Queen Sugar’s Dawn-Lyen Gardner on miscarriage: ‘Pain I didn’t know was possible’

'I'm hoping that this is something women can share as part of the normal human experience,' the actress shared in a new interview.

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Actress Dawn-Lyen Gardner opened up about her experience with a miscarriage with hopes that other women who have a similar tragedy do not feel alone.

Read More: ‘Queen Sugar’ star Nicholas Ashe comes out as queer, in relationship with Justice Smith

In an interview with PEOPLE, the Queen Sugar lead shared how she and her fiancé were impacted by the loss. Together, the couple had already selected a name for their unborn child and were excited to expand their family. This would have been Gardner’s first child. During an appointment around the 3-month mark, the doctor shared there was no heartbeat.

“I was already planning. It affected every decision I made. We were even using a name,” she shared. “My fiancé and I were devastated.”

Dawn-Lyen Gardner thegrio.com
Dawn-Lyen Gardner attends the 2019 Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Luncheon at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on February 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Essence)

Gardner informed the entertainment news outlet she was inspired by women like Chrissy Teigen and Meghan Markle who also both recently publicly spoken about their own miscarriages. theGrio reported Markle revealed her pregnancy loss with an essay written for the New York Times. In the essay, titled “The Losses We Share,” Markle wrote that while many women experience a miscarriage at a “staggering commonality,” the conversation is taboo and “riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.” 

Teigen and husband John Legend shared their grief with a social media post.

“We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before,” Teigen wrote. “We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough.”

Read More: ‘Queen Sugar’ actor Nicholas Ashe’s mom dies: ‘A phenomenal woman’

Gardner shared with PEOPLE how the political climate effected her loss and grief process.

“My last ultrasound happened two days after George Floyd was killed. So this global grief collided with this deep personal grief,” she shared. “I felt like I had to choose whether to grieve as a woman or grieve as a Black person. Both are two deeply invisibilized experiences. And there I was, right at that intersection with my heartbreaking in every direction. I questioned if I had the right to grieve something so small and personal in the middle of something so big.”

The 39-year-old actress also opened up on wishing she had shared her loss at the time, and how miscarriage should be normalized as a part of life, not something to hide nor be ashamed about.

“As I worked through it, I wished I had just told people in real-time and had been able to talk about it and understand how many women go through this. I think part of the lesson was your community wants to catch you. They want to support you and tell you, “You are okay. You are normal. All of you can be whole,” Gardner remarked.

She added, “I’m hoping that this is something women can share as part of the normal human experience.”

Queen Sugar thegrio.com
The cast of Queen Sugar members, Kofi Siriboe, Rutina Wesley, Nicholas Ashe, Bianca Lawson, director Ava Duvernay, Omar J. Dorsey, Tina Lifford, Dawn-Lyen Gardner and Daynell Waivers attend the Summer Of OWN Essence Fest Cocktail Party at Legacy Kitchen on July 6, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Peter Forest/Getty Images for OWN)

Gardner and the cast of Queen Sugar recently debuted the fifth season of the award-winning series with new drama in-store. This is the first season of the show after the coronavirus pandemic shutdown many production sets. The season was filmed in a bubble set-up in New Orleans according to theGrio. Ava Duvernay decided to incorporate the current events of 2020 into the show.

“The first episode we shot, without it being a pandemic. We didn’t know yet, that that was where the season was going to go,” Gardner shared with theGrio.

Queen Sugar is broadcasted on OWN television network and previous seasons can be streamed on Hulu.

This article includes additional reporting from theGrio’s Biba Adams and Tonya Pendleton.

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