Why are we still criticising women for sharing their fertility struggles?

Anne Hathaway revealed she suffered a miscarriage while playing a pregnant woman in 2015. The response proves taboos around womens’ health are still rife in 2024.

Thred Media
3 min readApr 15, 2024


In a new Vanity Fair interview, actor Anne Hathaway candidly revealed she had suffered a miscarriage in 2015 whilst playing a pregnant woman.

The role, which was part of a one-woman stage performance, required Hathaway to ‘give birth on stage every night’ over the course of six weeks.

During the play’s run, Hathaway said she ‘pretended everything was fine’, but revealed what had happened to her friends when they visited her backstage.

The actor now has two sons with her husband Adam Shulman, but in a 2019 Instagram post, Hathaway also shared her past struggles with fertility.

‘It’s not for a movie. All kidding aside, 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.’

Hathaway said her decision to share details of her fertility journey came from a desire to be open and honest with her audience.

‘Given the pain I felt while trying to get pregnant, it would’ve felt disingenuous to post something all the way happy when I know the story is much more nuanced than that for everyone’ she told Vanity Fair.

Speaking openly about her miscarriage was, for Hathaway, a way of rejecting the shame so often associated with lost pregnancies. ‘[I] wasn’t going to feel ashamed of something that seemed ‘statistically to actually be quite normal’ she added.

But despite an outpouring of support for the actor, whose words have provided a source of comfort for many women going through similar experiences, it’s hard to ignore the negative comments that target Hathaway’s honesty.

‘All part of the job. We all have to work’ said one user beneath a BBC Instagram post detailing Hathaway’s experience.

‘What movie is she promoting?’ said another.

This ruthless response highlights the continued dehumanisation of celebrities, but also women — particularly when it comes to issues of reproductive health.

Hathaway’s decision to be open about what is undeniably an extremely personal and traumatising experience is considerably powerful. It lets women know that they are not alone, that what they’re experiencing is actually incredibly normal.

Far from belittling her story, Hathaway’s fame is a tool for igniting change and shifting perspective. Those who dismiss her voice because she’s a celebrity ultimately prove that public voices like Hathaway’s are more necessary than ever.

‘I actually appreciate a celebrity talking about their miscarriage experiences. We don’t talk about miscarriages and how common they are, which is a problem when you’re experiencing one’, said one Instagram user.

Hathaway’s openness comes at a critical juncture in the ongoing struggle for women’s rights and bodily autonomy.

At a time when reproductive rights are under constant threat and gender disparities persist, it is imperative that we challenge narratives that seek to erase women’s experiences and undermine their agency.

The harsh criticism of Hathaway and other women who choose to share uncomfortable stories of fertility struggle also exposes the glaring double standards that exist when it comes to discussion of women’s health.

In 2020, Chrissy Teigen shared harrowing images of her grief following the stillbirth of her son Jack. While many praised Teigen for humanising a heartbreaking experience that is so often reduced to whispered statistics, others jeered that the post was a ‘tacky bid for attention’.

Similar responses to Hathaway’s story reflect a lack of progress in the years since. While male stars are rarely subjected to the same level of scrutiny and judgement regarding their personal lives, women are routinely policed for daring to speak out about their struggles.

It’s a stark reminder of the work that still needs to be done to dismantle the barriers that prevent women from speaking their truth.

The idea that experiencing miscarriage is simply an occupational hazard for actors is not only insensitive but also fails to recognize the profound impact of pregnancy loss. Miscarriage is a deeply personal and devastating experience that transcends profession or status.

To suggest otherwise is to overlook the experiences of countless women who have lived through it.

Originally written by Flo Bellinger for Thred.