Retired Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson East has been quite forthcoming about the highs and lows of her career. Two years ago, she opened up in an I Am Second White Chair film, discussing her fears of failure and disappointment during her career as a gymnast. Now, alongside her husband Andrew East, the athlete has stepped in front of the camera to talk about new career challenges, marriage, and her heartbreaking miscarriage. The new film is called I Am Second - Second Edition.
It's been eight months since the Easts revealed they suffered a miscarriage hours after learning they were expecting their first child, but, in the new film, the couple shares more details about that emotionally trying moment.
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“When I found out I was [pregnant], it was the greatest moment in the world because it was basically God’s miracle of, ‘Yes, you’ve hurt your body for so many years, but this can still happen,'" the 26-year-old said, noting that she waited a week to tell East she was pregnant because she wanted to share the news in person.
Following the miscarriage, East says she had "these guilty feelings of if, ‘I can’t even take care of child for a week in my stomach, I can’t raise a child on my own.’ I felt guilty to Andrew that I had lost his child, and I felt guilty to God that I lost his child."
No doubt that was a truly difficult experience for the gold medalist. “It was just this super emotional time," East revealed in the film. "It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. I’ve never felt such loss like that, and I didn’t know how that was possible.”
Thankfully, sharing their story with others, via YouTube proved heartening for the couple. "It was so cool to hear other people’s stories," she noted. Her husband, Andrew agreed, "To hear their encouragement of how to get through it, I think that made it all worth it."
Ultimately, having that support has proven extremely helpful for them both. “No matter what you go through, you will always come out of it,” the ex-Olympian said. “And I think if you believe in Him and have faith in Him, you’ll come out stronger than you were before.”
Props to the Easts for speaking so openly about their experience, challenging the antiquated stigma around pregnancy loss. With hope, their message will help others who are navigating similar, emotional journeys find healing.