggling through pregnancy loss. The singer told Rolling Stone she went on stage wearing an adult diaper after taking two Percocet in order to work through the pain.
After giving birth to sons Isaac and Lincoln, Teen Mom 2 star Kailyn Lowry suffered a miscarriage that played out on television. The reality star bravely allowed MTV cameras to document her discussions with husband Javi and her own struggles to come to terms with what it meant for her family’s future in the aftermath of the pregnancy loss.
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