Last week, Olympian Shawn Johnson and husband and NFL player Andrew East bravely shared about their heartbreaking miscarriage experience. Since then, millions have viewed their story and, as a result, thousands of women have come forward with their own miscarriage stories.
One of the most common feelings following miscarriage is, as Shawn experienced, a feeling of guilt.
In a follow-up vlog, the couple shared what the days following the miscarriage had been like for them. Shawn said, “I can tell you the day that I was told that we were miscarrying, I felt guilty. I felt sad and I remember telling Andrew ‘I’m sorry I lost your baby.”‘ She added that she felt “uninhabitable,” like a baby would never be able to live inside of her.
Shawn openly listed the different guilts she felt, like she hadn’t taken care of the baby well enough, was too stressed out, or hadn’t taken the right prenatal vitamins. These feelings are extremely normal in the wake of a miscarriage, however, women need to be reminded that they are not responsible for their pregnancy loss.
Like Shawn, most women immediately do everything they can in order to protect their baby. Worried about the Zika virus, Shawn even decided to cancel a tropical vacation she had planned a year before, saying, “When you find out you’re pregnant, you literally do anything and everything in your power to keep the baby healthy and take every precaution you can.”
When a baby doesn’t make it to term, however, the woman’s body will go through hormonal ups and downs. Shawn described this in saying, “When your body is creating this miracle and building a human, you have so many emotions and hormones and things that are just going crazy.”
On top of the grief and loss a woman is experiencing, there are many physical side-effects following a miscarriage and women often aren’t told what they might experience.
Shawn and Andrew emphasized how powerful it has been for them both to hear stories of other people’s experiences with miscarriage. Shawn wishes she would have know what to expect in the days following, both emotionally and physically, and is hoping that by sharing her experience, more women will be informed.
Andrew shared, “No matter what you’re going through, you’re not the only one going through it. And there’s a community of people out there that are experiencing the exact same thing you are. And I think it’s important to share those stories, to be open, to be honest, to have the courage to take a step out of your comfort zone and learn from one another. ”
If you have a story of pregnancy loss, we would love to hear it and share it! The more we share, the more women will know they are not alone.