Eva Amurri Martino’s Blog: Pregnancy After Miscarriage – Fighting the Fear of Loss with Love

05/11/2016 at 08:45 PM ET

Eva Amurri Martino is pregnant – again!

The actress, who has followed in her mother Susan Sarandon‘s footsteps, is best known for her roles in Saved and on Californication, and she has guest-starred on The Mindy Project and New Girl.

Two years after tying the knot in Charleston, South Carolina, Amurri Martino and her husband, sports commentator and 36 Hours host Kyle Martino, announced they were expecting their first child — a baby girl.

The couple welcomed their now 21-month-old daughter Marlowe Mae in August 2014. They are now expecting another baby — a boy! — in the fall.

Amurri Martino, 31, has started a lifestyle blog, Happily Eva After, where she shares her adventures in motherhood, among other topics. You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter @thehappilyeva.

Eva Amurri Martino blog
Anel Dzafic

If miscarriage is seldom talked about, the feelings associated with pregnancy after a loss are even more seldom talked about. I think there’s a misconception that once a woman conceives after a miscarriage, that somehow her miscarriage is erased — that the feelings of loss are replaced by feelings of joy for this new baby, and that everything moves forward as it should be.

In my own experience, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

When I experienced my own devastating miscarriage at almost 10 weeks pregnant last year, one of the deepest scars it left with me was fear. As I grieved the loss of my child, and what could have been, I was also paralyzed by a fear that I would never again have a healthy child.

My miscarriage was so sudden, so unexpected. I had been in to my doctor’s office for a perfect, normal ultrasound just the day before. I saw our baby moving and growing normally: its arms and legs, its perfect heartbeat, its size right on track. Then, our baby passed away inside me what must have been only a few hours later.

The entire experience was traumatizing from the moment I knew my child was no longer living, all the way through the D&C, and the recovery period which reminds you every moment that your body is eliminating a pregnancy. Some women’s breasts even leak the milk they had been developing for their child in these days afterwards.

I had always been a trusting person — able to believe that all would be okay even in the most stressful or unfortunate of circumstances, but now that felt idiotically naïve. I understood for the first time not only how fragile life is, but how our hopes, dreams, and expectations are even more fragile. I realized in that moment, and in the thousands of moments afterwards, that there is absolutely nothing special about my own hopes and dreams — that they are and always have been as delicate and vulnerable as the next person’s.

Gone was the illusion of “good luck” or “fate” or “meant to be.” I entered a period of my life at that time where I felt the most vulnerable, and unsure of most of the things I believed and hoped to be true: That I would get to choose how many children I would have, that my children would grow up safe and healthy, and that my family would always be okay in the end.

I’m sure these are common feelings felt by any grieving person. There are people who have lost children of all ages, even more than one, and I can’t imagine their heartbreak and depth of loss. I think this is one of the least understood things about loss of any kind: that it seeps in to every corner of a person’s life, that it changes them, and that their life after their loss is a different life than before.

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I felt extremely misunderstood after my miscarriage, especially by people I knew that hadn’t experienced a pregnancy loss themselves. I think they hoped that time would heal, that after a period of grieving I would be all better and that it was best to wait it out. I got a lot of “reminders” that I would “have another baby,” that “it just wasn’t meant to be,” or reassurances that I would “eventually” have the family that I wanted.

What I wanted to tell these people was that I didn’t want “another” baby. I wasn’t interested in their “meant to be.” I was interested in the baby that I had, the one that I loved and was waiting for. THAT ONE is the one that I wanted, and that one is the one that I would never have.

Above all, I was sure that every pregnancy I ever had again would end up this way — that it would seem perfectly fine and then one day the baby would be dead with no explanation. I was sure that I would never again birth a healthy child, hold them to my breast and touch their tiny fingers and toes.

For a while, I wouldn’t even discuss trying to get pregnant again. I felt resentful at the idea that we would just move on from the experience, “buy a new puppy,” so to speak. I wanted to figure out my feelings, to rage and sob and hold my daughter without trembling.

