James Van Der Beek and wife Kimberly are parents of five — their youngest child, daughter Gwendolyn, arrived in June.
But before the joy of her birth, they experienced devastating pain, the actor revealed in a new Instagram post about miscarriage, a word the "Pose" star wants to replace.
"Wanted to say a thing or two about miscarriages… of which we've had three over the years (including right before this little beauty)," the "Dawson's Creek" alum wrote to start his weekend post, which was accompanied by a photo of himself, Kimberly and baby Gwendolyn. "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."
He added, "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 its 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."
James — whose older kids are Emilia, 2, Annabel, 4, Joshua, 6, and Olivia, 7 — continued to explain his feelings on coping with the loss of a child: "Some changes we make proactively, some we make because the universe has smashed us, but either way, those changes can be gifts," he wrote. "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," he concluded, adding the hashtags #miscarriage, #WeNeedANewName #MoreCommonThanYouHearAbout and tagging his wife of eight years.
His post has garnered nearly 70,000 likes and more than 2,600 comments, many from fans who have been through the same difficult experience.