Anne Hathaway knew her pregnancy ‘was going to make somebody feel worse’

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Last week, Anne Hathaway announced her second pregnancy. From the photo she posted, she looks pretty far along as she has a nice-sized bump. Her first child, Jonathan, is three years old and I had always wondered if Anne and Adam Shulman were one-and-done parents or if they would eventually try for another. Anne answered that question in the Instagram announcement, writing: “For everyone going through infertility and conception hell, please know it was not a straight line to either of my pregnancies. Sending you extra love.” While Anne promoted her new project this weekend – the Amazon series Modern Love – she spoke in greater depth about infertility struggles and how much sympathy she has for every couple or every person dealing with trying to have a baby:

On her pregnancy: “I am really happy. This is something I’ve been wanting for a while and I’m really happy it’s happening.”

On the “not a straight line” thing: “It’s not [always a straight line]. There is a one-sided narrative to this, and of course it’s wonderful that we celebrate the happy moment when it’s ready to share. I think there is a silence around the moments before that and they are not all happy, and in fact a lot of them are quite painful. I think that pain is that these women feel like we’re the only ones going through it. I just knew that somewhere my announcement was going to make somebody feel worse about themselves because — and it wouldn’t be their fault that that happened — you just can’t help it when you want something so bad and it feels like it’s happening to everyone else but you. And I just wanted that person to know that they’re included in my story too and that my story didn’t just have happy moments too.”

[From Entertainment Tonight]

“I just knew that somewhere my announcement was going to make somebody feel worse about themselves…” That’s probably true in this situation, but it’s probably true of every situation? I’m not saying this about Anne specifically nor am I trying to criticize Anne or any woman who might feel worse when someone has happy news. But… people are allowed to have good news, or to be happy about their pregnancies without it being about other people, you know? That’s what irritated me about Lena Dunham’s sh-t in the wake of Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy too – this idea that women with happy reproductive news need to walk on eggshells in case they upset other women.

Here are some photos of Anne at press event to promote her series this weekend:

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Photos courtesy of Getty and WENN.

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66 Responses to “Anne Hathaway knew her pregnancy ‘was going to make somebody feel worse’”

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  1. Lucy says:

    I like Anne. She’s a good actress and isn’t constantly on social media. And she seems to have learned something from her shameless Oscar campaign.

  2. elimaeby says:

    I think it’s very kind of her to think of women struggling with infertility in sharing her happy news.

    Full disclosure, this feels a little personal for me. I have suffered with infertility for years now, but just found out I am pregnant, totally unexpectedly. I’ve had multiple miscarriages, so I am trying to wait a very long time to announce, but it’s something I’ve thought about myself. I don’t want my happy news to be painful for someone else who is struggling.

    • El says:

      Elimaeby, wishing you all the best.

    • Squirrelgirl says:

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with considering the other side of things especially since she experienced them herself. I too am going through infertility treatments with no such luck and miscarriages behind me. If she wants to reach out to the community that she felt she was a part of I will never shade her for that.

      Congrats on your rainbow baby!!

    • Jb says:

      Same…8+ months trying to conceive and no go. I’m older so though I know plenty of 35+ women have successful pregnancies I’m getting anxious and a bit frustrated. I realize ppl go years without being able conceive so trying not to feel bad for myself but it’s tough. Everyone should be able to feel joyful about being pregnant but from her statement, Feels like she was just trying to be sensitive to those who struggle since she was one of them. I’ve never been a huge Anne fan but I appreciate the way she announced her pregnancy. People shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells and hide their excitement but it was sweet and thoughtful to acknowledge those who are struggling.

      • mrsspaghetti says:

        hang in there. i am 35+ as well and it took me almost a year of trying before i got the positive. so many thoughts of “why did i wait?” and whether or not we would actually have a child, and now we’re waiting for a baby girl due this fall. Reddit has a great sub called Trying For a Baby that was super helpful for me during my time trying to conceive. hope you receive your happy news soon. 🙂

      • Sunny says:

        Yes, hang in there. I tried naturally for 5 years (aged 34 – 39) then got pregnant first round, first implantation with IVF at 40 (luckily as there was only one viable embryo) . I now have a ridiculously gorgeous, robust 5 mo boy.
        We didn’t go to IVF initially as there was “nothing wrong”, “unexplained infertility”.
        In some ways, I wish we’d gone to it earlier because those years of trying were pretty tough and it’s unlikely we’ll be able to have another baby now.
        Still, it depended my relationship, patience and gratitude so I feel like that was a journey I needed.
        For me I psychologically had to get to a place where I was at peace with it not happening. I had to go there mentally and think what my life would be like, childless, and it upset me but I knew I could live through it.

