Since she was 10 years old, Nancy Kerrigan knew she was meant to be a mom; in fact, she planned to have three kids by the time she turned 30. But when she had her first son, Matthew, in 1996, she had no idea it'd be eight years before the birth of her second child. During that time, Nancy suffered six miscarriages, the former figure skater and Olympic medalist said in an emotional reveal on Dancing with the Stars Monday night.
"The first time that you go in and they tell you, 'Oh, there's no heartbeat,' it's devastating. You feel guilty, like what did you do wrong? It makes you feel like a failure... It almost felt shameful, I think, because I couldn't do it on my own," Nancy told her dance partner, Artem Chigvintsev, her eyes welling with tears.
One of the worst parts was telling Matthew he'd have to keep waiting for a little brother or sister. "Once, the pregnancy was far enough along that we actually told our son and he was so excited," Nancy told People. "How do you explain [a miscarriage] to a little kid? Having to tell them that it was now gone and they had to take it out? He asked why and we had to explain, 'Because it's dead. It's not alive anymore.' That was awful."
The doctors were never able to confirm why Nancy kept miscarrying, but despite experiencing so much sorrow and disappointment, she was determined not to give up—even when her husband, Jerry, asked if she wanted to stop trying. "It was hard for him to see me hurting," she said. Fighting the fear, Nancy turned to in vitro fertilization treatment and, in 2005, finally gave birth to her son Brian. Three years later, she had her daughter Nicole, also through IVF. "Now we're outnumbered!" she laughed.
Nancy knows a thing or two about perseverance. In 1994, the figure skater was famously attacked by a man who used a club to bash in her knees; it came out later that the man was hired by the now ex-husband and bodyguard of her skating rival, Tonya Harding. That same week, Nancy told People, "I've been a fighter all my life." Considering all she's been through, we know this inspiring woman could take on just about anything. This season of Dancing with the Stars? A piece of cake.
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