Nancy Kerrigan suffered six miscarriage: ‘I felt like a failure’


This week’s Dancing with the Stars was The Most Memorable Year in which each contestant honored an experience that had a profound impact on their life. Just from that description alone I think we could’ve surmised that the episode would be gut-wrenching – and they delivered. You can read a recap of the remaining contestants stories here.

Olympian Nancy Kerrigan dedicated her dance to her children to let them know to never give up. The message was particularly touching when she revealed that she had endured multiple miscarriages before her two youngest children were born. Nancy had always dreamt of having three children by the time she was 30, like her parents, and although she got pregnant with Matthew right after her wedding to husband Jerry Solomon, she suffered “at least” six miscarriages trying to add to their family. However, Nancy refused to give up, which eventually led to a happy ending for the family.

After she wed her agent Jerry Solomon in 1995, Kerrigan quickly became pregnant and welcomed her son Matthew in 1996.

But as easy as her first pregnancy had been, it would be eight years before she would become a mom for the second time.

“The first time that you go in and they tell you, ‘Oh there’s no heartbeat,’ it’s devastating,” Kerrigan says of suffering “at least” six miscarriages in the years after giving birth to Matthew.

“I felt like a failure,” says Kerrigan, whose doctors were never able to determine why she kept miscarrying.

“Once, the pregnancy was far enough along that we actually told our son and he was so excited,” says Kerrigan. “How do you explain [a miscarriage] to a little kid? Having to tell them that it was now gone and they had to take it out? He asked why and we had to explain, ‘Because it’s dead. It’s not alive anymore.’ That was awful.”

After undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment (IVF), Kerrigan finally welcomed Brian in 2005.

“I think about it now and remember we couldn’t come up with a name for Brian,” says Kerrigan. “I wonder if we probably were afraid to come up with a name because that makes you close and we could lose him.”

[From People]

First of all, my apologies to any readers who have been affected by miscarriage. I’m sure reading the excerpt brought back some memories. As I mentioned, there is a happy ending to Nancy’s story. She was finally able to conceive through IVF and have two more children, Brian and daughter Nicole. Nicole’s birth was equally as poignant because Nancy had only one “weak” egg left and they decided to risk it and it paid off in a beautiful, healthy little aspiring ballerina.

Every person’s experience with miscarriage is different, of course. I only suffered one and got pregnant very soon after so I recognize that I had it easier than many. However, I faced some of the feelings Nancy is discussing. I, too, felt like a failure. I can also relate to not being able to name Brian, only for me it was not being able to buy anything representing my daughter’s expected birth month. One thing I just learned, sorry if I am late to the party, many call a baby born following a miscarriage a Rainbow Baby. I am not the most sentimental person in the world, as you well know, but for some reason, learning this – even years after I had my daughter – touched me. I explained to my daughter that she is my Rainbow Baby and why and now she’ll occasionally silently draw a little rainbow with her index fingers in the air just for me to see.

I’m happy Nancy and her family were able to fulfill their wishes. I also remember when Matthew was born and cannot believe he is 22 years old now! People says he is a costume designer. I wonder if he has designed anything for his mom?




Photo credit: WENN photos

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22 Responses to “Nancy Kerrigan suffered six miscarriage: ‘I felt like a failure’”

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  1. INeedANap says:

    I have never had a miscarriage but I feel for women who feel like they somehow failed. We put so much pressure on women to be perfect mothers, that somehow women can game the system and do everything right, when in reality what biology determines has little to do with us. For everyone going through the struggle, you have hugs from me.

  2. QQ says:

    My aunt had a situation similar to Nancy, Multiple times including a Stillborn eventually when she no longer was trying she had a daughter in her like late 30s, she was so worried she didn’t even tell her mom until she was 6 months along, 2 years or so later she had another daughter, needless to say those two girls are the adored teens of our family, a few of my gfs have had babies after a Miscarriage, same on my sister’s circle is so painful yet so Common?!?! we really aren’t taught about this as something that happens to women of childbearing age, fairly frequently… not like we should

    • Missy says:

      I think in the end, no matter how much education about miscarriages and how often they happen…it still doesn’t prepare you, or really comfort you at the time.

