Understandably, though, her first day back was extremely difficult.
“I was sweaty and shaky as wardrobe silently helped me into [a prosthetic stomach]. My small trailer [was] filled with their pity and sorrow,” the Kingdom actress, 38, wrote in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter about her first day back on set to play her pregnant character Lisa, who lost her own baby in the storyline that day.
She continues, “When I looked at myself in the mirror my mind somersaulted. I’m pregnant again. It was all a bad dream. A bad dream I was going to have to [perform] again and again until we ‘got it.’ ”
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Before the day she went back to work — where she herself ending up making the call to write Lisa’s miscarriage into Kingdom‘s storyline — Sanchez can remember the pain of day-to-day life after she and Gilford, 34, said goodbye to their son.
“Therapist. Psychiatrist. Trainer. Short stint on anti-depressants. Long stint on anti-anxiety. Ambien. Alcohol for the remaining bits,” she writes candidly. “I fantasized about being dead with him. I would have dreams where he was still inside me and I would wake up and howl that he wasn’t.
“I imagined him slightly cold as I wrapped my body around him and we were at peace. These were the thoughts that soothed me,” she continues.
Sanchez adds that her body hadn’t “gotten the memo” that she had lost the baby, but in reality, “lost” isn’t quite the word that fits what happened to her and Gilford.
“Lost implies I misplaced him. That I was careless. Maybe that’s why we women feel such shame,” she muses. “We didn’t lose them. They were ripped from our clutched hands.”
Thoughts of regret, guilt and more plagued Sanchez to the point where she punished herself both mentally and physically, working out for hours a day and resorting to using a corset to hide her post-pregnancy weight.
But after a difficult first part of her return to work, Sanchez experienced a moment that reminded herself and her colleagues that she was still herself.
“Right before ‘action’ I looked at the ‘A camera’ and asked, ‘Do I look fat?’ Silence. And then laughter. And we all breathed for the first time since I walked in,” she shares. “I wanted them to know that although this incredibly difficult, unlucky, life-altering thing had happened, I’m still here. Inside this swollen, morose vision you see before you is the person who swears like a sailor and will give you s— if you’re out of focus or if we have to go again for sound. Who loves you ferociously and didn’t feel like herself until she was in your presence.”
The actress, who’s also known for having played Nikki on the hit ’00s show Lost, found solace in what her character was going through, too.
“As I sank into Lisa and her pain, and how she dealt with loss, it got easier. I started to care about something outside of my own agony,” she confesses. “It ended up being cathartic. A word I never really knew until now.
“I have so much pride that we didn’t shy away. That we created something that speaks to suffering that for some reason lives in shadows,” she continues. “I am grateful that I was put in a position that I did not have the option to hide. I’m glad that we leaned in. Went into the humanity of heartbreak.”
— Jen Juneau