James Van Der Beek opened up about grieving his wife's miscarriage, saying 'it was an emotional gut punch'
- James Van Der Beek's wife had a miscarriage in 2019 that required hospitalization.
- The actor said he had to experience his grief while worrying about his wife's health.
James Van Der Beek, an actor best known for playing the titular role on "Dawson's Creek," was preparing for the semifinals of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2019 when his wife, Kimberly, suddenly felt unwell.
A few minutes later, Kimberly experienced a miscarriage in the shower, Van Der Beek said on his wife's podcast, "Bathroom Chronicles," according to People. She was 17 1/2 weeks pregnant. There was so much blood that she lost consciousness, and Van Der Beek needed to call 911, he said. While a friend accompanied Kimberly to the hospital, Van Der Beek stayed home with their five children.
"I'm just sitting there in a bathroom full of blood," Van Der Beek said on the podcast.
In fact, he recalled there being "way more blood than any delivery" and said the experience "was just a gut punch, an emotional gut punch."
Dads' grief is often overlooked, which makes it harder for them to heal
Lately, more people who have lost their pregnancies are speaking out about their grief. One study included in the National Library of Medicine found between 10% and 26% pregnancies resulted in miscarriage. Yet experts say the grief that fathers-to-be feel is often not addressed.
"Many times, when there is a pregnancy loss, the first question is, 'How is your wife doing?'" Nicole Sbordone, a therapist who has had a miscarriage, said. "That is not a bad thing, but we forget that men are also grieving a loss."
Delia Petrescu, a psychotherapist who also has personal experience with a miscarriage, said male grief around a miscarriage was a type of disenfranchised grief, or a loss that's not acknowledged by our society. Without social acceptance and ritual support, healing can be complicated.
"This can leave fathers feeling isolated, unsupported, and unable to express their emotions due to fear of not being taken seriously," Petrescu said.
Many men feel pressure to be strong, especially when their partner is hurting
Our society has conditioned men to believe they must be strong and protective, especially when people they love are hurt, Gregorio Lozano, a therapist, said.
Yet it's important to recognize that talking about emotions, rather than brushing them aside, is the real show of strength, he added.
"There's more courage in being able to be vulnerable with their emotions, rather than a sign of weakness, which is how society has made this out to be. It is actually a sign of courage," Lozano said.
Like pregnant people, nonpregnant partners can experience a sense of guilt around pregnancy loss. They can also have a sense of helplessness because they can't fix things for their partner. That feeling can be amplified in cases of medically complex miscarriages, like the one Kimberly Van Der Beek experienced.
Talking about pregnancy loss can help both partners
While men sometimes want to hide their sense of loss to make space for their partner's grief, that can leave the person who was pregnant feeling alone, Lozano said.
"When the man does not express their emotions, this may leave his partner isolated, feeling like they are in it on their own," he said. "When both express their feelings to each other, it creates an emotional connection between them, and it's this emotional connection that provides each other with the support that they each need."
"We need to recognize that men can experience grief, sadness, and trauma associated with the loss of a pregnancy just as women do," Petrescu said. "By destigmatizing the conversation around male grief, we can create a more understanding and supportive environment for everyone involved."
- Over 60 schools in and around Bengaluru receive bomb threat, students evacuated safely
- TVS Motor Co sales rise 31% to 3,64,231 units in November
- Johnny Depp unknowingly taught Ranveer Singh the craft of acting
- Midcap index rising for last 21 sessions, hitting fresh highs since November 16
- Global smartwatch shipments up 9% in Q3, Fire-Boltt & Huawei hit new highs: Report