Laura Prepon opens up about terminating her second pregnancy in her new book, “You and I, as Mothers.”
The 40-year-old actress reveals that when she first started writing her book — promoted as part-memoir, part-handbook — she was happy to discover that she was pregnant with her second child.
However, at 12 weeks, Prepon was told that the baby had an elevated nuchal translucence — a sign of potential abnormalities such as Down syndrome, heart defects or spina bifida. The elevation was slight at the time, so the doctor wasn’t too concerned.
Shortly after the “Orange is the New Black” star entered her second trimester, she went on a holiday to Northern California with husband Ben Foster and their daughter, Ella. While there she received an email from their genetics counselor asking her to call when convenient.
“I called immediately,” she writes. “All was clear…What a relief! And it was another baby girl!… We couldn’t wait to tell our loved ones about the new addition to our family.”
But, minutes later, the counselor called again and asked that Prepon not tell family or loved ones, explaining that she wanted the actress to get through the remaining sixteen-week anatomy screening before making any announcements.
Prepon says the almost two weeks wait was “torture.” When the day arrived, a scan conducted by her doctor immediately revealed something was wrong.
“I burst into tears,” Prepon writes. “I couldn’t bear to hear what was about to come out of her mouth. Ben held me tightly.” The doctor indicated the fetus’s lymphatic fluid was outside of the body.
The news continued to get worse: “The brain isn’t forming correctly. The bones aren’t growing as they should,” the doctor told the distraught couple.
“Is there any chance she might be okay?” Prepon asked.
“Laura, the brain isn’t growing,” her doctor replied, “I’m sorry.
“She told us that further tests could be done, but it was unlikely the baby would survive to full term, and my body was at risk as well.”
Armed with that sobering news, Prepon and her husband decided to terminate the pregnancy.
Prepon blamed herself for the abnormalities, wondering if she had been at fault eating the wrong foods or working too many hours.
“I was so confused and angry at myself and my body,” the actress admits. “It was brutal.”
Prepon began to heal when she contacted a natural wellness coach who teaches survival skills. The coach suggested practicing mindfulness techniques such a reciting daily gratitudes and talking “directly to my body about the pregnancy we had just lost.” “Not only did it help me cope with the loss of the pregnancy,” she writes, “it also helps with the daily stresses of life.”
The story ends on a happy note. Prepon and Foster welcomed a healthy baby boy in February of this year.
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