Eva Amurri Martino blog
Kyle Martino

I was so adamant that trying again wasn’t the right thing to do, until I looked inside myself and realized that my rejection of growing our family further was being fed and nourished by my fear. I was so deeply afraid of the possible outcome of further loss that I was fighting even the idea of opening my heart again. As anyone who has been through heartbreak knows, making yourself vulnerable after you’ve been deeply hurt is one of the hardest things to do.

I was sick of living in fear, of having so many negative thoughts about my future, and having that fear affect the way I was living my life. After a lot of discussion with my husband, we both decided that the joy that another child would bring our family outweighed the challenges of another heartbreak. We decided to go into another pregnancy attempt with our hearts open and to hope always for the best.

Even with these intentions, it was terrifying when I learned I was pregnant. I felt so many things. I was afraid of loss, of course, but I also felt fiercely protective, and above all a homesickness and longing for the baby that our family would never get to meet. I didn’t feel like celebrating. I barely spoke of it. Kyle and I talked around it, almost.

I was two weeks late before I even summoned enough courage to take a pregnancy test. I was reluctant to know my due date. I pushed off my ultrasounds, sure that each one would bring more devastating news. Each time I would begin to dream or think about this baby, I would hurry it from my mind. I threw myself in to work, or in to tasks and adventures with my daughter. I didn’t think of the nursery, of the baby’s face, or of our pregnancy announcement as I had so often with my last pregnancy.

This ambivalence began to creep in to all the areas of my life. We had a couple exciting bits of news that I saw only the bad in — every victory at work was quickly dimmed by my estimations of what could go wrong. My answer to everything was now: “Well, we’ll see how it goes. I’ll get excited when it’s really happening.” In my mind, I was waiting for the second trimester — the “safe time” where I could finally be happy and relieved.

Then, I got an email from a Happily Eva After reader that really changed my outlook: She wrote and thanked me for speaking out about miscarriage, and shared her own devastating losses with me — two of which had happened well in to her second trimester. I realized suddenly that pregnancy, like life, is never guaranteed. There is no safe zone, there is only hope or fear. What good was I doing myself to ignore and dismiss this pregnancy just because of some arbitrary timeline? I wanted to fall in love with this child just as I had the two times before. I missed that feeling of hopeful joy, and I know my husband and daughter missed it too.

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In that moment, I decided to love again — completely.

I had a little conversation with my tiny babe deep inside me, and apologized for all the time I had lost. We shared the news with friends and colleagues, I bought a teeny pair of newborn pants and kept them on my desk so I could feel them and hold them. We explained to our daughter that there was a baby in Mama’s belly. When we eventually shared the news of our pregnancy with the world, my heart was bursting with happiness and gratitude — both for the child we are expecting and for the personal growth I’ve pushed myself towards in the wake of our loss.

Eva Amurri Martino blog
Kyle Martino

Of course, I fight the fear of loss every day — even now. I’m over four months pregnant and I still have moments of panic and wariness that my worst fear could once again come true. I allow myself these moments, and try to breathe through them. When I’m scared, I speak to my son — I encourage him to stay with us, and tell him how much we are longing to hold him and to welcome him in to our family.

We have plans for our boy, and no matter what happens, I’m so grateful for the full heart I feel today. As one of my favorite lines by poet Rumi estimates: “There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

— Eva Amurri Martino

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Becky on

Exactly. Worded perfectly.

kaktyc on

Beautifully said, Eva!!!

Enjoy this very special time in your life!!!

Happy Momma on

Wonderfully written!

Wishing Eva and her family all the very best.

Rachel on

I am experiencing this currently, a miscarriage. The due date of my 3rd baby is a week away and I will never get to see the sweet face. I never really knew the immense sadness and pain that would come along with this.

I am thankful for Eva sharing her story. It describes exactly how I feel and have had a difficult time articulating. The grief of the future what could have been. Beautiful, thank you!

Guest on

I so enjoy Eva’s posts. She is a gifted writer, and a caring one. Looking forward to reading more of her work!!

