By Dale Chamberlain -November 9, 2021
Actress and pro-choice advocate Alyssa Milano was recently a guest on People’s “Me Becoming Mom” podcast with Zoë Ruderman, where she shared about her experiences with abortion, miscarriages, pregnancy and motherhood.
During the interview, Milano said that, at one time, she felt her miscarriages were “punishment” for the abortions she had when she was in her 20s.
Ruderman began the interview by asking whether Milano always wanted to be a mother, to which Milano replied in the affirmative. However, Milano expressed that she wanted to wait to have a baby until she was in a relationship with the right man. After she married her current husband in 2009, Milano felt that the time had come.
“We started trying pretty immediately, because I got married when I was 36,” Milano said. “I got pregnant right away, and then we miscarried.”
In response, Ruderman asked, “What was that experience like?”
“I mean, I don’t think I was prepared for it, but the way it was explained to me was that if there is something that your body cannot produce or is lacking in order to have this particular baby that the pregnancy will, you know, take care of itself,” Milano said, concluding that “it wasn’t the right time.”
Though she expressed disappointment with her miscarriages, Milano described them with a somewhat clinical perspective. “I also miscarried before my daughter, so at that point I was kind of just aware that this is maybe how my body does it,” Milano said.
Ruderman then asked how long after her first miscarriage it took before Milano wanted to try to get pregnant again.
“I was ready to try again as soon as they gave me the okay. It just felt like it was a bummer. I mean, I know that a lot of women take miscarriages very hard. But for me, it was part of the process, I guess. It was part of the process,” Milano said. “And both miscarriages — I think I was maybe seven or eight weeks pregnant — so, you know, if it wasn’t viable, my body did what it was supposed to do. And so I still look at it like that.”
“That seems like a very healthy way of looking at it,” Ruderman replied.
Nevertheless, Milano, who was raised Catholic, did describe how she felt haunted by her previous abortions, at one point feeling that they were the cause of her miscarriage.
“I definitely had this moment of, ‘Well, I’m being punished, basically, for abortions in my twenties.’ And it took me — I didn’t realize that at the time — it took a while in therapy that that was something I was putting on myself,” Milano said.
Milano went onto express that her experience is common among women who have had abortions, and that she wants to work to remove the stigma of the conversation.
“I think it’s important to continue to talk about it,” Milano said. “I think for me personally, and obviously these are such personal decisions, but my inability to not be a selfish 20-year-old was reason enough. But then there was a lot that I wanted to do before I had children. And the point was that I was given a choice to control my life and control my own destiny.”
“Mistakes happen. Things happen,” Milano continued. She then seemed to imply that she had nothing to feel guilty about with regard to her abortions, but rather those feelings were a result of patriarchal cultural beliefs.
Alluding to legislation that limits abortion, Milano said, “And the fact that [women] cannot control their own destiny and their own futures is — I mean, it feeds right into the patriarchy and what they’re trying to do.”
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Later in the interview, Milano shared how she felt when she became pregnant with her son, Milo. Ruderman asked her if she was nervous about miscarrying again.
“I think I was probably a little scared that I would miscarry again, especially being, you know, the age that I was,” Milano said. “But then you go in and your doctor tells you that everything looks good, and it’s impossible not to fall in love.”
As Milano continued to describe her pregnancy experience, her language shifted back and forth between clinical language to more personal language. As a pro-choice advocate, Milano denies the personhood of unborn children. However, when she spoke of her own pregnancies, she seemed at a loss to describe her prenatal children any other way.
“I just loved being pregnant. Just this realization of how incredibly perfect of a machine birthing women’s bodies are and how spectacular to feel those changes and then to start to feel, you know, a baby kick.” Milano then described how she can recognize that the way her children move and get comfortable is the same way they used to move in the womb.
Describing the moment when she first saw her son, Milo, Milano said, “He’s the most beautiful, perfect thing, ever.”
Listen to Milano’s full interview on “Me Becoming Mom” here.