Shay Mitchell is no stranger to living her life in the public eye, and in a new video chronicling her pregnancy journey, the actress shared some powerful truths around the experience of miscarriage.
Miscarriage was once a secret shrouded in shame and stigma, but in recent years, a long-overdue movement to open up the conversation about pregnancy loss has taken hold. These days, thankfully, discussion around the realities of miscarriage, and the ways in which we can better support grieving women, is thriving.
One woman expanding the dialogue on her own terms is Shay Mitchell, who bravely opened up about a miscarriage she experienced in 2018 in the first episode of her new YouTube pregnancy series, Almost Ready.
The Pretty Little Liars actress, who is currently expecting her first child with boyfriend Matte Babel, revealed why she “chose to hold on” until announcing her second pregnancy, owing to her miscarriage at 14 weeks last year.
“The first time that I was pregnant last year, Matte and I hadn’t been planning,” she began. “But it happened and we were really excited about it. I was like 14 weeks, at that point, I had no idea the percentage of miscarriages. When it happened I was just, completely blindsided by it.”
“I still have those photos on my phone and I still have all the doctor visits…and it’s weird because I haven’t looked at them, obviously,” she says emotionally. “But it’s not like I forgot about that happening.”
During the video, Mitchell, who began dating Babel three years ago, touched upon the fact that her pregnancy had prompted mixed emotions as she processed her past loss.
“So of course I’m super happy, but I still feel for the one that I lost,” she continues. “I know other women and other friends of mine who’ve gone through a way harder journey. It’s just really tough because you feel broken, as a woman, and that’s not a great feeling.”
Mitchell first spoke about her miscarriage on New Year’s Day, when she shared an Instagram story looking back at her highs and lows of 2018. “Lastly, although it was an amazing year, it didn’t come without some hardships,” she wrote towards the end of the slideshow, posting a photo of an ultrasound with a broken-heart emoji.
During Almost Ready, Mitchell elaborated on the decision to share the story of her miscarriage, referencing the pressures of living in the public eye.
“We all have to deal with various struggles and challenges in life. And sometimes it’s easier to only showcase the good times on social media, which is what leads many people to criticise it for its lack of authenticity,” she said
“The support and affection that so many of you show me lifts me up during even my darkest days, one of which happened last year after I miscarried and lost the child of my hopes and dreams.”
The deeply personal video goes in line with the actress’ pregnancy announcement last month, when she shared an Instagram post of her growing baby bump alongside the caption, “Does this mean I’m allowed to drive in the car pool lane at all times now?”
“There is something in the oven and it’s not my pizza! It’s kind of surreal processing the fact that another human is growing inside of you,” she said. “It’s exciting, nerve-racking, difficult and emotional all at the same time. Everyone waits for the right time to make the announcement and for me it wasn’t until I couldn’t hide it anymore and was tired of wearing over sized sweatshirts.”
With figures from the Miscarriage Association showing around one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, Mitchell’s candour has the power the change the narrative around for pregnancy loss for the better.
For information and support, visit miscarriageassociation.org.uk