Peta Murgatroyd Shares Pregnancy Anxieties After Her Miscarriages
For a woman still months away from welcoming another baby, pregnant Peta Murgatroyd has already endured more than her share of sleepless nights.
The most recent came just a few weeks ago as she and husband Maks Chmerkovkskiy prepared to announce that they were finally, finally giving 6-year-old son Shai a sibling after a grueling years-long journey. Heading out the door for a maternity shoot “literally dressed in beautiful clothes,” as Peta recalled in an exclusive interview with E! News, she began to bleed.
“And I lost it,” the Dancing With the Stars pro detailed. “I was a mess. Immediately, my head went to, ‘Oh, I’m having a fourth miscarriage. Here we go.’ But I was so much further along.”
Unable to see her doctor until the morning, “In that period overnight, I literally said goodbye,” she shared. “I was expecting the worst news because that was exactly what I had been through before.” Looking at Maks, she remembered, “It was like, ‘This can’t be happening again. This cannot be happening.’ Because further along, it’s a different type of miscarriage. I didn’t even want to imagine what was going to be next for me.”
“She was surprised to learn the reason was fairly benign. “I just had this patch of blood,” Peta explained. “It’s apparently very normal. Heaps of people have it.”
Considering everything she’d already endured though, “It gave me the scare of my life,” Peta said. “But, knock on wood, thank God, everything is fine.”
Still, you’ll understand if the Peta Jane Beauty founder spends the next five months crossing her fingers, collecting four-leaf clovers, avoiding ladders and otherwise holding her breath.
After three gut-wrenching miscarriages and a round of IVF that didn’t take, she doesn’t anticipate being able to relax until she’s actually holding her baby. “I think about that all the time, like, will there be a moment at 30 weeks? Will I be like, ‘Oh yeah, we are all good’?” Peta wondered. “Anything can happen and I just want to err on the side of caution all the time.”
Two-and-a-half years of disappointment can change a woman.
Because when the couple—who met while working on the Broadway production of Burn the Floor in 2009, later reconnecting on DWTS—first decided to give their then-toddler a brother or sister (yes, they know the sex of Baby Chmerkovskiy, no, she doesn’t think they’ll share), they hit all their marks so to speak.
“As soon as we started trying, we got pregnant,” Peta recalled of discovering she was expecting in the fall of 2020. “And I was over the moon. I was like, ‘This is easy, oh my God. We did it again the first ’round.’ I wasn’t prepared for what was to happen next.”
Really nothing can prepare a person for discovering they’re having a miscarriage while using the bathroom at a Whole Foods. Or for enduring the months of despair that followed.
“I was pretty bad,” Peta shared of the moment that came five weeks into her pregnancy. “I didn’t know how to deal with the shame and the embarrassment and how to tell the people that I’m no longer pregnant. I didn’t expect it to happen to me. And I think the shock of it was the biggest thing.”
Because up until then, it hadn’t occurred to the lifelong dancer, who’d always made it a point to exercise and eat healthy, that she might struggle with fertility. “On top of the shock is the, ‘Well, when can I get pregnant again?’” she said. “And my worry and anxiety of what is wrong with me. I was listening to a lot of people around me and they were all saying, ‘It’s just one, don’t worry. It’s stress.’ And then the next one happened. And then the next one.”
The second, nine months after the first, was soon followed by a third in October 2021. This time, the news was delivered while she was at the hospital with COVID and Maks was thousands of miles away in his native Ukraine.
“They told me in the hospital that I was pregnant and I didn’t even know,” Peta shared of learning that she had lost a baby she wasn’t aware of while Maks listened in on speakerphone. “It was so dramatic.” And, yet, she admitted, by then she was almost numb to the loss.
“I think each one that happened was less and less painful for me,” she said. “Because I had experienced it before, I had gone through the emotions and I kind of snapped myself out of it quicker. The first one took me a good couple of months to feel actually okay again.”
And during that time the New Zealand-born, Australia-raised athlete struggled not to place the blame on herself.
“I definitely went through stages of wracking my brain trying to think, ‘What did I do that day? What did I do that week? Did I eat something bad? Did Shai jump on me too much?’” Peta admitted. “There is a lot of blame, there is a lot of finger pointing. But, really, when it comes down to it, I don’t think that I did anything wrong. I think that it wasn’t meant to be, they were bad eggs.”
