Kimberly Van Der Beek is opening up about the emotional toll of pregnancy loss.
“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,” Van Der Beek revealed on “The Make Down” podcast. “It has changed my day-to-day quite a bit, because I’m in very much a healing mode right now.”
The 38-year-old, who shares kids, Olivia, 10, Joshua, 8, Annabel, 6, and Emilia, 4, with her husband, actor James Van Der Beek, experienced a miscarriage at 17 weeks pregnant in November 2019. Seven months later, James shared the heartbreaking news of another miscarriage.
"The last two miscarriages, they've been really extreme," Kimberly said. "The one in November, it was losing a ton of blood, losing consciousness over and over again and feeling like, 'Am I going to die?'"
Kimberly said she has been taking time to be “really tender” with herself as she mourns the loss of her babies.
“I’ve noticed that a lot of countries really tell women when they’ve had a baby or a miscarriage, ‘Take time to replenish,’” Kimberly said. “But that’s not what our society has endorsed.”
Kimberly noted that in the U.S., women are praised for “being Superwoman” and “doing it all without help.”
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“What I’ve learned is to let all of that go. So right now I’m awake with the kids but then I go back to sleep. I have a little extra help. I made myself a little meditation corner and I’m taking a course on tea ceremony to learning how to relax into my body," she said. "It's been very great for my kids too, because they're learning different ways of being by my learning different ways of being."
The Van Der Beeks are open to having more children in the future.
“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.”
Dr. Julia Bueno a London-based psychotherapist who specializes in pregnancy loss, told TODAY Parents that the physical experience and the emotional toll of a miscarriage has been historically minimized.
"Culturally, we have yet to grasp that the loss not only includes a baby that was loved, but also the hopes, dreams and plans of its future, along with a loss of trust in being able to create a baby who lives,” Bueno explained.
The “Brink of Being: Talking About Miscarriage” author added that Van Der Beek having five kids wouldn’t lessen her grief.
“Having children already when a miscarriage happens may be a helpful to distract a parent from his or her grief,” Bueno said, “but it can’t cancel out the pain of losing their potential sibling."