Ashley Williams is speaking out.
The 37-year-old actress has revealed that she recently suffered a miscarriage in a powerful essay for Human Development Project, detailing the moment she found out the news, and encouraging other women to be more open about their own miscarriages.
"A heavy, dark, and slow stream of blood made its way down my left inner thigh. Without thinking, I swiped it. My fingertips came up wet," Williams bravely shares, adding that the moment came during a Whole Foods outing with her 23-month old son, Gus. "I wiped my hand on my jean shorts, noticing they were already soaked through with blood. I stopped to text my husband: 'I think you need to come home from work.'"
The actress, who miscarried at eight weeks, goes on to say that she was surprised to find out that 25% of women her age have suffered the same experience -- and most of her friends had miscarried at least once -- but felt they couldn’t talk about it.
"My (still bloated) gut feeling is that something even more painful silences us -- the fear that we, as women are failures," she writes. "Procreation, the driving purpose in our constructed notion of womanhood, is broken by this sudden trauma."
"These are hopeless and disempowering diagnoses. I gave birth to Gus on the living room floor, a planned home birth, with no medication," she continues. "I am a badass woman. I am strong. My miscarriage, however, decimated my confidence."
"You are not broken. You did nothing wrong," she says to other women who have experienced miscarriages. "You are strong, you are brave, and there is hope."
For Williams, an important part of sharing her story is hoping she can inspire other women to the do the same, even encouraging them to normalize miscarriage by telling their Starbucks barista or bartender.
"Why not talk about it?" she asks. "I stand here in from of you, needing to normalize my miscarriage. And I'd love to hear about yours. I believe this will allow me -- and us -- to gather hope and strength."
"I invite you to start, with me, a vocal army of the 25 percenters who can normalize miscarriage in the social sphere. You are not broken. You did nothing wrong. You are strong, you are brave, and there is hope," she writes. "I was right there next to you at Whole Foods, bleeding out of my shorts. Now I'm well. I'm a survivor. Healed, I will try again."