Shay Mitchell is reminding followers that not everything you see online is as it seems.
The 31-year-old Canadian actress took to Instagram to review the highs – and lows of 2018, revealing for the first time that she suffered a miscarriage.
Mitchell, of “Pretty Little Liars” fame, recapped her whirlwind year by highlighting her personal and professional achievements, from travelling the world to celebrating milestone moments with friends and family.
Towards the end of her lengthy post, the star wrote, “Lastly, although it was an amazing year, it didn’t come without some hardships.”
Mitchell shared a photo of an ultrasound with a broken heart and told her more than 20 million followers that she miscarried the child of her “hopes and dreams.”
“We all have to deal with various struggles and challenges in life,” Mitchell wrote. “And sometimes it’s easier to showcase the good times on social media, which is what leads many people to criticize it for its lack of authenticity.”
The actress went on to tell fans that their support is “incredibly humbling and hugely uplifting.”
Unfortunately, Mitchell’s loss is not uncommon. A miscarriage is classified as any loss in pregnancy before week 20 of pregnancy, but is highest within the first 13 weeks. An estimated 15 to 20 per cent of pregnancies result in miscarriage, and in many cases, the cause is unknown.
Chromosomal problems, problems with implantation, infection, or problems with the uterus or cervix are all possible causes of miscarriage.
Certain factors, such as age, increase a woman’s risk of miscarriage. Women over 35 as well as those who smoke, drink or use harmful drugs are at an increased risk of pregnancy complications.
Preexisting health conditions, such as autoimmune disorders like lupus, obesity, diabetes and hormone problems such as polycystic ovarian syndrome also play a factor in a healthy pregnancy, and should be discussed with a health care provider.
Despite being common, miscarriages can be traumatic experiences for women and their partners. According to a 2016 study, four in 10 women who experienced a miscarriage reported symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) three months after pregnancy loss.
Aside from flashbacks and nightmares, many women were overcome with feelings of depression and anxiety, and actively avoided friends and family. Equally troubling were the 80 per cent of participants who said they felt like a failure after a miscarriage, and the 70 per cent who reported feeling guilty.
Visit the March of Dimes website for more information about pregnancy and miscarriage.