Actress Ashley Williams has published an extremely powerful account of her miscarriage, which happened in the middle of Whole Foods. “I Need to Talk About My Miscarriage,” she wrote. And we need to read about it.
Williams (who played Victoria in How I Met Your Mother and can currently be seen on The Jim Gaffigan Show as Gaffigan’s fictional wife) was eight weeks pregnant and with her toddler son, Gus, when she lost her second pregnancy. She describes the “heavy, dark, and slow stream of blood” that made its way down her inner thigh; her jean shorts were “soaked through with blood.”
In the essay for The Human Development Project, the actress reveals what surprised her most about her miscarriage: that what most of us would describe as an “emergency” really isn’t anything of the sort because it’s so common. Williams’ midwife told her that 1 in 4 pregnant women in their late 30s have a miscarriage. When Williams spoke to close friends about what happened, she discovered that most of them had miscarried at least once. But none of them had spoken openly about it.
Why the hell not? Is it because, as Williams wonders, we women are so scared of failure? Getting pregnant and giving birth is what our bodies are designed for. It’s simply something we’re supposed to do. So when we try, and it doesn’t work out, we don’t want to talk about it because it’s like holding our hands up and admitting we fucked up. Except we didn’t, of course. It’s something that just happens — the majority of the time without a reason.
Miscarriage needs to be normalized for all women who lose a pregnancy, and the only way to do this is to encourage them (and their partners) to share their stories of loss. Williams ends her essay with an anecdote about Gus losing his “baby” (a water balloon) at the park and dissolving into tears. It needs to be OK for women to cry over their lost babies — in the park or wherever else they feel like it. Or at the very least, to talk about it — and not just to their closest friends.
For miscarriage support visit Through the Heart.
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