It’s been a little over a month since Laura Prepon and Ben Foster welcomed baby No. 2 into their family, but the couple’s second pregnancy actually came around two years ago. In her new book, You & I As Mothers, Prepon is opening up about the heartbreaking decision the pair made to terminate that second pregnancy — and why she wasn’t sure she’d ever be able to get pregnant again.
Back in 2017, Prepon and Foster brought home their first child, daughter Ella. Then, in 2018, they found out they were expecting again. As many expectant parents do, they chose to wait until after their first trimester to share their joy with loved ones over giving their little girl a sibling. Sadly, they wouldn’t get that chance. During their 16-week sonogram, Prepon could tell something was off. Her OB-GYN performed an echocardiogram, at which point their worst fears were confirmed.
The child they were carrying was diagnosed with a condition called cystic hygroma — the development of an abnormal fluid-filled sac that results from blockages in the lymphatic system. “Our neonatal specialist told us the brain was not growing and the bones were not growing,” Prepon recounts in her book. “We were told the pregnancy would not go to full term and that my body was at risk carrying any longer. Ben held me as I cried. We had to terminate the pregnancy.”
Having struggled with bulimia from the age of 15 until her late 20s, Prepon began to blame herself. “I was scared that somehow the abuse I put my body through could have been part of the reason things went wrong. Doctors confirmed it wasn’t, but in those moments it’s easy to punish yourself,” she says.
She “felt like a failure,” and her mental health suffered. Prepon grappled with mourning her loss and looking to the future — would she be able to conceive again? For Prepon, another catalyst for healing proved to be sharing her story. “I began hearing of others who had gone through something similar and I realized I was not alone,” she recalls.
And while there were moments she couldn’t shake the feeling she had done something wrong, Foster helped pull her through the darkness. She gushes, “He was so supportive. It got to the point where I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get pregnant again because the healing process took so long. But my husband knew we would be able to have a healthy sibling for Ella.”
Fast forward to last year, when Prepon and Foster discovered the “magical” news that they were once again expecting. Their son, who was born at the end of February, has given the duo newfound gratitude. “It put into perspective what a blessing it is to have a healthy child.”
As far as sharing the heartrending story of her second pregnancy, Prepon feels as though it’s important to be transparent about the complex nature of motherhood. “I’m a private person, so this is the first time I’ve been this open,” she says. “But I feel in order to have a real conversation about motherhood, you need to share the truths and talk about what’s really going on.”
Before you go, see celebrity moms who’ve bravely opened up about their miscarriages.