James Van Der Beek marked the first anniversary of wife Kimberly's pregnancy loss by sharing raw videos of him explaining to their young children what happened.
The 43-year-old "Dawson's Creek" star shared the videos one year after he revealed the devastating news on Instagram that Kimberly had a miscarriage at 17 weeks pregnant. She then experienced another miscarriage in June, her fifth pregnancy loss in nine years.
"One year ago today, I had to explain to my then 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 year-old a late-term #pregnancyloss while @vanderkimberly was still in the hospital," Van Der Beek wrote on Instagram Tuesday. "I’m not sure there’s any one way to do it, since every kid is so different - one bawled immediately, one had questions, one tried to make jokes, one tried to avoid by acting crazy."
Van Der Beek expanded on how the pregnancy loss was received by their five children - Olivia, 10, Joshua, 8, Annabel, 6, Emilia, 4, and Gwendolyn, 2.
"I feel like all you can do when explaining the unimaginable is be present with them. And keep being present with them wherever they’re at, for as long as they need. You can’t process for them, you can’t mitigate their pain, and you can’t dictate their timeline. They all broke down at different times - and for different reasons. Some still talk about it. Some don’t like to. But I encourage anyone going through this to be as open and honest as we encourage our kids to be about it. When life cracks you open... let your loved ones in. We’re not made to go through this alone."
The first video shows Van Der Beek answering Emilia's raw questions following Kimberly's pregnancy loss last November.
"Dad, why are we not having a baby brother?" she says.
"Because the baby that was going to come went back to heaven, and that happens sometimes," he answered. "So instead of the baby coming into our family, the baby went to heaven."
"So that's why we're going to have a boy still big in Mom's stomach?" she asks.
"No, there's no boy in Mom's stomach anymore," he says.
"It's OK to be sad," he later continues. "It's OK to have questions. Sometimes this happens, and nobody knows why, OK? But it means Mommy doesn't have a baby in her belly anymore."
"Did it disappear?" Emilia asks.
"Yeah, it kind of disappeared," Van Der Beek answers.
Another video shows their son, Joshua, dealing with the news by making jokes about the family dog.
Kimberly Van Der Beek, 38, also marked one year since her fourth pregnancy loss with her own emotional Instagram post, writing a plea for people to donate blood after she experienced serious blood loss and feared for her life during her miscarriage.
"Tomorrow, Nov 17th marks one year after I was taken to the hospital after a 17 week miscarriage put my life on the line," she wrote on Instagram. "It took two hours to stabilize me. My life was saved by blood donors and hospital staff. Tomorrow, Nov. 17th also marks the due date of a baby I met far too early as I had another miscarriage at 17 weeks along, June 14th.
"Blood transfusions saved my life a second time. We are getting into the holidays and there’s been a lot of distress in the world. If you’re healthy and motivated, please consider donating blood tomorrow or sometime soon. Please share far and wide and let’s fill those blood banks up for the holidays. THANK YOU DONORS!!! ❤️"
“I understand that I am very blessed to be able to birth five children. I’ve also had five miscarriages, two of which were really hard experiences,” she said. "It has changed my day-to-day quite a bit because I’m in very much a healing mode right now."
She added that she and her husband are open to having more children.
“Listen, the possibility is there, if my body agrees to it. I do not take birth control — big surprise!” she quipped. “But I need to feel really good in my body if I’m going to explore that option. And right now, I’m not there.”