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Actor Claire Holt is opening up about one of the most painful events in a woman’s life, and in doing so she’s helping other women feel less alone in their grief. Posting a picture while wearing a hairnet and hospital gown, Holt explained that she took the image to send to her fiancé to assure him she was okay while waiting to undergo a D&C after suffering a miscarriage. In a sobering and refreshingly honest post on grief, Holt admits that she was not okay and far from it. “I’ve never felt more broken in my life,” she wrote. “I debated sharing this so soon and I’m still frightened about making such a private struggle public, but I’m doing it anyway because it’s important.”

On December 3, 2017, Holt announced her engagement to fiancé Andrew Joblon, a real estate executive. The pair began dating in July 2017 and had yet to announce their pregnancy, but considering Holt had to undergo a D&C, or a dilation and curettage, a surgical procedure that removes the fetus and other contents from the uterus, it’s likely she was near the end of her first trimester or was in her second trimester. For any woman who has had to endure the emotional and physical toll of a miscarriage, they know that grief from losing a wanted pregnancy comes regardless of when in the pregnancy a miscarriage occurs.

I took this photo 10 days ago, as I waited for surgery after my sweet little baby lost its heartbeat. I sent it to my fiancé in the waiting room to show him that I was ok. I wasn’t. I’ve never felt more broken in my life. I debated sharing this so soon and I’m still frightened about making such a private struggle public, but I’m doing it anyway because it’s important. After my D & C, I spent hours on the internet searching for women who had been through it. I was desperate to find someone, anyone, who could relate to what I was feeling. Someone to tell me that the depression and hopelessness were normal. That it wasn’t my fault. That I wasn’t broken forever. I found a community of women who shared my exact experience. Who were open and vulnerable about miscarriage, something that isn’t often or openly discussed. It breaks my heart to think that losing a baby feels like something we have to keep to ourselves. Why is it any different than the death of a loved one? How is it any less meaningful? Here is what I have learned as I begin to crawl out of the dark hole: support is everything. I could not have survived this without the unconditional love of my partner. Despite his pain, he was my rock and my safety net. I will never know how to thank him. I also found that opening up to people is crucial. As soon as I told my story, almost everyone I spoke to told me theirs – their own, their wife’s, their sister’s. So many people go through it and understand the breadth of pain, yet so few people talk about it. Finally, I want to share a blog post that resonated with every part of me. You can find the link in my bio, @leandramcohen of @manrepeller articulates the emotional rollercoaster with an eloquence that I could never possess. To anyone out there who has been through a miscarriage, I understand you. I share every bit of your pain and you are not alone. Please be kind to yourself and I hope that you will be comfortable sharing your story too.

A post shared by Claire Holt (@claireholt) on

According to The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, 15 to 20 per cent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, with the cause ‘usually unknown.’ Though most miscarriages appear to occur with no explanation, the sense of failure and wrongdoing often accompanies women in their grief. A study by the Imperial College of London found that four in ten women who went through a miscarriage ended up with symptoms of PTSD three months after the pregnancy loss. These symptoms included flashbacks and nightmares of the miscarriage, which led to sleep issues, depression and anger. One third of the women interviewed in the study said their miscarriage affected their work life, while 40 per cent said it affected their relationship with friends and family.

Even with approximately 1 in 5 pregnancies ending in miscarriage and the after affects often having a substantial impact on women, miscarriages are still a taboo subject matter. As Holt writes in her post, she was forced to seek out stories about miscarriages, with the topic often not discussed. Thankfully, women before her have also found the courage to share their pain in the hopes of helping others.

The support for Holt’s post has been substantial, with hundreds of commenters thanking Holt for her honesty and often sharing their own experiences. Writes one follower, “I went through this 6 times before getting my little boy. This is never your fault! The pain doesn’t go away but it does get easier with time. You are such a strong woman and so amazing for sharing your story. I know for some reason this is a taboo topic so for a celebrity to be bringing it to attention and being a voice for the rest of us, all I can say is thank you. Maybe your story will help others realize what so many women go through. I am so sorry for your loss.”

Another follower wrote “Prayers for you!! I’ve been through this three times and was told I’d be lucky if I ever had kids. I have 4- age 20 to age 3 and one grandson! It’s so tough and more need to talk about it.”

By sharing her story, Holt is hoping to help bridge the gap between grief and taboo subject matter, closing her post with a message of support and solidarity to other women. “To anyone out there who has been through a miscarriage, I understand you. I share every bit of your pain and you are not alone. Please be kind to yourself and I hope that you will be comfortable sharing your story too.”