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Shawn Johnson struggled during her rainbow pregnancy: 'You want to be happy'

The Olympian was terrified she would suffer another miscarriage.
/ Source: TODAY

Shawn Johnson waited until she was 16 weeks along to announce her pregnancy on Instagram.

The Olympian and her husband, football player Andrew East, suffered a devastating miscarriage in 2017, and she was terrified it would happen again.

“It’s such a different feeling the second time around because you want to be happy and you want to be celebrating and planning out this kid’s life, but you don’t know,” Johnson, 28, told TODAY Parents while promoting her partnership with Enfamil.

When people congratulated Johnson, she thanked them and changed the topic.

“I brushed it under the rug because I was trying to protect my heart,” she revealed. “I don’t know how to get around that.”

The retired gymnast is not alone in feeling that way. Pregnancy after loss is often coupled with intense anxiety and fear.

"One of the biggest misconceptions is that parents no longer grieve upon a subsequent healthy pregnancy," Dr. Rayna D. Markin, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of counseling at Villanova University, previously told TODAY Parents. "On the contrary, subsequent pregnancies can re-trigger a person's attachment to the lost baby and feelings of loss."

Johnson has opened up about her pregnancy loss on YouTube and Instagram. In one video, she talked about feeling guilty, as if she had done something to cause the miscarriage.

“It’s so traumatic,” she told TODAY Parents. “I felt really lost. So, I took a leap of faith and shared it with the world. It’s a topic that needs to be talked about more.”

Johnson and East welcomed a baby girl named Drew in October 2019.

As many as one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. For special coverage of this important topic, see TODAY's Miscarriage Matters series.

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