Marne on

I lost three pregnancies in a row between my two children and this perfectly sums up so many of the emotions surrounding loss, comfort from others, trying again, and everything else related to pregnancy loss.

Thank you for sharing.

Sarah on

I’ve suffered a miscarriage and then a long list of health complications to follow after the miscarriage. My husband and I are trying again now. My period is due tomorrow and so much of me hopes it will come because I’m too scared to get pregnant. I still don’t trust my body. I’m dreading getting a positive for the same reasons she described above. I only feel like this when my period or positive pregnancy test is imminent.

Thank you for sharing your story. It helps so much to know I’m not alone in this feeling. Your essay is like a blueprint for how to get past this sinking feeling that something will go wrong again. I now feel more centered, hopeful and excited to make a new life.

Sending you so much love and gratitude. I am so sorry for your loss. And I’m so happy for your beautiful outlook on your recovery and your future. Xx

Julie Hartwell on

What a well written article with emotion and love..

Guest on

I so greatly enjoyed reading this. I have a son her daughter’s age; we lost our second around the same time she lost hers, and we are now expecting again! Another son.

A full-range of emotions go along with pregnancy after a loss, and she summed it up perfectly. At 6 months, I still hold my breath every time I go in for an ultrasound until I hear his heartbeat. My only salvation is now being able to feel his kicks- the constant dread and worry seem to have finally subsided.

Thank you for your words, Eva. You have a gift.

Nycgirl437 on

Thank you for honestly and eloquently sharing your mind on such a difficult experience. You are doing amazing and I have so much respect for anyone who chooses to overcome that kind of fear. This will be an invaluable piece of wisdom for your beautiful children in the years to come.

Stephanie T. on

This completely resonated with me! Her words were right on, as a mom who has had two m/c.

Thank you Eva for sharing.

Tee on

Oh, my. I can honestly say that this is one of the most honest, heartfelt articles I’ve ever read in regards to experiencing a pregnancy after a baby loss, be it miscarriage or still birth.

Thank you, Eva, for being so honest and putting such raw emotions out there like that. It couldn’t have been easy but I truly think your words will help a LOT of women that are battling similar situations.

Marlowe is a precious little girl and I am sure your son will be equally adorable. Continuing to pray that the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly and can’t wait to hear all about your new little one when he arrives!

Melissa on

This is so completely true. My husband and I struggled to get pregnant and once we finally did I had a miscarriage. What was worse was they couldn’t tell me what was wrong and if I’d miscarry or not. One doctor said “wait and see” and another said I needed a shot for my “ectopic pregnancy.” It was not ectopic and after 6 weeks of hell I miscarried at 10 weeks. Pregnancy after loss is so scary and people who have not been through it don’t understand.

Thank you for sharing this Eva for those of us that have also been there and lived through it. I wish you a happy, healthy pregnancy!

Mary on

I know after losing our baby at sixteen weeks during my second pregnancy I personally could not wait to get pregnant again. I felt I needed to be pregnant before I would have been due with our second baby. I needed there to be a reason for our loss. Our youngest daughter is that reason. She would not be here if we hadn’t lost that baby.

I will admit that I didn’t even start relaxing during her pregnancy until at least 20 weeks and didn’t truly breathe easy until she was born healthy. Every trip to the doctor to hear her heartbeat resulted in an anxiety attack.

Adrienne on

I never comment, but I have to say that this is so well written. Thank you for sharing!

Courtney on

I’ve never had a miscarriage that I know of and I just loved reading this post. The tone and emotion with which it is written paint her as a reasonable and very human person. I do hope I don’t have this experience but am happy she shared and is expecting again and feeling good about her growing family!

Love your articles Eva!

Kelli on

Unfortunately the timing on this article hits us hard right now. We found out yesterday at our 2nd ultrasound appointment that there was no heartbeat. I am scheduled for a D&C tomorrow.

We are grieving the loss, the hope of getting pregnant again and the fear of this happening again. Nothing will make this better but it is easier reading stories of hope going forward and knowing we are not alone

Michelle on

Thank you for speaking out and your beautiful post.