    • Erinn says:

      Congratulations elimaeby.

      I think that because you have had a hard go in that area of your life, you understand better than most how that can sting for other people who are struggling. It’s complicated because you are in no way obligated to protect their happiness, but you want to be sensitive to their struggles.

      I think, personally, Anne did it in a very kind way. Acknowledge the struggle without dimming your excitement.

    • Spicecake38 says:

      Congrats and praying you’ll have a safe healthy pregnancy and enjoy every minute and that delivery of he/she will be safe and easy too!!

    • alibeebee says:

      B’shaa Tovah.. congratulations. I am in the same boat multiple losses.. and I know the fear.
      May this one stick and you have a beautiful healthy baby!

    • Macko says:

      I’m with you on this. I have 2 kids out of 6 pregnancies and believe me I’ve been there. After my first miscarriage one of my closest friend announced her pregnancy. She did her test on her 30th birthday just like I did couple months earlier and she was pregnant and I wasn’t. And i was happy for her but in the same time also very much hurt. But I’ve got pregnant again and one of our other friend just gave birth to her still born baby and I had to tell her that I am pregnant and I just know how she feels. There is no good way to do this

      • nikki says:

        Macko, your post was very moving. Sometimes there is truly no way to avoid hurting someone. There are several commenters saying people can’t be expected to temper their good news because someone else might be saddened. But if you’ve lived through this kind of pain, you would never be unaware of how another might feel. I’m glad you got 2 healthy children, but am sorry for the heartbreak you’ve endured.

    • nnire says:

      sending you all the very best of wishes.

      i started trying to get pregnant when i was 32, did some treatments on and off, finally did IVF, froze all four surviving embryos, had one transferred in October 2017 but had an early miscarriage and was devastated, and the second embryo is now 8 weeks old and hanging out with my best friend this afternoon. i didn’t announce until i was almost 28 weeks, and before i announced i sent what i hoped were gentle ‘pre-announcements’ to my friends who have been struggling themselves, so if they wanted to turn off my facebook feed for awhile to protect their hearts they could do that. even struggling folks want to and generally are happy for friends and family to get pregnant. i find it’s not so much ‘why them’ as ‘why not me’, and feelings of inadequacy.

      i am going through some post partum anxiety right now, probably because of the years of emotional turmoil and now worrying that something bad could happen to my dream come true. i didn’t expect this to happen, but apparently common with families who have had to try extra hard for families xoxo

  3. Jessica says:

    I feel what she is saying. I struggled between my 1st and 2nd successful pregnancies- had 3 miscarriages in between. So with my last, I was a mixture of a basket case (always worrying I was losing them – I was pregnant with twins) and feeling sensitive to all the women around me I knew were trying to get pregnant but weren’t. It sucked. But it was real and I couldn’t help it. Looking back, I wish I had shared my feelings more. Maybe I could have given myself more of a break.

    • sequinedheart says:

      Jessica, I’m in a similar boat. I have 1 healthy child and yet I can’t for the life of me get pregnant a second time. It’s been over a year of trying. 1 miscarriage late last year. I’m extremely grateful for my daughter. I have more than many in that respect but it’s confusing and sad and I appreciate her making it clear that it’s not as easy as decide-&-have-baby-no-problem.
      Infertility is a multi-faceted issue and for those of us with one, and struggling for another, it’s hard when people assume you can do it easily & constantly say, “she’s 4, you better hurry up and give her a sibling! you don’t want them too far apart”.
      4 friends in 2 weeks announced their pregnancies and I am so happy for them. I can’t wait and there is no egg-shelling around me, but I won’t lie, I did have a pit in my stomach.

  4. Hannah says:

    I thought it was nice she took the opportunity to point out that it hasn’t been straightforward.

    As someone having fertility struggles, I do not expect everyone else to walk on eggshells around me or dampen their own happiness at very exciting news. But I do appreciate when people highlight the challenges they have had to get pregnant, as it is nice to know that there is light at the end of a very dark tunnel for some of us.

    Wishing her a happy and healthy pregnancy

  5. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Women – specifically famous women – have been criticized for announcing their pregnancies on social media. They have been accused of being boastful and insensitive. Beyoncé is a prime example. There were whole articles written about how insensitive she was. Meanwhile behind the scenes Beyoncé herself had struggled and experienced miscarriages. So I understand completely why Anne posted her announcement and said what she did.

    • Savannah says:

      Y E S!!

