Published 6:09 PM EDT Sep 9, 2018
James Van Der Beek, the father of five and "Dawson's Creek" alum, shared a picture of his latest project, baby girl Gwendolyn, snug in his arms next to his wife, Kimberly, over the weekend. That would have been plenty to warm out hearts.
But the actor used the platform to write a powerful post about miscarriages. The couple suffered three miscarriages, one before the birth of their daughter on June 15, he explained in an Instagram post.
First, how about a new word?
In the post, the actor took issue with the word "miscarriage." The word's prefix, he said, is just wrong. In his mind, it suggests the mother is somehow at fault for the loss of a baby during the early weeks of pregnancy.
" ‘Mis-carriage’, in an insidious way, suggests fault for the mother – as if she dropped something, or failed to 'carry.' From what I’ve learned, in all but the most obvious, extreme cases, it has nothing to do with anything the mother did or didn’t do. So let’s wipe all blame off the table before we even start."
The loss of a pregnancy is devastating. Doctors often like to point out the statistics – that up to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriages. But it doesn't make any parent-to-be feel better.
Mothers most often feel the guilt of the miscarriage and that they did something wrong or that they feel betrayed by their body.
Second, let the feelings come
Van Der Beek continued his message by saying that whatever feelings you're having as the mother or the father, you should just let them come and don't judge yourself.
"Second... it will tear you open like nothing else. It’s painful and it’s heartbreaking on levels deeper than you may have ever experienced. So don’t judge your grief, or try to rationalize your way around it. Let it flow in the waves in which it comes, and allow it it’s rightful space. And then... once you’re able... try to recognize the beauty in how you put yourself back together differently than you were before."
Finally: 'Those changes can be gifts'
The 41-year-old father concluded his post by inviting readers to share whatever has given them "peace or hope along the way."
He reminded people that a miscarriage invites change, and he reiterates one last time his desire for a new word.
"Some changes we make proactively, some we make because the universe has smashed us, but either way, those changes can be gifts. Many couples become closer than ever before. Many parents realize a deeper desire for a child than ever before. And many, many, many couples go on to have happy, healthy, beautiful babies afterwards (and often very quickly afterwards - you’ve been warned 😍). I’ve heard some amazing metaphysical explanations for them, mostly centering around the idea that these little souls volunteer for this short journey for the benefit of the parents... but please share whatever may have given you peace or hope along the way... Along with a new word for this experience."
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