Eva Amurri Martino is currently pregnant, after suffering a miscarriage. Now the actress is opening up about the heartbreaking experience, and about what it's like to be pregnant again after suffering such a loss.
"If miscarriage is seldom talked about, the feelings associated with pregnancy after a loss are even more seldom talked about," she begins a moving post on her popular blog, Happily Eva After. "I think there's a misconception that once a woman conceives after a miscarriage, that somehow her miscarriage is erased— that the feelings of loss are replaced by feelings of joy for this new baby, and that everything moves forward as it should be. In my own experience, this couldn't be further from the truth."
She then goes on to explain that her miscarriage was so sudden and so unexpected, that she began to fear that every pregnancy she ever had again would end up the same way. "As I grieved the loss of my child, and what could have been, I was also paralyzed by a fear that I would never again have a healthy child," she explained. "I had always been a trusting person—able to believe that all would be okay even in the most stressful or unfortunate of circumstances, but now that felt idiotically naí¯ve. I understood for the first time not only how fragile life is, but how our hopes, dreams, and expectations are even more fragile."
Amurri Martino also revealed that following the miscarriage, she entered a period of her life where she felt the most vulnerable, and unsure of most of the things she had always believed to be true: That she would get to choose how many children she'd have, that her kids would grow up safe and healthy, and that her family would always be okay in the end.
"I'm sure these are common feelings felt by any grieving person," she wrote. "There are people who have lost children of all ages, even more than one, and I can't imagine their heartbreak and depth of loss. I think this is one of the least understood things about loss of any kind: that it seeps in to every corner of a person's life, that it changes them, and that their life after their loss is a different life than before."
For a while, Amurri Martino said she wouldn't even discuss trying to get pregnant again. "I felt resentful at the idea that we would just move on from the experience, 'buy a new puppy,' so to speak," she explained. "I wanted to figure out my feelings, to rage and sob and hold my daughter without trembling."
Eventually, she realized that her rejection of the notion of growing her family was more about fear than anything else. "I was so deeply afraid of the possible outcome of further loss that I was fighting even the idea of opening my heart again," she wrote. "As anyone who has been through heartbreak knows, making yourself vulnerable after you've been deeply hurt is one of the hardest things to do."
But after a lot of discussion with her husband, the couple realized that the joy that another child would bring their family far outweighed the challenges of another heartbreak. And even then, Amurri Martino admits she was terrified when she eventually found out that she was pregnant. "I felt so many things," she recalled. "I was afraid of loss, of course, but I also felt fiercely protective, and above all a homesickness and longing for the baby that our family would never get to meet. I didn't feel like celebrating. I barely spoke of it. Kyle and I talked around it, almost."
It was an email from one of her blog readers that would finally pull her out of her funk. "She wrote and thanked me for speaking out about miscarriage, and shared her own devastating losses with me," she explained. "I realized suddenly that pregnancy, like life, is never guaranteed. There is no safe zone, there is only hope or fear. I decided to love again—completely."
Even so, Amurri Martino admits that she fights the fear of loss every day. "I'm over four months pregnant and I still have moments of panic and wariness that my worst fear could once again come true," she said, adding that she allows herself these moments, and tries to breathe through them. "We have plans for our Boy, and no matter what happens, I'm so grateful for the full heart I feel today."
And we are grateful for your honest words that are starting a conversation about the very real fear of being pregnant after a loss. Here's hoping women keep talking about it, because we all need to know that we're not alone.