      I had a miscarriage awhile back at 7 weeks, doctor told me that it was for the best because it means there was something not viable with the fetus. I know it’s true technically but not exactly the words you are looking for in that situation.

      • third ginger says:

        This is often said, but it is certainly no comfort. My best to you.

      • margie says:

        Some doctors are very bad at consoling women during miscarriages. I don’t know if it is because they see so many women experience them, or just have a very clinical POV. I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks. I got pregnant again, and was experiencing some similar bleeding. I called my doctor on a Friday afternoon, worried, and he basically said wait until Monday, if you are miscarrying we can’t do anything about it anyway. I switched doctors, and I went on to deliver a healthy baby despite the bleeding. There are many doctors in the world; find one who meets your needs and wants and don’t feel bad about doing so.

    • detritus says:

      My lovely neighbour had something similar happen.
      She had 5 miscarriages before her first full term pregnancy. It was so hard on them, and she was always very honest and open about the whole ordeal. After her first she had zero problems with number 2 and 3, almost as if the body figured out the knack at that point.

      She was telling me facts about miscarriages at the time, how almost 50% of first pregnancy end up is a miscarriage, how common it is for women to experience multiple miscarriages, and it was eye opening. I had no clue it was so very common and I can’t believe how no one really talks about it.

      • Missy says:

        My doc also told me that it isn’t that uncommon to have a miscarriage without knowing it…I remember having a really hard period a few years back, it was out of the ordinary for me, periods are usually short and light. I didn’t go to the doctor but I’m thinking that may have been an early miscarriage,

      • Lady D says:

        The article I read when pregnant said 1/4 of pregnancies are healthy, but that was almost 30 years ago. I’m sure the stats have improved since then.

    • chaine says:

      The same thing happened to someone in my family. She had her first baby no problem, then something like six miscarriages in six years and she had given up. For some reason she went vegetarian, and after she gave up meat, she had four more children. She would always tell everyone that giving up meat had cured whatever it was was causing her to miscarry, which I thoroughly believed her at the time but now realize it may just have been coincidence.

  3. minx says:

    It’s a very hard thing to go through; happy she was able to have more children.

  4. OhDear says:

    One is devastating enough, can’t imagine going through six.

    • Lady D says:

      I knew a lady who had 11miscarriages. I remember thinking at the time, when do you stop torturing yourself? In her case it was her 12th pregnancy that gave her their daughter. She has since gone on to adopt 3 more.

  5. third ginger says:

    This really touches my heart. I lost my first baby when I was 5 months pregnant, our son. I was 38. The next year I had an early miscarriage. Finally, at 40 after a high risk pregnancy and emergency C-section, I had our daughter [World’s Best person since 1992] My only regret is that I did not have more. Support groups can be very helpful. I know they were for me.

    Kaiser, many thanks for your kindness.

  6. HannahF says:

    Well wishes for all who commented and, frankly, for all who find themselves in this position.
    My sister, who wanted a large family, also miscarried a number of times. When she was pregnant with my younger niece my sister was confined to her bed for nearly the entire pregnancy. When it got to the point where my niece would be viable even if not full term my sister lost her marbles. I visited her one day and she was obsessed with a Korean language competitive ballroom dance.

    We lost most of our family in “Holocaust Centers” so my nieces are very treasured.

  7. Anguishedcorn says:

    I saw her photo and was all ” pffffft HER again” but can’t even keep that cynicism reading the article. I endured 2 miscarriages, both after IVF, and having to go through 6 but still not give up? Couldn’t do it. She has all my sympathy. I’m glad she was able to get through it and have her family.

  8. Lightpurple says:

    Did not know this. My sympathies to her and all families that go through such painful loss. Nancy has been through so much. Her mentally disabled brother was convicted of manslaughter in the death of their father

  9. Anastasia says:

    I’ve been pregnant 13 times and have one child. The first miscarriage was right before my daughter, so I guess she’s a Rainbow Baby–never knew that term! She’s 22 now.