    • Otaku fairy... says:

      I remember the commentary on some (consistently toxic) Canadian feminist blog around the time of Beyonce’s pregnancy being pretty vile. They played the ‘Boastful & Insensitive’ card like you said to a hysterical victim-blaming degree ( “How dare Beyonce do this in a world where pregnant women are targets for domestic violence and where women are objectified! It’s all the fault of women like her for flaunting their pregnancies! So much for her being a feminist!) and didn’t stop there. The manufactured fauxrage was used as a shield for people to say bigoted things they already wanted to say anyway and play dumb/ silence people when criticized. My sister showed it to me. It was a mess.

  6. El says:

    I don’t read it so much as walking on egg shells so much as thinking of women in a place she once was. And saying to them it is ok if they feel hurt. When we were struggling with IVF my dear friend who had had her own struggles was pregnant and would call me brimming with happiness. I was so glad to share it with her and was felt so happy talking to her, but as soon as I hung up the phone J would just sob. To me she is just acknowledging that mixed feeling. —Note our crooked story also had a happy ending bit certainly remember that time and he guilt I had at having children when some of my friends weren’t able to.

    • Tootsie45 says:

      I agree. I don’t think it’s walking on eggshells at all, but rather showing sensitivity to the impact she has as a celebrity, and a deeper understanding of her OWN journey. I think it’s acknowledging that while this moment in time is happy, there were some very unhappy, sad, depressing, anxious moments before that, and that those moments are part of this too.
      Especially with women I know who have miscarried, it seems to be incredibly important to acknowledge their lost children, to not just erase them from the picture. As women we suffer so much pain in silence, feeling like we are the only ones, or that no one wants to hear it. I really applaud her for bringing infertility into the conversation, and I don’t think it detracts from her joy or celebration.

    • nikki says:

      Macko, your post was very moving. Sometimes there is truly no way to avoid hurting someone. There are several commenters saying people can’t be expected to temper their good news because someone else might be saddened. But if you’ve lived through this kind of pain, you would never be unaware of how another might feel. I’m glad you got 2 healthy children, but am sorry for the heartbreak you’ve endured.

  7. Tiffany says:

    I remember a time when women openly sharing the news they were expecting as a *checks notes* happy occasion.

    Say ‘Congrats’ and move on.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      And, during those times, some other women were suffering in silence and living in a society that blamed them – and them, not their partners – for falling short in their assigned roles as women. And so they blamed themselves.

      It isn’t that long ago that royal wives went through hell for not producing children, or the right kind of children. Those messages have left a real mark.

      It was thoughtful of her to say this and I’m sure she’s had no shortage of “congrats!”

      We adopted by choice, but I never say things like, “I could probably have been pregnant if I wanted,” because it would feel insensitive to other women. I live instead with people making a false assumption that we went through a struggle with infertility, as many people who ultimately adopt have. And OMG, there have been so many patronizing looks and remarks, and then I have no problem setting people straight.

      But Anne was supporting other women, and that’s a kind gesture.

      • Justwastingtime says:

        Who are these people. This. We adopted our second child without me trying to get pregnant again after our first. I think people assumed secondary fertility issues and I just let them assume whatever they wanted. No need to discuss given how painful the topic was for so many.

    • astrid says:

      Yes…and that was also a time when the good news was shared amongst close friends and family, personally, not blasted to the internet. Why do famous people need to post on instragram that they’re expecting? or that some 2 year old likes to lick his dad’s toes? I’m in the camp of oversharing by celebrities is too much.

    • Bunny says:

      Yeah, because God forbid someone show compassion or empathy to women.

      Women suffer silently are questioned, are harangued by family members, and are judged on their fitness as women based on their ability to reproduce.

      “When am I gonna get my grandchild?”

      “You need to start having babies!”

      “Don’t you like children?”

      “What’s wrong with you?”

      “You miscarried? You can always have another!”

      Anne Hathaway understands and tries to improve the situation for other women who may not have her visibility or platform.

      Good for her.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      She specifically said several times that it is a happy occasion. There’s no need to shade her because she’s be sensitive to others. Fertility is an emotionally charged issue, understandably.

  8. OriginalLala says:

    It’s great to be happy about amazing news but I think it’s also nice to be considerate of others, especially when it comes to things like fertility.

    You never know what others are going through, it’s something my mom always told me to keep in mind and I’ve never forgotten that piece of advice.

    • Kk2 says:

      Yes I don’t know why she would get criticized for this. I think the critics are all people who have never had fertility issues. Anne was very recently on the other side so she is sensitive to it, that’s all. When you are struggling to conceive it can feel like everyone else is getting pregnant so easily. It is nice to hear someone who is pregnant say hey it wasn’t easy for me. My second took 18 months of trying and 2 miscarriages- it was awful. And i remember every celeb who had a baby around when I had my first, and when they announced a second pregnancy it was kind of a bummer. Even though I rationally knew it had nothing to do with me. Media and society in general is obsessed with pregnancy and babies. It can be constant salt in the wound when you are trying and failing.

