Ashley Williams has shared details about her miscarriage to let women who have been through the same painful experience know they are not alone.
In an essay for the Human Development Project, the actress from “The Jim Gaffigan Show” wrote that she had a miscarriage while shopping at Whole Foods with her son, Gus, who was almost 2 years old at the time. During her visit, Williams felt something on her left leg and realized it was blood. She touched her leg, and her son asked what was on her hand. She told him it was “an emergency.”
“I wiped my hand on my jean shorts, noticing they were already soaked through with blood,” she wrote. “I stopped to text my husband: ‘I think I need you to come home from work.’”
After her experience, Williams discovered most of her friends had also had at least one miscarriage. According to the American Pregnancy Association, 10 to 25 percent of “clinically recognized pregnancies” result in miscarriage. These statistics baffled Williams, especially when she thought about how taboo the subject of miscarriage can be.
“If 25 percent of my peers are currently experiencing miscarriages right alongside me, why wasn’t I prepared?” she wrote. “Why don’t we talk about it? Why was I feeling embarrassed, broken, like a walking wound?”
Williams wrote that her experience “decimated [her] confidence,” but felt motivated to normalize the conversation around miscarriage. She wrote that she taught indigenous women in a village in Bangladesh about the reproductive system and hoped that openly using the word “vagina” would encourage them to get help for their medical problems like yeast infections and UTIs. Now, Williams wants to use a similar strategy and encourage women to talk about their miscarriages.
“Maybe tell your Starbucks barista that you need an extra shot because you just had a miscarriage,” she wrote. “Tell someone to carry your bags for you, not because you’re weak, but because you recently had a miscarriage and you deserve a break. Tell the bartender to make it a double because you haven’t wanted to drink alcohol for months and now you’re allowed to.”
Williams also wants to let women who have had miscarriages know that they’re not alone.
“You are not broken. You did nothing wrong,” she wrote in her essay. “You are strong, you are brave, and there is hope. I was right there next to you at Whole Foods, bleeding out of my shorts.”
By talking about her experience, Williams has inspired others to come forward. Women and men have tweeted at her to share how miscarriage has impacted their lives and to thank her for freely talking about the subject.
Williams has also used Twitter to share her appreciation for all the love she’s received since publishing her essay online.
“Thanks so much for the support,” she tweeted on Sept. 17. “I have read every story, letter, comment.”