Since welcoming daughter Gwendolyn this past June, James Van Der Beek and his wife, Kimberly Brook, are now the proud parents of five young children. Though Van Der Beek's large quantity of family-centric social media content typically comprises sweet selfies with his kids, silly photos of the siblings playing together, and hilarious recaps of his "parenting fails," his latest Instagram post took a more serious tone. On Friday, the Dawson's Creek star shared a photo of himself and Kimberly cradling a napping Gwendolyn, describing in the caption their experiences with multiple miscarriages and making a thoughtful case for renaming the tragic event.
"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," Van Der Beek began.
He went on to describe how miscarriages can "tear you open like nothing else." He writes, "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 😍)," the actor continued. "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."
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Van Der Beek doesn't shy away from sharing the less photogenic side of parenting. Perhaps most notably, shortly after he and Kimberly welcomed Gwendolyn, he posted a photo of him cradling the newborn among a scene of "Home-Birth Realness" — complete with a mixing bowl full of placenta. As he warned in the caption, the photo's contents are not for the squeamish, but they definitely are for anyone who appreciates honesty and openness about the rollercoaster ride that is parenting.
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