      For this reason, I am now really open about my struggles and told all of my same age (mid thirties) friends, especially those who I knew or thought were trying themselves. Because I wanted them to know they weren’t alone if it wasn’t easy and that they could talk to me about it.

  9. FHMom says:

    I think women dealing with fertility issues can acknowledge someone else’s happiness and still be sad for themselves. It isn’t a competition. It’s very kind of Anne to think of those still struggling.

  10. LinaB says:

    This whole thing is so ridiculous. Should people stop posting about their weddings because there are other people out there who will be forever alone and never get married? I’ve never been in a long-term relationship, I demand no one ever talk about how happy they are with their significant other.

    Or is this just about freaking babies?

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      This reaction seems just a tad superficial. No one says anyone needs to stop sharing happy news. And no one demanded that Anne Hathaway say what she said; it is her choice and she is an intelligent, mature woman with obvious self-control and a clearly more nuanced view of life and its joys and heartaches.

      What babies are you talking about – infants, or immature adults?

    • HB says:

      She obviously had fertility problems thus fertility issues are something she’s sensitive to. What’s the big deal?

    • perplexed says:

      She’s not asking other people to stop posting about their weddings though. She’s probably just a nice person who wishes to express empathy for others, and why that would bother other people is a bit strange to me. No one is going to tell Gwyneth to stop bragging. Conversely, I don’t see why people need to imply that Anne Hathaway needs to stop being a sympathetic person. This may just be her genuine personality shining through.

    • otaku fairy... says:

      Right. There’s nothing wrong with what Anne said- her compassionate response is good, so this isn’t a criticism of her. It’s just that there sometimes seems to be an online trend of people rushing to shut down women expressing that something is enjoyable, a cause for celebration, important, or in any way positive for them with some form of, ‘But for some it turns out tragically. How dare you. ‘ There needs to be room for women to support other women through hardship with something without all women being expected to treat certain experiences as negative or solemn occasions.

    • nikki says:

      Lina, I think it’s just nice that having suffered the pain of infertility and/or miscarriage herself, she just wants to acknowledge the sad feelings some women will feel, because she empathizes. No one is saying women can’t be happy to announce a pregnancy, but if your best friend had just lost a baby, God forbid, I’m sure you’d temper your announcement to her.I think it was kind of her to acknowledge that.

  11. Faithmobile says:

    I think this is a necessary conversation as more and more women struggle to conceive. My good friend has been trying for 5 plus years and has come to a place of acceptance, she and her partner are now trying to be foster parents. It took two years for my second, I had to go on hormone therapy to conceive. While we aren’t responsible for other’s feelings, what Ann did here is very empathetic and I appreciate it.

  12. Patty says:

    I’m with you, Kaiser! I loathe to you use the term snowflake, but let’s be honest there are a lot of snowflakes in America these days. People need to understand that everything isn’t about them, other people are allowed to live their life and have their own experiences. Nobody should have to walk around on eggshells or tiptoe around something like having a baby because it might upset someone else in the universe somewhere who might be having a hard time conceiving.

    • perplexed says:

      In the pre-digital era you didn’t really have to deal with watching people’s lives unfold before you. Maybe people have become more aware of being sensitive to others, and I think that’s ok. Also, maybe she just has a genuinely nice personality to begin with. She’s not asking every woman to be like her in terms of her personality — I think she may just be empathetic and this is how she expresses herself. Obviously Gwyneth Paltrow would never write a post like that, and that’s ok too. You can have different personalities in the world co-existing.

    • Tootsie45 says:

      OK, but how much of a “snowflake” does that make a person if they’re actually bothered by someone being nice?

      • Patty says:

        Was anyone actually bothered by it? Or do people just have differing opinions? Having a different opinion does not a snowflake make.

  13. bitchyarchitect says:

    when i got engaged- i waited a couple of months to tell my two best friends- one of whom had just canceled her wedding and the other of whose mother was in hospice with ovarian cancer.
    Actually i think I let someone else tell them. I was very aware that my happy news was not going to be happy news for everyone else

  14. Hillary with Two Ls says:

    I appreciate her statement and here’s why – infertility affects about 10% of couples trying to conceive, but so many people treat it as though it’s uncommon and easily fixable. Sometimes it passes, and sometimes it really doesn’t.

