Survivor winner Natalie Anderson recently competed in what is hopefully her first of many seasons of The Challenge on MTV. She looked poised to go the distance until she was forced to withdraw from the show for an unspecified emergency — that was all that she could reveal at the time of filming.
It came to light after the episode aired that Anderson found out she was eight weeks pregnant while filming and had to return home. Unfortunately, in the subsequent weeks, she suffered a miscarriage and lost the baby.
Now she is opening up about the experience, urging her fans to allow themselves grace and kindness in the hard times.
Anderson Says There Are Ways to Find Happiness Even in Grief
In an Instagram post, Anderson had a message for “anyone who has struggled to find themselves after a loss.”
“Through your anger, sadness & grief there is always a way to find happiness & peace,” Anderson said. “Leaving [The Challenge] was difficult for so many reasons. Gold skull in hand I was ready to win the whole competition. I was disappointed. I felt like I let myself & the people who helped me prepare for The Challenge down. I wanted to compete, I wanted to accomplish what I trained for, I wanted to WIN. Leaving the house with unfinished business was heartbreaking.”
She went to say that it was “emotional and confusing” to find out she was pregnant while thousands of miles away from her boyfriend, Devin Perez. But she is “so proud” of what her body accomplished on the show while also being pregnant.
Once she arrived home, Anderson said that she and Perez “embraced” the idea of becoming parents even though they were “totally freaked out about this new journey.”
But shortly thereafter, she experienced another “heartbreaking loss” when she miscarried. So now she was grieving over having to leave the show and for the baby that she lost.
“I wanted to share my story for those who have gone through a pregnancy loss or grieving any other loss. You can overcome!. Life has a way of testing us and you owe yourself kindness through the hardest times. I am proud to be healthy and happy after overcoming the emotions of leaving the show early and the loss of my pregnancy,” wrote Anderson.
She finished by saying she is so “grateful” for her adventurous life and for being able to “harness [her] mental fortitude” to deal with loss and regret.
“I am so proud of Devin and I for letting this experience make us not break us. I am grateful for his strength and support through these challenges. Could not have done it without you. love you,” she concluded.
Anderson is the second Survivor contestant to recently speak about her miscarriage publicly. Jaclyn Schultz Misch and her husband Jon told their fans in late December about the heartbreaking loss of their baby right before Christmas.
Her Fellow Reality Stars Were Quick to Offer Words of Support
In the comments, many reality stars jumped in to offer words of support and love, including Kelley Wentworth, Sophie Clarke, Nicole Anthony, Nany Gonzalez, Jackie Ibarra, and Davie Rickenbacker.
Fellow Survivor: Winners at War cast members Ethan Zohn and Nick Wilson both shared their support, with Zohn writing, “That was wonderful to read. Thank you for sharing. The details of your life will help others out there. You rock. Keep crushing. Can’t wait to see back on next season of The Challenge,” and Wilson added, “You’re so strong!”
Big Brother contestant Christmas Abbott wrote, “You’re so brave for sharing such a personal and intimate story. Sending you love & healing.”
And three-time Survivor player Jerri Manthey wrote, “So sorry for ur loss Natalie. I cannot begin to imagine….. And as far as Survivor goes…. you DID win. Trust me I know how hard it is to get that close. But you KILLED it. U didn’t let ANYONE down. Thanks for sharing this very personal story. May the best continue to flow in your direction!! Happy to have such an amazing kicka** woman in the Survivor family!!!”
And in an Instagram post from before it was revealed that Anderson had to withdraw from The Challenge her on-screen game partner Wes Bergmann wrote a touching tribute.
“I just want to extend a public thank you to Natalie, for being an amazing partner and friend thus far in the show. She’s as bada** as she looks. Incredibly loyal. Very, very, annoyingly intelligent,” wrote Bergmann. “Believe the hype. She embodies everything it means to be a Challenger.”
The Challenge is currently airing Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MTV. Survivor will most likely not return until fall 2021 with season 41, which should begin filming in April.