Annika Noelle recently penned an open essay to Glamour on losing a child as a famous person and how it affected her confidence, her relationships, and womanhood.
“When my fiancé and I found out I was pregnant, we were simultaneously overjoyed and terrified. These would be our first steps together on the journey of parenthood,” Noelle began.
“The following weeks became a flurry of doctor appointments, blood work, and ultrasounds, all squeezed around my busy filming schedule. It was only until the progesterone results came in that everything began to unravel. I lost her at 10 weeks.”
Noelle continued, expressing the feelings and sensations that came up after the devasting loss.
“My dream of welcoming our baby into the world was slowly becoming more of a lucid nightmare. The doctor recommended an in-office D&C (dilation and curettage) so I wouldn’t have to experience the worst of it on set: ‘You’ll be drugged so you won’t feel much, if anything, slight cramping.'”
“After I took time to heal emotionally and physically, I was determined to try again. I was told the chances of us experiencing another pregnancy loss were slim to none, but sadly, our second attempt unraveled into sorrow and heartache as well. We lost him at eight weeks. And all the while, I was filming.
Noelle went on to reveal that no one knew, not even her colleagues.
“Nobody knew. I came up with excuses for why I couldn’t wear white pants or felt nauseous on set. Fans and news articles speculated whether I was pregnant or just gained weight during quarantine. And once again the storyline called for ceaseless tears when I felt like I had no more to give. I guess looking back at it now, I was scared to jinx anything. I didn’t want people to know and have things not work out. And yet I wish I had because I would have given anything to have the understanding and support of the cast and crew. I felt so alone.”
“The secret was isolating, yet the shame was debilitating. I felt like I had failed at something that should be easy. But as time marched on, I was surprised by a new feeling bubbling underneath the sorrow: an ancestral rage toward the burden of womanhood.”
And as Noelle continued on and began to share her grief with others, she found a quiet strength.
“And as I slowly began to open up about my loss to a select few, I was shocked by how many people had experienced it as well. I began to realize that the support I was craving could be found in the collective experience of women,” Noelle concluded. “And the more I opened up about it to men, they gained a deeper understanding. Suddenly my shame was replaced with power. I had been through hell and back and was still standing. To go through what I went through and still show up on set, to get through the day and not crumble, is a feat. I never want to hear anyone question a woman’s strength ever again.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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