Every now and again, reality tv can get really, really real. Dawson’s Creek star James Van Der Beek has been competing on the US version of Dancing With The Stars that’s airing at the moment, and has opened up about his wife’s miscarriage.
In an October episode, James first announced that he and his wife were expecting their sixth child. Breaking the awful news during the video package before his performance on the most recent episode, he said:
“My wife Kimberly and I went through every expecting parent’s worst nightmare. We lost the baby.”
“You never know why these things happen, that’s what I’ve been telling my kids. All you know is that it brings you closer together, it breaks you open, it opens up your heart, it deepens your appreciation. It makes you more human.”
Miscarriage is a heartbreaking topic, and it’s only fairly recently that we’ve seen a shift in the perception that talking about it is taboo.
In Australia, every single day 282 women will lose a pregnancy before 20 weeks. A quarter of women under 35 will have a miscarriage, and for pregnant women over 40 that statistic rises to half. Most women will go on to have a healthy baby afterwards, but almost a third of them will get clinical diagnosis of post-partum anxiety or postnatal depression after their next child.
James speaking out about miscarriage on Dancing With The Stars is really important for a number of reasons, but also because we don’t tend to hear from the fathers who have lost pregnancies very often at all – and certainly not on a prime time reality show.
There is hardly any research on how men deal with miscarriages, but anecdotally we hear stories about how trying to be strong for their partner can mean men can forget to look after themselves. It was a big moment for James Van Der Beek to open up on TV, and hopefully it will mean that some men feel less alone.