    Most employer insurance plans do not cover any kind of fertility treatments, whether it’s IVF or a procedure to repair what might be malfunctioning – all of those medical expenses are paid out of pocket, unless it’s medically necessary (usually a cancer risk, like uterine polyps, fast-growing cysts, or endometriosis adhesions that are causing significant pain). Usually the tests are paid out of pocket until the results show something requiring medical treatment/ monitoring.

    For many women who do conceive while experiencing infertility, it’s a high-risk pregnancy and the stress (and medical bills) that comes with that.

    And then if they choose adoption, there is a lengthy application process followed by a long wait, whether you’re waiting to be selected by a birth mother (and again, all the fees associated with private adoption) or waiting to see if the state will terminate parental rights and place with foster parents, or place them another relative.

    Add to that the fact that infertiles experience documented stress levels similar to those of cancer patients – if Anne wants to say, “hey, I see you, I get it,” then good on her.

  15. perplexed says:

    I think she’s right. She’s simply showing sensitivity to others.

    In the age of social media, a lot of announcements can come across as annoying. So, yeah, I agree with her. (Maybe it wasn’t always that way in the analog era when news was shared in a less annoying way — but social media has a way of being irritating, and does require a different kind of sensitivity from public figures. I’ve actually stopped following certain celebrities on social media because something about their media postings can make you feel worse, even if it’s unintentional).

  16. N says:

    Miranda didn’t want to tell Charlotte because she got upset and that’s fiction.

  17. Metislady says:

    I definitely applaud Anne for showing love to those who struggle to conceive their babies as it sounds like she has experience with this. Although both of my boys were “accidents” when I was a young woman, I still appreciate how lucky I was. My elder sister struggled to get pregnant with both my niece and nephew so I know watching her how devastating it is. If a woman feels the need to show empathy in her pregnancy announcement that is her right, it is also a woman’s right not to also.

  18. Blacksred says:

    As someone who has been struggling w infertility for 10 years it’s nice and I am very grateful when people consider our feelings because it doesn’t happen very often. When you are going through infertility every pregnancy announcement feels like a gut punch that you cannot control

  19. DS9 says:

    I don’t see what there is to shade.

    Infertility can be so isolating. For a celebrity to acknowledge that IF is common in such a real, relatable, and not at all tragedy jacking sort of way is very refreshing.

    No doubt Anne also struggled with feelings of isolation, with twinges of sadness she couldn’t control when others had babies and she didn’t and she merely wanted to acknowledge that.

    I don’t see it as tiptoeing or diminishing her happiness either.

    And if she’s anything like other people I know who have struggled with IF, she likely felt a bit of sorrow for her own losses, if she had any,
    when this one stuck

  20. Isa says:

    You can be happy about your good news and still consider other people’s feelings.

  21. Gippy says:

    I think Anne handled this wonderfully. We announced our pregnancy but it’s been a worry of mine and I want to acknowledge our struggle and give hope to those still struggling. I haven’t quite figured out how, but I plan to share that IVF was part of our journey, I remember the pain of every pregnancy announcement and off the cuff remarks. I don’t look at this like a Lena situation at all. And even though Lena is a bit much I still think we can be sympathetic at the loss of body part and potential to future child-carrying (not bearing, she can still get a surrogate). As someone who went through IUIs and 2 rounds of IVF and now finds myself pregnant with twins, I often find myself wanting to go out of my way with kindness for my friends still struggling. The infertile/TTC community gave me so much during those dark days, and I want to repay that kindness and support.

  22. Rach says:

    I don’t see how Anne Hathaway’s announcement is any different than The Rock talking about how hard he has had to work to attain his success – which by no means diminishes or tarnishes that success. We have gotten used to announcing pregnancies as spontaneous miracles, three months after we actually conceived. We don’t have to always do it that way, and it doesn’t make it less of a happy event to acknowledge the work. I congratulate Anne Hathaway on her successful pregnancy, and I congratulate her for making the announcement in the way she felt most comfortable.

  23. Coji says:

    Speaking for myself, when I miscarried it was helpful to me when friends and coworkers shared their stories of miscarriage. When you’re in pain it can be easy to feel alone and like nobody understands. I think it’s important for women to share their stories if they are comfortable doing so.

  24. Ana says:

    I tried for four years for my first one and then a completely unexpected second came 7 years later. I know it is though and people around you act like nothing is wrong and you are over reacting and they even tell you to go adopt some kids (very very insensitive people smh). And I also know the feeling of getting the big fat positive when you weren’t expecting it anymore and not wanting to tell your friend because she never got the BFP for herself. What I learned is you have to be happy for yourself. Walking on eggshells around other women will not change a thing, lo que será, será.