Hollywood star Anne Hathaway has opened up on the torment of trying to conceive and the cone of silence that surrounds infertility.
The actress recently announced via Instagram that she and husband Adam Shulman are expecting their second child, but made it clear that she did not enjoy a 'straight line' to her pregnancy.
"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," read Hathaway's post, which accompanied a photo of her proudly showing off her new baby bump.
Now The Devil Wears Prada star has revealed in a lengthy interview with the Daily Mail, that she made the post to show empathy to all the other women having a hard time trying to conceive.
"I just remembered how I felt when I was struggling myself," she told the Daily Mail.
"Each time I was trying to get pregnant and it wasn't going my way, someone else would manage to conceive. I knew intellectually that it didn't happen just to torment me, but, to be honest, it felt a little bit like it did.
"What made matters worse was that I was embarrassed to feel like that because there was no conversation to be had about it. This is something people don't talk about, and I think they should. So, when I was writing that post, I was thinking about that one follower I might reach, the woman who's in hell about this and can't figure out why it's not happening for her. She's going to see my announcement and, while I understand she will be happy for me, I also know that something about it will make her feel worse. I just wanted to say: 'Look, this wasn't as easy for me as it looks.'"
Hathaway added she dislikes how Instagram can give a false impression of what real life is and says she felt obligated to show other women that they aren't alone in their struggles to conceive.
"I sometimes think Instagram makes life look really breezy, but that's not the whole story" she told the Daily Mail. "By leaving out the sad part, we make women who are struggling with this feel isolated and lonely; we make them feel like it's all their fault. I wanted to be more sensitive than that."
Hathaway's first child, Jonathan, is now three-years-old, and while her latest pregnancy is also going well, she admits on both occasions she had significant trouble trying to conceive.
The real kicker, however, for Hathaway, was the sense that society makes women feel as though they should keep quiet about going through such trying circumstances.
'There's a one-size-fits-all narrative that we attach to getting pregnant, and it's a narrative that only wants to focus on the happy moment," she told the Daily Mail. "But that's not the whole story because, for many women, this is just not that easy. I'm tired of it, because it's not the truth and I like the truth."
Hathaway resents the way women can be made to feel bad about their fertility issues and says she has been thrilled by the positive response to her post.
"When I said to them: 'This has happened to me, it broke my heart, it broke me,' so many of them said: 'It happened to me, too,' and that was the thing that allowed me to come through it, to feel my pain without having anyone rush in to define it or cure it. To be able to understand what was going on beyond blaming myself or blaming my body.
"Since I wrote that post, a lot of women have reached out to me to say it made them feel seen and heard, and I'm happy about that."
Career-wise, Hathaway will soon be seen on television in the new romantic comedy series Modern Love, which is due for release in October.
The 36-year-old's character has bipolar disorder and is scared her condition will stand in the way of her finding love – a story that echoes her frustration at the negative way society can make people feel.
"The diagnosis of bipolar disorder is not the issue: our shame about mental illness is the issue — that and the way those of us who don't have the condition approach it, talk about it and value it."