He may always hold a special place in your heart from his Dawson’s Creek days—but James Van Der Beek’s moving Instagram post couldn’t be farther from the teen drama. The actor and dad of five recently posted a sweet pic of his wife Kimberly and their new baby Gwendolyn—and the message that went along with it was bittersweet. The actor and dad used his social media post to put a spotlight on the difficult subject of pregnancy loss.

Van Der Beek writes, “Wanted to say a thing or two about miscarriages…of which we’ve had three over the years (including right before this little beauty).” He goes on to add that we need a new word for miscarriage, writing that it (the word), “in an insidious way, suggests fault for the mother – as if she dropped something, or failed to “carry.””

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Wanted to say a thing or two about miscarriages… of which we’ve had three over the years (including right before this little beauty). First off – we need a new word for it. “Mis-carriage”, in an insidious way, suggests fault for the mother – as if she dropped something, or failed to “carry.” From what I’ve learned, in all but the most obvious, extreme cases, it has nothing to do with anything the mother did or didn’t do. So let’s wipe all blame off the table before we even start. Second… it will tear you open like nothing else. It’s painful and it’s heartbreaking on levels deeper than you may have ever experienced. So don’t judge your grief, or try to rationalize your way around it. Let it flow in the waves in which it comes, and allow it it’s rightful space. And then… once you’re able… try to recognize the beauty in how you put yourself back together differently than you were before. Some changes we make proactively, some we make because the universe has smashed us, but either way, those changes can be gifts. Many couples become closer than ever before. Many parents realize a deeper desire for a child than ever before. And many, many, many couples go on to have happy, healthy, beautiful babies afterwards (and often very quickly afterwards – you’ve been warned 😍). I’ve heard some amazing metaphysical explanations for them, mostly centering around the idea that these little souls volunteer for this short journey for the benefit of the parents… but please share whatever may have given you peace or hope along the way… Along with a new word for this experience. #miscarriage #WeNeedANewName #MoreCommonThanYouHearAbout @vanderkimberly

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Along with making it clear that no mother should feel at fault for her miscarriage, Van Der Beek opens up about his own experience, “it will tear you open like nothing else. It’s painful and it’s heartbreaking on levels deeper than you may have ever experienced.”

He also offers advice, writing, “So don’t judge your grief, or try to rationalize your way around it. Let it flow in the waves in which it comes, and allow it it’s rightful space. And then…once you’re able to…try to recognize the beauty in how you put yourself back together differently than you were before.”

It’s not often than parents open up about past pregnancy struggles and losses, despite how common they can be; the March of Dimes estimates that as many as 10 to 15 percent of all pregnancies end in loss. To have a celeb dad like James Van Der Beek speak so candidly about his own family’s struggle is an important—and needed—huge step forward in erasing the stigma of pregnancy and infant loss for every family.

—Erica Loop

Featured Photo: James Van Der Beek via Instagram 

 

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