Anne Hathaway has spoken about the pain and isolation of infertility, sharing that she wants other women struggling to fall pregnant to know "they have a sister in me".
Appearing at an event in Beverly Hills on Saturday to promote the upcoming Amazon Prime series Modern Love, the 36-year-old told The Associated Press that when it comes to conception, we tend to have a very "one-size-fits-all approach".
"You get pregnant and for the majority of cases, this is a really happy time," she said. "But a lot of people who are trying to get pregnant: That's not really the story. Or that's one part of the story. And the steps that lead up to that part of the story are really painful and very isolating and full of self-doubt. And I went through that."
Hathaway continued, "I didn't just wave a magic wand and, 'I want to be pregnant and, wow, it all worked out for me, gosh, admire my bump now!' It's more complicated than that."
Mum to three-year-old Jonathan with husband Adam Schulman, Hathaway shared her baby news on Instagram last week, along with a message of love and support for others going through "infertility and conception hell".
"Please know it was not a straight line to either of my pregnancies," she wrote. "Sending you extra love."
"I was aware of the fact that when it came time to post that I was pregnant, somebody was going to feel even more isolated because of it," Hathaway told AP. "And I just wanted them to know they have a sister in me. Our sisterhood is amazing, and we were kept from each other for a really long time because I think we were kept from our own stories.
"And we get to decide where the silence lives and where it goes away."
The Oscar winner added that she has been "blown away" by how many others are struggling with infertility "and how unspoken it is". "I just wanted people to know that I'm their sister and that I see them and I have them," she said.
Dr Nicole Highet, Founder and Executive Director of the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) says it's wonderful to see celebrities such as Hathaway talking openly and honestly about infertility as it helps other women - and men - realise they're not alone.
"Many, many individuals and couples are struggling with becoming pregnant and issues surrounding infertility," Dr Highet says, adding that this can have a major impact on so many aspects of their life that we often have little understanding of.
"Their emotional health, the impacts on their relationship with their partner, broader family and friends are all likely to be negatively impacted," she continues. "Attending social functions and dreading questions from other well-meaning family and friends can bring feelings of inner turmoil, and in some cases lead to avoiding social events altogether." And, Dr Highet notes, on top of this are the financial implications of infertility.
"As a society we need to be aware of the impacts this can have on ourselves and those affected around us."
Find more information on coping with infertility and how to support others, here.