“It will tear you open” Kimberly and James Van Der Beek on their 3 miscarriages

James van der Beek

Former Dawson’s Creek star James Van Der Beek has opened up about his family’s experience of grief, revealing they’ve endured the loss of three babies during pregnancy.

Content note: This post discusses miscarriage.

“We need a new word for it”

James and wife Kimberly are parents to five gorgeous mini-me kiddos – seven-year-old Olivia, six-year-old Joshua, four-year-old Annabel, two-year-old Emilia and newborn Gwendolyn who was born at home back in June. The couple married in Israel back in 2010 and have obviously been thick as thieves, building their beautiful family ever since.

Not one to sugar-coat parenting, James frequently shares the highs and lows of mum and dad life on his Instagram account. His latest post dug a little deeper than the usual, revealing how he and Kimberly have coped with the loss of three babies along with some words of encouragement for other parents who were navigating the same experience.

“Wanted to say a thing or two about miscarriages… of which we’ve had three over the years (including right before this little beauty)” James began, posting a photo of himself and Kimberly with wee Gwen. He pointed out that the language around this very sad experience leaves a lot to be desired and deserves a big rethink.

“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’ … let’s wipe all blame off the table before we even start.”


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“It will tear you open like nothing else”

While James obviously didn’t have to endure the physical pain of miscarriage, he says that the emotional toll of a pregnancy ending could push parents to the brink.

“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 suggests that parents who are going through a miscarriage give themselves plenty of time to process this heartbreaking experience.

“Don’t judge your grief, or try to rationalize your way around it … 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,” James suggested.

While in the thick of it, the idea that anything positive could come out of something so sad seems ridiculous, but sometimes there are little glimmers of goodness amidst the grief.

“Many couples become closer than ever before,” James wrote. “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).”


If you’re struggling with the loss of a baby, please don’t go it alone. SANDS counsellors are there to support you and provide helpful advice about living with loss.

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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

A post shared by James Van Der Beek (@vanderjames) on

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