Sunset’s Maya Vander opens up about stillbirth and baby loss


After losing a baby, Sunset sale Star Maya Vander speaks out in hopes of helping other women and parents.

The real estate agent and mother of two, who documented her last pregnancy in season 4 of the Netflix reality show, just shared the tragic news on Instagram two weeks ago: “Yesterday was the most difficult day of my life. I had a dead child at 38 weeks. I’ve always heard of it but never imagined that I would be part of the statistics. Instead of delivering a baby, I go home with a keepsake box. “

When Vander spoke to ELLE.com last week, she was still figuring out her next steps after losing her baby, Mason. “I look like a brothel here,” she explains when calling the cemetery, where she would choose a plaque for her child. She faces loss “one minute at a time”; She and her husband, David Miller, have done their best to stay strong for their two-and-a-half-year-old son Aiden and 19-month-old daughter Elle. “Even with my two kids,” said Vander, “I still have this big void, that something is missing.” Still, she wanted to share her story.

Opening up on what happened, Vander reveals, “A few days before I lost the baby, I felt less movement. I went to a private ultrasound … Normal heartbeat, baby was moving. So at that point, I’m like, ‘I’m just paranoid. Clearly I’m two weeks away from delivery, probably less room to move. And that’s why I feel the baby is moving less. She continues: “Four days later. And I could still feel the baby moving, here and there. Not as much, but I still felt some movement. And then when I went to the checkup, I put the Doppler on my stomach, [the doctor] I just couldn’t find a heartbeat.

At 38 weeks pregnant, she knew something was wrong. “At that point, I just had a really bad feeling. And then I went to the clinic for an ultrasound, and they confirmed [there was] no heartbeat, the baby was practically dead. Because she was so close to her due date, Vander had to deliver her baby, knowing he was no longer alive. “So within three hours I was already in the hospital practically ready for childbirth.”

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Stillbirth is not yet widely discussed, although it affects as much as one in 160 births in the United States. every year. “It’s a traumatic experience for both dad and mom, and people don’t talk about it because it’s so traumatic,” Vander told ELLE. However, now that more and more women are open about the loss of babies, from Meghan Markle to Chrissy Teigen, the world has a better understanding of this once taboo subject.

“When Chrissy Teigen has opened up about the loss of her baby, I saw it, ”Vander says. “… I looked at his photos with the baby and I hope to do the same.” Maybe it will help other women. I hope that in time I can come back and say, “I went through this, and look at me now and where I am”. But right now everything is so fresh. Explaining how she feels, Vander explains, “I mean, yeah, I lost a grandparent, but that’s a different kind of heartbreak. He’s still your child.

The silence around stillbirth can make many people feel unduly ashamed or in some way responsible, but that needs to change. Vander tells us, “I tend to blame myself, and [think] “I could have been more careful” and “Why couldn’t I save him?” And so on, and all these crazy thoughts running through my head. She continues: “So to all women, know that it is not our fault. It is no one’s fault. And unfortunately, we are in this statistical number bad luck … and I’m trying to convince myself by saying this, but I really hope anyone who reads my story or has experienced this knows that it’s not their fault.

“I mean, yeah, I lost a grandparent, but that’s a different kind of heartache. He’s still your child.”

With a worldwide audience following her every move on Netflix and beyond, Vander knew she had the potential to reach a lot of people. But talking about the loss of her son was far from an easy decision. “Obviously, being on a TV show, you’re exposed. You are exposing your life. People know what’s going on with you, ”she says. “I obviously filmed pregnancy photoshoots for season 5 [of Selling Sunset], my baby shower … And that’s unfortunately part of the public’s attention; you are sharing things that you might not otherwise share.

However, Vander has already seen the positive effect reality TV can have, especially in its ability to tell real-life stories that connect with viewers in a very palpable way. “I share my pregnancies on the show,” she explains. “Before that… I had two miscarriages. I have had a lot of women approach me, and I gave them hope because then they saw that I was pregnant again. His goal is to be able to start over. “And I hope if I share my story people can relate to.”

Filming for Season 5 has already ended, but Vander might be willing to share the loss of his baby on Sunset sale in the future. “If they wanted me to do it, and they would like to film something like that?” Yes, I agree to share it. She explains: “I am a very open person. I share things. I don’t flirt with situations. I’m not hiding things … I feel like it’s happening and this is reality and this is real life.

While his future on Sunset sale is not clear – “I probably won’t be a full-fledged actor just because logistically it will be difficult” – her friendships with the cast last, and she found great support in all of them afterward. her loss, especially new mom Christine Quinn. “Christine had a terrible situation in [the] delivery [of her baby]”Says Vander.” … And I said to Christine, I know you had a traumatic birth experience and thank goodness you are safe and your baby is safe but it could have ended there. where I am right now. “The rest of the cast and crew have been equally loving and supportive, with Vander receiving several flower and food deliveries on a daily basis.” Honestly, I’m shocked. I wasn’t expecting that. And it warms my heart that people care.

Maya Vander with her two children, Elle and Aiden.

Courtesy of Maya Vander

The real estate agent has also found a connection with people posting their own experiences online, openly discussing stillbirth and the loss of a baby. “Honestly, looking at videos of women who went through this and had children after… These women moved on. And they love their lost child, but they have kids and they’re happy and they’re just in a better place right now. So it helps me to know that, maybe not next week, not next month, but maybe a few months later the pain will be less intense.

In the midst of his grief, Vander doesn’t know what will come next. “I’ll take it one day at a time. And I hope that in a few months I will be in a better position to decide, do I really want another baby or not? It is the difficult decision to make. She is not yet ready to make a decision. “Because my first initial thought is that I’m not young, is it?” So I hope I can get pregnant again. But also to be pregnant again, [means] nine months of anxiety, anxiety and trauma. And do I really want to relive this?

Right now, her priority is to honor her son. When I ask her what she wants people to know about her experience, she replies: “Just this Mason, [when] he was born, he looked healthy like a normal baby, and nothing to indicate what happened. He looked like his brother, which means to my husband, all my kids look exactly like my husband. And he just looked like a normal baby that was ready to be born, a perfect size, everything was perfect. So that’s what I want people to know.

For more information on stillbirths and baby loss, visit American Pregnancy Association or the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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