PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In a Monday morning Instagram post, Alec Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, shared a photo of herself cradling a small baby bump and announced that she was pregnant but that she “most likely experienced a miscarriage.”
Traditionally the wait time to announce a pregnancy was three months, when the likelihood of a miscarriage decreases, but experts say that can make women feel isolated, especially if that pregnancy is lost.
The mother of four children went on to write, “I always promised myself that if I were to get pregnant again, I would share that news with you guys pretty early, even if that means suffering a public loss.”
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I want to share with you that I am most likely experiencing a miscarriage. I always promised myself that if I were to get pregnant again, I would share the news with you guys pretty early, even if that means suffering a public loss. I have always been so open with you all about my family, fitness, pregnancies…and I don’t want to keep this from you, just because it isn’t as positive and shiny as the rest. I think it’s important to show the truth…because my job is to help people by being real and open. Furthermore, I have no shame or embarrassment with this experience. I want to be a part of the effort to normalize miscarriage and remove the stigma from it. There is so much secrecy during the first trimester. This works for some, but I personally find it to be exhausting. I’m nauseous, tired, my body is changing. And I have to pretend that everything is just fine—and it truly isn’t. I don’t want to have to pretend anymore. I hope you understand. So, this is what is going on now: the embryo has a heartbeat, but it isn’t strong, and the baby isn’t growing very much. So we wait—and this is hard. So much uncertainty…but the chances are very, very small that this is a viable pregnancy. I have complete confidence that my family and I will get through this, even if the journey is difficult. I am so blessed with my amazing doctor, my dear friends, and my loving family…My husband and my four very healthy babies help me keep it together and have the perspective of how truly beautiful life is, even when it occasionally seems ugly. The luck and gratitude I feel that I am my babies’ mommy, is wonderfully overwhelming and comforting. In your comments, please be kind. I’m feeling a bit fragile and I need support. I’m hoping, that by sharing this, I can contribute to raising awareness about this sensitive topic.
Her words quickly sparked a conversation about what is often a very private loss for women and couples.
“Miscarriages happen to 20% of pregnancies and society sweeps it under the rug,” said Denise Paul, a prenatal loss grief counselor and director of facilitators for the Philadelphia-Area Miscarriage Support Network.
Baldwin continued, by writing, “I have no shame or embarrassment with this experience. I want to be a part of the effort to normalize miscarriage and remove the stigma from it.”
Paul suggested that this effort in transparency by the celebrity mom helps other women feel like they too have permission to share such pivotal moments in their life.
“If we as a society are not giving women permission to share this loss, then women aren’t getting the support that they need,” Paul said.
Social media, in general, has provided a platform for women to express joy early-on in their pregnancy and also a place to receive support if loss occurs, but Paul says that words or comments of solidarity should be chosen carefully.
“We have to be very careful that we don’t say things like, ‘Oh, it’s for the best’ or ‘Oh, something was probably wrong’ or ‘You can get pregnant again,’ ‘Thank God it happened early,’” she suggested. “Those are all things that we as friends and family tend to want to say but that minimizes the loss for the mom.”
Paul says a simple “I’m sorry for your loss” can go a long way. She has also authored a booklet on miscarriages. More information can be found on DenisePaul.com.
She also works with a resource network in the Philadelphia area called Unite, which offers grief support for anyone who has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death.