Kiele Sanchez Was ‘Grateful’ for Going Back to Work After Late-Term Miscarriage: ‘I Did Not Have the Option to Hide’

07/14/2016 at 04:30 PM ET

Kiele Sanchez is opening up about her late-term miscarriage, from pregnancy itself to her experiences directly after the tragedy, as well as how she began healing through being on set again.

Understandably, though, her first day back was extremely difficult.

“I was sweaty and shaky as wardrobe silently helped me into [a prosthetic stomach]. My small trailer [was] filled with their pity and sorrow,” the Kingdom actress, 38, wrote in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter about her first day back on set to play her pregnant character Lisa, who lost her own baby in the storyline that day.

She continues, “When I looked at myself in the mirror my mind somersaulted. I’m pregnant again. It was all a bad dream. A bad dream I was going to have to [perform] again and again until we ‘got it.’ ”

Sanchez and her husband of three years, Friday Night Lights alum Zach Gilford, suffered the loss in early October. Their son, whom they’d named Winter, was due in November.

Kiele Sanchez Healing After Miscarriage
Joe Scarnici/Getty

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Before the day she went back to work — where she herself ending up making the call to write Lisa’s miscarriage into Kingdom‘s storyline — Sanchez can remember the pain of day-to-day life after she and Gilford, 34, said goodbye to their son.

“Therapist. Psychiatrist. Trainer. Short stint on anti-depressants. Long stint on anti-anxiety. Ambien. Alcohol for the remaining bits,” she writes candidly. “I fantasized about being dead with him. I would have dreams where he was still inside me and I would wake up and howl that he wasn’t.

“I imagined him slightly cold as I wrapped my body around him and we were at peace. These were the thoughts that soothed me,” she continues.

Sanchez adds that her body hadn’t “gotten the memo” that she had lost the baby, but in reality, “lost” isn’t quite the word that fits what happened to her and Gilford.

“Lost implies I misplaced him. That I was careless. Maybe that’s why we women feel such shame,” she muses. “We didn’t lose them. They were ripped from our clutched hands.”

Thoughts of regret, guilt and more plagued Sanchez to the point where she punished herself both mentally and physically, working out for hours a day and resorting to using a corset to hide her post-pregnancy weight.

But after a difficult first part of her return to work, Sanchez experienced a moment that reminded herself and her colleagues that she was still herself.

“Right before ‘action’ I looked at the ‘A camera’ and asked, ‘Do I look fat?’ Silence. And then laughter. And we all breathed for the first time since I walked in,” she shares. “I wanted them to know that although this incredibly difficult, unlucky, life-altering thing had happened, I’m still here. Inside this swollen, morose vision you see before you is the person who swears like a sailor and will give you s— if you’re out of focus or if we have to go again for sound. Who loves you ferociously and didn’t feel like herself until she was in your presence.”

The actress, who’s also known for having played Nikki on the hit ’00s show Lostfound solace in what her character was going through, too.

“As I sank into Lisa and her pain, and how she dealt with loss, it got easier. I started to care about something outside of my own agony,” she confesses. “It ended up being cathartic. A word I never really knew until now.

“I have so much pride that we didn’t shy away. That we created something that speaks to suffering that for some reason lives in shadows,” she continues. “I am grateful that I was put in a position that I did not have the option to hide. I’m glad that we leaned in. Went into the humanity of heartbreak.”

Jen Juneau

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Showing 14 comments

martha on

Kiele, your story brings back so many memories for me, 26 years ago my infant daughter died from a rare birth defect, we had no way of knowing she was even sick until she was born and all hell broke loose. Aside from all the baby items, crib, clothes, toys, baby shower gifts I didn’t know what to do with, I was so pissed at my body. I still had a pooch, my boobs still leaked, my hormones were all over the map. My 2 older kids were devastated.. There are so many ancillary things to deal with after the loss of a child. Everyone else gets back to life but you are still struggling with the what ifs, and whys. I will say a prayer for you and your husband. It never goes away, but it does sting less and less each passing year. Now its a dull ache, sort of like a bruise. I had 2 kids after her . she is always going to be the special “middle” child.

