French Filmmaker Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre On having her first after miscarriage.

By Ruthie Friedlander

Profound and thoughtful LA-based French filmmaker and director of The Mustang, is pregnant with her first after a miscarriage. 

Having recently moved back to Paris to be near family during the pandemic, we chatted with this ethereal mama-to-be, from a distance. Here, Laure shares her thoughts on healing from a miscarriage, the need for female connection during pregnancy, and writing a screenplay.

Current state of life…

Right now we’re going between the French countryside and Paris, although our home is LA. We’re both French, and my husband has a 10-year-old son that lives here in France. Initially, when we left LA, we thought we would have the baby here (with the support of our family) and stay for six weeks before heading back to the States. However, now we have no idea when we can get back as they’re not accepting Visas into the country. Temporarily we’ll live in my father-in-law’s apartment in the Paris for two months and hopefully, be able to go back in October. We can’t wait to be home in our big garden filled with lemon trees; it’s beautiful and peaceful.

Experience being pregnant through quarantine?

Before this pregnancy, I had an emotionally devastating miscarriage. Therefore, when I found out I was pregnant for the second time, I was extremely nervous, my brain was entirely out of commission and I was next-level sick for the first three months—I only ate white crackers and plain rice from a horizontal position. Just as I crossed into the second trimester (and we went into lockdown in LA), the sickness subsided along with my worry. I had my energy and brain back and felt more inspired than ever.

With my newfound creativity and time at home, my boyfriend and I started to write a script together. This project had been percolating in me for awhile, but I needed to collaborate; being in quarantine proved to be the perfect opportunity for Simon and I to finally work together creatively.

On the flip side, the uncertainty of where we were going to give birth, and when we would be able to see our family back in France was stressful. Once we realized the borders would be closed for awhile, we decided to temporarily reorganize our life in Paris and give birth to our child in France. While difficult to make the decision to come to Europe, now that we’re here, it makes perfect sense to be close to friends and family.

For the most part, life is business as usual here in France. People are cautious with masks, but doctor visits are relatively routine. In LA, I felt safe overall because there’s so much space, and we mainly stayed home aside from seeing our neighbors at a distance, going for walks, and to the grocery store. Here in Paris, it’s a bit more congested, so it’s harder to keep a distance. That said, the cases are low here, and mainly isolated. In the South of France, where we are now, there are none. The quarantine was strictly enforced from the get-go. The government taxed anyone without a mask and stopped people in the streets for their permits. As a result, people were disciplined and respected the rules, which helped contain the virus’s spread.

How did you heal from your miscarriage?

I was eight weeks pregnant when we loss the baby, and the disappointment was traumatic. Sadly, so many women experience this, but when you’re going through it, it can be very isolating and lonely. I wish, for the sake of all women, miscarriage was more openly talked about.

After the miscarriage, I had some complications, so it took a while to get pregnant again. To avoid endlessly trying on our own to get pregnant, I took the initiative and went for all the tests. After my results came back, we discussed everything from stimulation to IVF and put a plan in place. Having this information instantly put me at ease and gave me hope and faith; I knew things were going to work eventually. Right before we scheduled to start IVF, I surrendered to the process, and by some miracle, we got pregnant naturally!

Did you shout it from the rooftops?

No, we held off on telling people, aside from our parents. After the first didn’t work, we were more reserved when it came to sharing. It was tough to relive the miscarriage repeatedly each time we had to break the news to a different person. Therefore we opted to wait until we were more sure; however, under this rule of not telling anyone, I felt isolated. After a couple of months, I confided in a few of my closest confidantes because it’s a very feminine experience. Physically and emotionally, I was going through so much and needed their solidarity and guidance. Becoming a mother is like stepping into another vortex; it’s a sisterhood, and I’ve found women to be so generous, loving, and supportive.

Preparing for birth?

The plan is to have her at the hospital, which is a level three safety. And, considering, I’m terrible with pain, I’m having an epidural. I admire the woman that gives birth without, but it’s not for me.

Additionally, I enlisted a midwife here in Paris for the birth, and I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for the Webster technique to align my hips and pelvis. We’ve been doing sessions remotely while I’m in the countryside, but once we’re back in Paris, I’ll meet with them both in-person.

Any cravings?

Sweets! And I don’t mean fruit. No, I mean awful stuff, Heath Bar and Kinder Bueno, things I would never normally eat. Once my appetite and all the flavors came back, after three months of illness, I really went for it! I spent my second trimester eating everything, literally. However, once my doctor warned that gestational diabetes was real, I controlled my sugar intake.

Working throughout pregnancy and quarantine? 

Yes! I direct and co-write films as I love to collaborate. I wrote my first, The Mustang, with two writers, and now, my second with Simon—he is also a writer, director, and producer. 

Plus, we officially launched our production company with a partner over the past few months. With everything shut down and the luxury of time, we’ve been reading, writing, and preparing projects, so when the industry finally reopens, we’re ready to go!

Any advice?

It’s such a personal adventure. I received a lot of advice, some I followed and some I didn’t. You have to choose what works best for you. Mainly, rest, sleep, and enjoy the process, as it’s essential to keep good mental health.

“It’s such a personal adventure. I got a lot of advice, some I followed, some I didn’t. Choose what works best for you.”