Shawn Johnson reveals she suffered a miscarriage in a devastating video
The stigma surrounding pregnancy loss seems like it’s slowly shattering. While it’s certainly an awful experience to go through, many women are feeling less alone in their sadness, grief, and their trauma. This shift is in part because of women like Shawn Johnson who share their emotional experiences with others.
The Olympian just revealed that she suffered a miscarriage recently in a video on her YouTube channel. She and her husband, Andrew East, made a 20 minute video that shows the moment Johnson found out she was pregnant, to the moments after she miscarried.
“Today’s video is a little bit sensitive,” Johnson said at the beginning of the video. “It’s not the happiest video but we feel like a lot of people go through this so we wanted to share it.”
After the intro, the video cuts to the moment she found out she was pregnant. Johnson was on a press tour in New York when she bought the pregnancy tests, that all came back positive. Her first reactions are what many women have when they first find out they’re pregnant – a rush of excitement and nervousness all at once. “Whoa. Definitely wasn’t planning this, but it’s exciting,” she says, “How am I going to tell Andrew, he’s going to be a daddy?”
She explains that the two weren’t planning to get pregnant yet, they had talked about kids and ultimately decided they would wait a few years.
She said her “instant reaction was sheer terror.” Which, hell yes, the prospect of new motherhood is kind of scary.
She jokes, “I’m a mom to a dog, I’ve never been a mom to a child.”
Johnson said she had been feeling “off” lately, mostly tired, hungry, and bloated. Not full blown morning sickness (yet). She decided to surprise her husband with the news when they both got back to their Los Angeles home.
When she walked in the door, her husband was wondering what the surprise was and Johnson instructed him to open a package. Inside was a pair of baby Converse sneakers. His reaction was total shock and happiness.
The video then shows Johnson on the way to the doctor only two days after finding out she was pregnant. She had been experiencing cramping and heavy bleeding. The doctor confirmed that she was six weeks along and had indeed miscarried.
“We just back got back from the doctor and I’m no longer pregnant, somehow I lost the pregnancy already, it sucks. It’s definitely no fun,” she says.
“I was ready to buy baby clothes, pick out names.”
This part of the video was actually the most powerful because often when women suffer pregnancy losses early on, it’s deemed not as sad. It’s considered not as grief-worthy as a later term miscarriage. Ultimately, any miscarriage at any time can be extremely traumatic. If there’s anything we can learn from October being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month it’s how to support women who experience loss at any stage. A loss is a loss, whether at six weeks or 20.
Towards the end of the video, a tearful Johnson holds up the baby Converse sneakers and tells viewers, “We’ll use them again, of course.”
“The past 48 hours have been some of the happiest, scariest, and saddest times of my life,” Johnson writes in the caption of the video. “My husband Andrew and I found out that we were unexpectedly pregnant, only to find out hours later some tragic news. I have been crying more than I ever have, but am still optimistic for what is next.”
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