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How Shawn Johnson Is Staying Positive Through Pregnancy Complications

Sometimes, as hard as it may be, it’s about putting things into perspective.
ByNehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
October 15, 2019
pregnant shawn johnson
Image: Getty Images

When you’re pregnant, staying positive while dealing with stress can be a challenge. But Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson has proven time and time again she’s a pro at staying positive when dealt with a difficult situation—whether that situation is a broken toe (she recently headed to the ER for the injury) or pregnancy complications.

Johnson, who is expecting her first child with husband Andrew East, first announced the pregnancy in a video posted to their YouTube channel back in April, also revealing that they had suffered a miscarriage a year and a half prior. “We had a miscarriage. This baby has been a long time coming, and we couldn’t be more excited,” East said in the video.

Johnson also announced the news on her Instagram, posting a picture of the couple from their maternity shoot. “We cannot WAIT to welcome you the world and shower you with love,” she wrote in the caption.

But the pregnancy has not at all been easy. In a video posted to YouTube in July, the couple discussed pregnancy complications they had learned of during their 20-week ultrasound. The imaging showed dilated kidneys that were retaining fluids and a two-vessel umbilical cord, which only occurs in 1 percent of pregnancies. Their doctor warned them this could mean increased risks of stillbirth and delivery complications, as well as indicate a possibility of baby being born with Down syndrome.

While dealing with the initial diagnosis, East and Johnson reminded themselves of how they had felt after their miscarriage. “The human mind does an amazing job at adapting and forgetting. Early on, Shawn and I were praying every day, just being thankful for the baby,” East said in the video. “Then it was like, ‘Okay, she’s pregnant,’ so we got out of that rhythm and took for granted to some extent that we had this [pregnancy]. This was a rude awakening that we really just need to be thankful that we have a baby.”

Despite initial hesitation, at their doctor’s recommendation, the couple decided to get genetic testing done. The results indicated there were no genetic anomalies present. Now, the couple is just focusing on raising a happy and healthy baby—and grateful that they have the opportunity to.

“It put things in perspective for us,” said Johnson in the video. “Everyone’s always asking ‘Are you having a girl or a boy? What do you want? Are you going to put them in gymnastics? Are you going to put them in football?’ We had those thoughts in the beginning, but now that we’ve reached this phase, we do not care. I don’t care if it’s a boy. I don’t care if it’s a girl. I don’t even care what the name is right now. I don’t care if they do sports—nothing. I just pray that the baby is healthy.”

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