Consumed with the question of why things kept going wrong, though, the duo sought out a specialist, eventually starting the process of in vitro fertilization.
“I just wanted to be on top of it. I didn’t want to waste any more time,” Peta explained. “The time is ticking, Shai is 6 now. I don’t want any more age gap. That was a big thing for me: I wanted Shai to grow up with a sibling.”
And though the influx of hormones and surgeries and shots (“The big progesterone shots at the very end that you do, whew—they’re big!”) were a lot, all signs pointed toward the procedure being a success. Which is why, once again, Peta was left floored when her doctor delivered the news that the implantation wasn’t successful.
“We were both in shock,” Peta described. “We were both, again, thinking, I’m healthy, what could go wrong? Everything leading up to this moment was perfect: The egg count, my uterus walls, everything was just supremely perfect for the perfect implantation. And when he just said, in one sentence, ‘I’m sorry but it didn’t take,’ I’m like, what? Like I couldn’t wrap my head around why it didn’t work. I did everything right. What was it that couldn’t attach?”
Ultimately, she said, doctors couldn’t give her any answers: “And that’s the hardest thing. And then we’re left with absolutely nothing, just a massive bill at the end.”
She said she gave herself three days to “just be an absolute mess in my bed” and then reached out to execs at DWTS to make plans for last fall’s 31st season with the intention of trying IVF one more time after she exited the ballroom. Noted Peta, “There was not a point of giving up for me or Maks.”
Immensely supportive, her husband was happy to let her lead, though he remained steadfast that it would be one of those when-the-time-is-right situations. “Maks just truly believed this would happen how it did,” Peta said. “He was always like, ‘You’re just going to get pregnant when you’re not stressed, when you’re happy, when everything is good.”
So when she shared this past November that she was pregnant once again—just as she was reaching out to her doctors to plot out her second round of IVF, he couldn’t stop himself from a bit of gentle ribbing.
“Of course he did. It’s Maks, let’s be real,” she replied when asked if it was an “I told you so” moment. “He was like, ‘Well, what did I tell you? This is what I said was going to happen.’”
It’s a serving of crow she’ll happily gobble up, though she acknowledges it’s rarely as easy as people make it out to be. She believes it was helpful to get back to the ballroom and pour her attention into moving her body and growing Peta Jane Beauty, her all-natural line of self-tanning products.
“I was just so focused on having a child the last two years, that it took away from everything,” she acknowledged. “And once I had let it go and I had made peace with the fact that this could actually be it, it could be one child for me, that’s when it happened.”
And yet, she continued, “I don’t like to say that, because it doesn’t happen for many women like that. I got lucky and I’m grateful for that. I would get so annoyed when people used to say, ‘Just relax. Take it easy.’ Like, ‘Shut up, okay?’”
Inching closer to the halfway point and already feeling the first slight flutters (“I haven’t felt any big kicks yet, I think that’s coming in the next couple of weeks”), her excitement is growing along with her belly. Even more so when Shai asks to play music for the baby and talk to his little brother or sister.
Already logging some big brother experience thanks to the arrival of his new cousin, the baby boy Maks’ brother Val Chmerkovskiy and wife Jenna Johnson welcomed Jan. 10, “I’m astonished at how gentle he is with babies,” marveled Peta. “He held Jenna and Val’s baby the other day and he loved it. He loved holding the paci in his mouth and he was just so good.”
Which is why when asked what she’s most looking forward to, Peta doesn’t hesitate: “I can’t wait to see him with the baby for sure.”
She still anticipates many more anxiety-ridden doctor’s appointments in her future. “I will never relax until I hear that heartbeat. I just can’t,” she admitted. “I stare at the screen waiting for it to come up. I guess that’s what it is this pregnancy. And I’m cool with it.”
Because despite everything they’ve gone through the past 30 or so months, this moment feels right. With Maks rooted back in the States for the time being and Peta Jane Beauty “growing exponentially,” as she put it, they as a family have been able to exhale for the first time in a long while. “I definitely feel this is our time,” said Peta. “It feels good.”
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