James Van Der Beek and his wife, Kimberly Van Der Beek, have often spoken candidly about their experience with pregnancy loss over the years.
During a 2020 appearance on “The Make Down” podcast, Kimberly said that she had experienced five miscarriages in nine years, calling her two most recent pregnancy losses “really extreme.”
In an Instagram post on August 19, Van Der Beek reflected on the past two years of his life, including career ups-and-downs as well as the difficult experiences for his family.
The actor explained in the caption that the first photo posing with his son was taken in December 2019, while the second was taken in August 2022 as he posed with two of his children.
“Pic #1 we had just lost a baby 18 weeks into pregnancy and almost lost @vanderkimberly in the process,” he explained, before adding that at the time, one of his projects was not going well and he had been eliminated from season 28 “Dancing with the Stars.”
The former “Dawson’s Creek” star said that his family had decided to rent an RV and travel with “no real plan.” During their trip, they ended up staying at an RV park located next to a river shown in the Instagram photos.
“And thus began the process — not necessarily of healing — but of being present,” he said of the experience. “Present to the pain. Present to the beauty around us. And present to the acceptance of being in a process I did not understand. 2 ½ years later, after another late-term pregnancy loss, after that project blew up completely, after we moved to a new state and got our own RV… we came back to that same spot. With a brand new baby boy.”
Other images in the post showed the family and their newest child, back at the same river, nearly three years later.
“I’m astounded by how much I didn’t know about the path to where I am now… and by how much peace I was able to feel in the midst of that darkness," Van Der Beek continued, before issuing a plea to his followers.
“Whatever you’re going through… if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, or even know where to look for it… I invite you to not underestimate the power of a little change of environment… and of taking the time to sit exactly where you’re at," he said. "Healing comes at its own pace. Presence might just be a pre-requisite."
The couple have six children together: Olivia, 11, Joshua, 9, Annabel, 8, Emilia, 6, and Gwendolyn, 4, and Jeremiah, 9 months.
Van Der Beek first opened up about his family’s struggle with pregnancy loss in September 2018, sharing that before their daughter Gwendolyn was born, his wife had three miscarriages.
In November 2019, Van Der Beek shared that the family experienced pregnancy loss again when his wife was four months pregnant. The news came just a month after the couple had publicly announced the pregnancy. The actor opened up about the aftermath of the incident the next month, writing, “Still in repair. Discovering that healing happens at its own pace.”
Van Der Beek and his wife haven’t strayed away from discussing these hard moments with his children, either. In November 2020, he posted a video he had recorded telling his five children at the time that their mom had experienced a miscarriage at 17 weeks pregnant. The actor said his children all reacted differently to the news, with some crying, some asking questions, and some ignoring the subject all together.
“I feel like all you can do when explaining the unimaginable is be present with them,” he wrote at the time on Instagram. “And keep being present with them wherever they’re at, for as long as they need.”
Even amid all of the “surprises” and “detours” that he and his family experienced, Van Der Beek praised those same moments in an Instagram post in April 2022, five months after the birth of his youngest child.
“For those times the universe heard my plans and said: ‘Yeah, that’s cute… try THIS,’” he wrote. “We weren’t trying for more kids. We were done. But fortunately, this chunky little angel knew better."