I miscarried my first pregnancy and never felt that I was able to trust and enjoy my two subsequent pregnancies as a result. I have two healthy, beautiful children, but my lost child would be turning 7 in just a few days and I still grieve for that baby I never got to hold.

Marta on

I so agree, that is a sense a loss a mother never gets over. I have three beautiful children and know I am incredibly blessed. I have also experienced two miscarriages and at the time I couldn’t help but blame myself and wondered what I could have done differently, even though there was absolutely nothing.

People don’t realize the sense of loss women experience after a miscarriage, they think they should just be able “move on”, it’s not always that easy.

Lindsey Henke on

A great resource to get support during this difficult time is http://www.pregnancyafterlosssupport.com where fellow courageous PAL moms come together to share stories and support each other in groups. Feel free to check it out.

Thanks for this perfectly written and heartfelt piece on what it’s really like to be pregnant again after a loss.

Lisa on

What a beautiful note, Eva. I experienced a miscarriage and felt the same way when I got pregnant again with my son. Wish more people would talk about it, so thank you for that. Your daughter and your family are just beautiful!

Angie on

I had a miscarriage my very first pregnancy at 4 months in, I have felt that loss every day for the longest time, it’s been 21 years now. I have 2 healthy boys I had another miscarriage when my youngest was 10, that was 5 years ago and that lose is harder still, the possibilities, what he/she would be like, who they would like, You never forget, but it does get easier. I am thankful for the 2 handsome healthy sons I have now, one is almost 19 and my baby is 15, I have not been able to have anymore due to Endometriosis and PCOD.

Beautifully written Eva!!

Anonymous on

Thank you for sharing your story it truly hits home for me in so many ways. Don’t live in fear. Have to keep moving forward and having hope and faith for the future

kitty62862 on

The commonness of miscarriage is why a live birth is still called a Miracle.

We don’t realize how the odds are stacked against a successful pregnancy.

I wish Eva and her family the best.

Marlowe is simply gorgeous.

Summer on

Beautifully written. Heart wrenching and hopeful.

Theresa on

Thank you for sharing your story, we have had four miscarriages and are about to start our fifth round of IVF praying for a miracle. I have had trouble making people around me understand the complete joy of finding out you are pregnant only to have that baby go away and the fear you have in even getting pregnant again. I pray we get and stay pregnant, stories like yours make it easier for all of us who have dealt with this awful loss.

Best of luck to you and your family.

Jeanne on

I do so appreciate your journey and story. You must know that there are many of us us who never have had the experience of a healthy baby and have any miscarriages. So while I appreciate that you have come to appreciate your unique journey, you need to understand how blessed you are to have evan one healthy baby.

Sorry that you have been so sidelined in your grief of the one that you lost — but many of us have only losses to count and no living babies on the other side. You are tremendously lucky and please thank the good Lord every day for the children and happiness you have been allowed to have. Many of us do not have the happy ending that you have had.

Barbara on

I have not experienced miscarriage, although I had an ectopic pregnancy after which I was unable to bear children. I just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading Eva’s work on her Blog and I follow her on Instagram. Even if you’re not experiencing exactly what she is going through, she is a very talented writer and never disappoints.

Guest on

I had a miscarriage at 18 weeks in November and I’m 15 weeks pregnant now (both boys). Reading this really gave me some peace about the distance I’ve had from this pregnancy over the past few months. I’m excited but I don’t want to share it with anyone yet. It’s a side of pregnancy that we don’t talk about nearly enough and I really commend Eva on sharing her experience with such vulnerability.

Danielle on

i had a miscarriage at 11 weeks when i was 21 years old… i got pregnant with the baby at age 20… i was very devastated. i understand that God is taking my angel baby from me.. he has planned his time… after a few time at that around october of 2 years ago. my boyfriend and i were trying to conceive again for a baby… i got pregnant at the second time at age 21 then i gave a birth at 22 in last august 🙂 so this is my story about after a miscarriage. thanks for sharing your story, eva. i understand how do you feel about this.