Hilarie Burton Opens Up About Suffering 'Painful' Miscarriages: I 'Took on So Much Guilt'
Hilarie Burton shares daughter George, 2, and son Gus, 10, with husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan
In her new memoir, The Rural Diaries, actress Hilarie Burton candidly speaks about her love, life, careers and everything in between — including her struggles with infertility and their impact on her relationship with husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
The One Tree Hill alum, who shares son Gus, 10, and daughter George, 2, with The Walking Dead actor, recently opened up to PEOPLE about what she and her husband went through as they tried to grow their family.
After welcoming son Gus in March 2010, Burton, 37, and Morgan, 54, — who wed in October 2019 after a decade together — decided to try for another child together.
After a year and a half-long struggle to get pregnant a second time, Burton and Morgan were heartbroken after the actress suffered a miscarriage and "took on so much guilt," she tells PEOPLE.
"When you get blindsided by your body, that betrayal of your body is very hard to overcome, I didn't think I had PTSD. I had other people tell me I had PTSD," Burton says.
"But there's this thing that happens to your body after a miscarriage. Every single ache and every single pain, all of a sudden you're scared it's a death. It's got to be the worst-case scenario. And I didn't realize I had that, but every time I would have a cramp, I was scared it was something serious."
In her book, which captures her life in Upstate New York, the actress candidly discusses the toll her fertility struggles had on her relationship.
"I had been the worst version of myself," Burton writes in her book, out now. "Jeffrey had been distant and unreachable. And yet somehow we had found each other again."
"There was no romance," she writes. "The whole thing had become a science experiment. He'd feel used and wouldn't respond to me, and then I'd feel hurt and rejected. It was a vicious, unhappy cycle."
Burton says in her book that after her miscarriage, her relationship with Morgan soon "came undone" as they dealt with stress and grief.
Despite their struggles, Morgan remained optimistic that they would become parents for a second time, often telling her, "We're going to get pregnant again. It'll be fine."
"The things I needed to hear, he didn't know how to say; and the things he needed me to be, I couldn't be. I was just a vessel and I was empty. Any energy I did have was going to Gus. I had nothing left for Jeff."
But the pair found their way back to each other, she tells PEOPLE, and found the strength to continue their fertility journey, despite experiencing two more miscarriages.
"By the time the next couple miscarriages came around, Jeffrey and I figured out how to talk to each other," Burton says. "Until you go through trauma with someone, you don’t know what their language is and they don’t know what your language is. It is painful to say that by the time we had our third miscarriage, we had figured out how to communicate and help each other and how to process together.
"If that’s the silver lining, you have to find those whenever you can," she adds.
Come June 2017, the couple learned they were expecting their second child — a daughter, whom they welcomed on Feb. 16, 2018 and named George Virginia.
The Rural Diaries is on stands now.