When “The Big Bang Theory” star Melissa Rauch announced her pregnancy to the public in this month’s issue of Glamour magazine, she had more on her mind than baby names and food cravings. Rauch previously had a miscarriage, so the joy of this pregnancy was mixed with the pain of her prior loss.
“The miscarriage I experienced was one of the most profound sorrows I have ever felt in my life. It kickstarted a primal depression that lingered in me,” Rauch wrote in an essay on Glamour.com. “The image of our baby on the ultrasound monitor—without movement, without a heartbeat—after we had seen that same little heart healthy and flickering just two weeks prior completely blindsided us and haunts me to this day.”
So when the actress and her husband, Winston, discovered they were expecting another child, Rauch was over the moon with happiness, but she also considered the pain that some women experience when they see an expecting mom. (Pregnancy loss is quite common. In fact, an estimated 10 to 15 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage.)
“During the time when I was grieving over my pregnancy loss or struggling with fertility issues, every joyful, expectant baby announcement felt like a tiny stab in the heart,” Rauch wrote in Glamour. “It’s not that I wasn’t happy for these people, but I would think, ‘Why are these shiny, carefree, fertile women so easily able to do what I cannot?'”
So when Rauch decided to share her pregnancy with her fans and the media, she realized that she needed to be honest about her miscarriage and her struggle to process that grief:
“So when I thought about having to share the news about expecting this baby, all I could think about was another woman mourning over her loss as I did, worried she would never get pregnant again, and reading about my little bundle on the way. It felt a bit disingenuous to not also share the struggle it took for me to get here.”
How powerful. Rather than putting on a happy face and acting as though her pregnancy was simple and struggle-free, Rauch decided to be honest about her miscarriage and how difficult it was to find peace after that loss. She also shares how frightened she is to lose her current pregnancy, saying she is “pretty much terrified at the moment that it will happen again.”
So many women can relate to that sentiment—the combination of joy about a current pregnancy and terror that another miscarriage could happen. Kudos to Rauch for being so brave and honest about this incredibly painful subject. Her words have no doubt brought light and healing to many readers. Rauch ends her beautiful essay with these words of comfort to fellow miscarriage survivors: “You are not alone. And, it is perfectly OK to not be OK right now.”
Rauch even used her voice to work with others to help produce a video in recognition of October being Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month.
You may recognize at least a few of the other women in that video. In addition to Rauch, the powerful group of women included:
- Nancy Kerrigan
- Paula Garces
- Loni Love
- Vanna White
- Lennon Parham
- June Diane Raphael
- Kiele Sanchez
- Katie Aselton
- Jill Willard
- Jackie Seiden
- Jean Villepique
- Jennifer Chen
- Natalie Stromme and
- Virginia Williams
All of these women came forward to put a face to an issue many don’t like to discuss. All of them had the same message: “This is not your fault.”
Many women do blame themselves following a miscarriage.
“The vast majority of women I see blame themselves,” Zev Williams, director of the Program for Early and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss, or Pearl, at Einstein and Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, told the New York Times in an article about self-blame after miscarriage. “Miscarriage is unique in the amount of self-blame and shame involved. I’ve treated siblings who have each had many and didn’t even realize that they were both suffering from the same problem.”
What an important message to share. It can be especially hard for families to talk about their losses. So this effort helps give a voice to them, as well as offer comfort to those who continue to suffer in silence.
Congrats to the parents-to-be, and here is wishing Rauch a happy and healthy pregnancy.