'Selling Sunset' Star Maya Vander Opens Up About Having a Stillbirth

Maya Vander revealed she had a stillbirth at 38 weeks. The real estate agent spoke exclusively to Parents about her heartbreak—and determination to help others.

Maya Vander
Photo: Credit: Getty Images/Rich Fury. Art: Anna Halkidis

Maya Vander, star of Netflix's Selling Sunset, took to Instagram in December 2021 to share devastating news: she had a stillbirth.

"Yesterday was the hardest day of my life," wrote the realtor. "I had a still birth at 38 weeks. I always heard of it but never imagined I'll be part of the statistics. Instead of delivering a baby, I get to go home with a memory box… I do not wish this on anyone."

Vander, who shares son Aiden, 2, and daughter Elle, 21 months, with her husband David Miller, continued, "What was a regular weekly checkup turned into a nightmare that I never imagine will happen to me. Given I share my pregnancies in the show I knew I'll have to post about this and avoid the 'when is your due date' question. You will always be in our heart baby Mason."

In an exclusive interview with Parents.com, she opened up about her experience in an effort to help others who've suffered the same tragedy.

The Shock of Pregnancy Loss

Vander and her husband had been trying to conceive, so she was closely monitoring when she'd be ovulating and knew that her period was late when she took a pregnancy test—and got a positive result. "I was just excited," remembers Vander.

Following the happy news, the Selling Sunset star had what she calls a great pregnancy. "I traveled often to L.A. to do the show—no symptoms besides being a little tired," notes Vander. "I was lucky with all my pregnancies. I was active all the way to the end."

Over the course of her pregnancy, the baby moved a lot, she says. But at one point, she felt less movement and opted to go for a private ultrasound. "Heartbeat was totally normal. The cord was not close to his neck. So, when I left, I felt good about it with the assumption that my baby is just growing, and he has less room to move," says Vander. "I had two successful deliveries, so the last thing on my mind was thinking the baby is in distress."

A few days later, she felt him moving again. But it was not as often as it had been. She had a regular visit with her OB.

"The doctor could not find the heartbeat, and they rushed me to an ultrasound, which confirmed that I lost my baby," says Vander. "I was in a complete shock. I called my husband hysterical, and the doctors were devastated as well."

The Pain of Experiencing a Stillbirth

Just hours after Vander learned there was no heartbeat, she had to deliver her son.

"I had a vaginal delivery, which was a painful one because they could not find the right spot to give me the epidural," remembers Vander.

And because her husband had COVID at the time, he couldn't be there during the delivery. "Thank God my gyno was amazing and so was the hospital staff," says Vander.

Initially, the devastated mom didn't want to see her son. "I was shocked and confused," she says. "I decided then to connect with him and spend time with him after all. He is our son, the son that was never lucky enough to get our love."

Later, her husband was able to come hold him as well. "They let him at least come for that," she says. "Worst moment of my life. I am looking at a perfectly developed baby, more than 7 pounds. He looked like my son, looked like my husband."

As far as the cause for her son's stillbirth, Vander is still in the dark. "We are still waiting to hear back," she says. "My baby looked fully developed. I have no clue what happened."

Grieving and Healing After Pregnancy Loss

In the two short months that have passed since her devastating loss, Vander has been focusing on self-care, reading books on grief, and getting massages. "Anything to keep me going," she says. "I cry a lot; I cry all the time."

She and her family held a funeral for Mason, and Vander says she visits the site where her son was buried to talk to him. "It is something that I will never wish on my worst enemies," she says.

Ultimately, the grieving mom is taking things one day at a time. "Every day is better in a sense that I am not falling apart," she says. "I am busy with my two children, my husband, work. We have a great support system—family, friends. We are going to a therapy."

Still, even as life moves forward, Vander acknowledges that the immeasurable loss will never go away. "The questions are there, the mixed emotions are there," she explains. "But I have to push through in order to function."

She has found comfort talking to others who've been through the devastating experience. "Every woman that is going through this feels guilty," she says. "I find it helpful to know that I am not alone."

In turn, Vander is also speaking with several organizations that advocate for people who've experienced stillbirth and pregnancy loss, including Aaliyah in Action and PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy.

And in honor of her son, she and her family will be donating a playground at her daughter's school. "We want all the kids to enjoy this," says Vander. "Each time we will walk by, we will know that this is there in the spirit of Mason."

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