Courtney on

I read all of this with the biggest lump in my throat. As someone who suffered an early-term miscarriage, I understand just a small part of what she experienced. How incredibly courageous and gracious of her to share her heartbreak with us. Kiele, best wishes to you and your husband for continued healing.

Aisinie on

So sorry for the loss, pain, dissapointment, anger, guilt, confusion, sadness, why, why me! Like her I had to go through it at a late pregnancy miscarriage! I feel the pain! I feel the sadness and mourning. It is very familiar to me and every woman who went through that! You get over it but it never leaves you! It pops back on your head about what if’s?!? How old my kid would have been now?!?! How she/he would look like?!? It all drags with you! Does not drag you down but is certainly part of your life forever.

B on

Her son was stillborn, and she was in the third trimester. Very different from a miscarriage. I had a stillborn at 41 weeks in march. There are no words for the type of pain when you lose a baby that by all accounts is ready to come home.

Facts on

B is correct. It’s a stillborn. So sad to hear this. She was brave to take on that role.

lotimamiz on

when i looked at the figure of 8756 d .Than I have no other choice but to accept , what i saw .wr. They have been doing this for a year and get ride of their debts.. Yesterday they purchased new Aston Martin .

……………….. CareerPlus22.Tk

TK on

B & Fact,
Would you please stop correcting her. This is the terminology she used in her press release. If using the term miscarriage in any way brings her more comfort or peace leave it alone. There is no harm, we are not in med school preparing for a test.

Dawn on

Chiming in here. I am so sorry to hear about the death of her son. A stillbirth is the worst case scenario of a pregnancy and they aren’t nearly as uncommon and we believe them to be. 1 in 160 pregnancies end with this trajedy which equates to about 26,000 annually in the US. Most of them occur in the third trimester. You really aren’t out of the woods until the baby is born alive, as there is always that underlying risk factor. RIP Winter.

indiebambino on

This was not a miscarriage People, please stop writing this every time a woman has a stillborn child, it is TOTALY different. She had to go into labor and give birth to her dead child, this is not a miscarriage. We lost our son at three days old after a traumatic brain injury suffered during birth, we were and are devastated and miss him every single day. I am so sorry for her loss, so much love coming your way, it is a very very tough road.

Jamie on

This is such a powerful testimony to a loss of a baby. My heart goes out to her and her husband. My son was 2 days old when he passed from a neural tube defect. Not a lot of people understand the “club” we are forced into.

Tiffany on

Stillbirth. It has a name and the person who wrote this article refused to use the proper term. Miscarriage is clinical. It is what is put on the death certificate. This woman had to give gave birth to a dead child. It isn’t something that she can magically get over or pretend was just a mass of cells and blood. Her baby was at term. Shameful that very important point got lost in the publication of this piece.

gracie on

Kiele did not have a miscarriage. Winter was close to full term so either the baby died in the womb or during the birthing process…again, not a miscarriage. That said, I cannot imagine the pain of having to go through the birthing process only to grieve a dead infant. I wish her and her husband peace and recovery from this tragic loss.

BH on

People and Jen Juneau, Her baby was stillborn, not a miscarriage. It’s offensive that this writer would call it that. I would be furious if the story was written about me. It’s completely different and just a terrible horrible ordeal. I can’t imagine having to act in that storyline so soon as well as having to be interviewed about it- and especially having it poorly described. My heart goes out to her and her family.

Carol Unger on

Keile I am praying for you and Zach. You are a beautiful woman and you will be a great mother. Your child is with the Lord now and he will be waiting for you. I was hoping that someone would pick up the Gladys because they left us hanging. God bless and keep you in all you do. I will watch you in your next role.