    After her, I had two ectopic pregnancies and 9 more miscarriages. It was the single darkest period of my adult life.

    We’re very happy with one, and think that we were meant to have one child. But boy was it rough at the time.

  10. TUS says:

    I had 2 miscarriages before my son. For no apparent reason. After the second one spent thousands and thousands on tests that came up with nothing. And then one doctor told me ” Keep at it. You may have more miscarriages.. but then one will click”. This absolutely appalling lack of sensitivity made me put off having children for 3 years after which I had my son.

    Even now I want to try again but I’m scared to. What if it happens again? Will it be a case of ” I already have one.. so there’s no pressure” or will I now comprehend exactly what I’m losing.

    Sorry to be morbid. I’m quite inspired by how Nancy kept at it. It takes a lot of nerve.

  11. The Voice says:

    I’m actually going through a miscarriage right now. No heartbeat detected at around 7 weeks. It’s been nearly a month now and after taking medication I have to have a D&C because there are still products of conception in my uterus. Ugh this is one crazy roller coaster. I just want this over with so that we can try again. We already have one child so I thought #2 would be just as easy. Guess you never know. Baby dust to everyone!

    I can’t imagine enduring 6 miscarriages. One is hard enough. Glad to hear Nancy had more children successfully! Gives me hope.

  12. BorkBorkBork says:

    A man I went to high school with (and his wife, of course) wrote in a high school reunion booklet that he and his wife had “12 children in Heaven” and one daughter “here with us.” They had experienced multiple miscarriages and at least one stillbirth, and I’ve always wondered how they’re doing now… and secretly wondered what that one child’s life was like. She must be so treasured.

  13. Katy says:

    I had two miscarriages (both very early) followed by an ectopic pregnancy which had to be medically terminated. I hated myself for “aborting” our baby (even though it wasn’t viable and dangerous for me to carry, I know.
    I have to give huge thanks to my Dr; she was incredibly sensitive and “took the blame” calling it her decision, not ours)
    When I became pregnant the 4th time, we told no one until 25 weeks. I delivered at 27 weeks due to a very rapid case of HELLP syndrome. I say this without exaggeration – baby girl and I are both lucky to be alive (thanks again to my incredible Dr!)
    I don’t know how Nancy could withstand 6 losses. The miscarriages and early delivery were some of the most isolating experiances of our lives. I didn’t know how to talk about it…and still don’t. I still feel, and perceive that others think, this was all somehow my fault. We all, myself included, need to speak out so others know they aren’t alone. I’m so glad she opened up about this.

  14. Sara says:

    I had five miscarriages (two in the first weeks, three later on) the last one was quite late and complicated. I think by the fifth it wasn’t so much about feeling like a failure as it was having a really difficult time managing my rage. So much rage, it was crazy.

    It was terrible. I think with many who have them repeatedly, the doctors don’t know why or they give contradicting information. And grief is very isolating.

    Right after grad school my family moved internationally and had a brief lapse in health insurance that was only supposed to be 30 days but ended up being 60 because of some company policy. I miscarried half way through the 60 days when I was 12 weeks. Just going to the hospital to have the ultra sound where they told me there was no heart beat costs over $5000. It was totally necessary though. Three weeks later I had a sub-dermal hematoma and kept randomly hemorrhaging. They wanted $27000.00 to do a D&C. I ended up going to planned parenthood and since the ER had already confirmed no heartbeat they were able to perform the procedure for less than $500. I still had to walk past the protestors and fill out all the paperwork requesting an abortion. It ended up saving my life because the placenta and sac had continued growing and with the hematoma all kinds of life threatening complications could have killed me- form sepsis to bleeding out. I have a four year old and a husband and a dog that I need to be alive for. I don’t regret requesting to terminate, and I still totally support abortion. Just because I want to have another child doesn’t mean other women’s rights should be taken away. And anyway, planned parenthood totally saved my life.

    I probably have an irrationally strong hatred of abortion protestors for the rest of life though. Those people have no imagination for other people’s suffering.