Kimberly Van Der Beek has been candid about her five experiences with pregnancy loss. In a recent episode of The Make Down podcast, Kimberly, who shares five kids — Olivia, 10, Joshua, 8, Annabel, 6, Emilia, 4, and Gwendolyn, 2 — with actor James Van Der Beek, opened up about how she's recovering from the losses.
"I understand that I am very blessed to be able to birth five children," she said. "I've also had five miscarriages, two which were really harsh experiences . . . It has changed my day-to-day quite a bit, 'cause I'm in very much a healing mode right now. My body is really needing the nourishment and the care right now. And I've actually been more hands-off with parenting than I have in the past."
In November 2019, Kimberly and James shared that they had lost a pregnancy at 17 weeks. Seven months later, they experienced pregnancy loss once more. "The last two miscarriages, they've been really extreme," she explained. "The one in November, it was losing a ton of blood, losing consciousness over and over and over again, and feeling like, 'Oof, am I gonna die?' . . . I'm really learning what it's like to have a relationship with my body and put myself first."
Now, Kimberly is doing everything she can to be gentle with herself, but she pointed out that American culture tends to reward moms in particular for "being Superwoman," rather than taking the time to heal properly after a loss. "I've noticed that a lot of countries, they really tell women, 'When you have had a baby or a miscarriage, take time after to replenish.' And that's really not what our society has endorsed in the past. We put a lot of praise into the working woman or the woman that can do it all . . . These are terms that we've looked at as terms of endearment, praise, things that we look at as a good thing, doing it all, not having help, having a nanny is bad . . . It's really interesting what we do to ourselves and to other women, sometimes. And what I've really learned is to let all of that go."
"I need to feel really good in my body if I'm going to explore that option. And right now, I'm not there."
She continued, noting a few things that she's consciously doing for herself throughout the day to encourage healing. "So right now I wake up with the kids, but then I go back to sleep. I have a little extra help. I'm taking time. I made myself a little meditation corner, I'm taking a course on tea ceremony to learn how to relax into my body," she said, adding later that: "It's been really great for me, and interestingly it's been very great for my kids, too, because they're learning different ways of being by my learning different ways of being."
Kimberly also recognized that she has more privilege than most mothers. However, she explained that she, too, has been in the position of heavily relying on her friends, which is something she encourages.
"I can feel all the mothers out there, and I'm just gonna put this out there," she said. "[Saying,] 'Good for you, it's nice that you have the means to do this, to have somebody help you. It's nice that you have the means to sit back; I don't.' And I just wanna say to all those women: I feel you. And that's why I think that shifting the way that we live and interact is really important. At one point, I didn't have anything. And at those points, that is where you call your friends and you ask for help. And I think we also gotta get a lot better at asking each other for help."
Although Kimberly noted that she and James are open to having more children down the road, she's taking the time to recover physically and emotionally first. "Listen, the possibility is there, if my body agrees to it. I do not take birth control — big surprise!" she said. "But I need to feel really good in my body if I'm going to explore that option. And right now, I'm not there."