"I didn't know who to go to or who to talk to or how to heal. So I ended up going to social media," says Shawn Johnson East, who experienced a miscarriage in 2017

By Benjamin VanHoose
May 10, 2021 01:07 PM
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Shawn Johnson East is opening up about how finding a community on social media helped her cope with a past pregnancy loss.

The athlete, 29, experienced a miscarriage in 2017, which she revealed in an emotional YouTube video that October. Johnson East and husband Andrew East then went on to welcome daughter Drew Hazel in October 2019, and they're now expecting another child, this time a baby boy.

"Our miscarriage back in 2017, it was the first time I ever felt super vulnerable," Johnson East tells Good Morning America. "I didn't know who to go to or who to talk to or how to heal. So I ended up going to social media. I needed someone to respond to me and say, 'It's going to be okay, I went through this as well.' "

"And to see the thousands and thousands of women that came forward and just said, 'I went through this. I'm struggling through this. Thank you, I felt so alone until now' — I felt the same way," she adds, "and it was the only way I healed."

Johnson East says "looking back on everything we've gone through ... it's all for a purpose." She adds, "It all makes it worth it in the end. It makes things more sweet. I think it's through those heartache moments that you truly learn. You learn who you are, you learn how to be a better wife and mother and daughter."

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Earlier this month, the star opened up about mom guilt and the rollercoaster of emotions that come with parenting her 18-month-old daughter.

"I spent half of church crying in my chair because Drew was sad going into Sunday School this morning. It's probably just pregnancy hormones but the amount of mom guilt I felt killed my soul," Johnson explained in the post.

"They texted us 2 minutes later to say she was happy and playing but I still continued to cry."

Shawn Johnson, Andrew East
Credit: Shawn Johnson East/Instagram

The retired Olympic gymnast went on to explain that "it's sometimes so hard to handle all of the love my heart feels for this little human."

"I never want to make the wrong decision for her," she continued. "Andrew quietly held my hand as I pulled myself back into the reality that she is ok and this is normal. But dang... my heart heart. 😭 #momlife."

The pair revealed the sex of their baby on the way exclusively with PEOPLE in March. "We are so excited to be welcoming a boy to our growing family and for Drew to have a little baby brother," they said at the time. "It will be a whole new experience and we're so excited to start this next chapter!"