Shawn Johnson talks pregnancy and being 'vulnerable' on social media

PHOTO: Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson visits Hallmarks "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood, April 24, 2019, in Universal City, Calif.PlayPaul Archuleta/Getty Images, FILE
WATCH Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson opens up about her miscarriage

Shawn Johnson, who is 28 weeks pregnant, says that pregnancy can be "the most humbling experience" for expectant mothers, but described the feeling of a baby growing, and kicking, as thrilling.

"Your body does whatever it wants, some really weird things, and you're just along for the ride," Johnson told Good Morning America.

Johnson said says she's always wanted to be a mother, and shared one of her favorite aspects of her pregnancy, which she says has been "very smooth."

"The baby kicking is pretty cool," said Johnson, who is married to Andrew East. "It can get annoying, but it's also really cool just because it's just this constant reminder of like -- you have a human being growing inside of you -- and it's your little person. It's awesome."

"Both my husband and I are really excited and like dreaming of the day when we can hold our baby for the first time," she said. "It's that huge milestone of bringing your baby into the world."

"It's going to be probably the most terrifying moment of our lives too, like, what do we do know with this thing!" she added with a laugh. "But holding our baby -- I'm really excited for that."

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Johnson said that she's been surprised by all aspects of her pregnancy, and she's leaned on her friends and her husband for support.

Both my husband and I are really excited and like dreaming of the day when we can hold our baby for the first time.

"My husband helps," she said. "He kind of is in shock and awe with me as things change every day -- he just will stare at me and be like 'Wow, hey, you're pregnant,'" she shared with a laugh.

"My friends -- a lot of women in my life who have had babies or are pregnant now -- I'm kind of leaning on a community of people who know how to get through this," she added.

She recently partnered with Philips Avent, a baby products company, to help first-time moms like herself learn more about childcare. The former gymnast hosted a livestream in partnership with company, alongside pediatrician Dr. Natasha Burgert, to discuss some of the common questions mothers have before and after giving birth, earlier this week.

Some of the questions raised included: "When do you switch bottle to regular sippy cup?" and "What are some ways to help with postpartum depression?"

The excited parents-to-be have chosen to wait for her due date to find out the sex of the baby. "We are being surprised and nobody believes us, but we truly don't know!" she shared.

Johnson is normally pretty open with her fan base, sharing the ups and downs.

She and her husband shared an emotional video in which they revealed she suffered a miscarriage in October 2017. She said that video, and the massive response they received to it, changed the way she looked at the platform.

"We used to be those people on social media, like majority, where you post your fluff stuff where you look good and you act good -- and it's just perfect," she explained. "And I started doing all these speeches where I would preach to young girls that we're not supposed to be perfect, we're supposed to be raw and real."

"Two years ago when we miscarried and we lost our first baby -- so many woman and children and men had come to us on social media with like body image issues or relationship issues or whatever, asking for our help, and it was the first time after I miscarried where I felt helpless, like I didn't know who to ask for help," she continued.

She said while trying to heal and move forward, she wondered if anyone online could lend support.

"It was just this impulse of -- I wonder if our community has gone through anything like this and if they could help me," she shared. "My husband was very hesitant. He was like, 'I don't think we should post this -- it's too vulnerable for you.' Just trying to protect me, but I insisted and we posted it."

The amount of responses she got after releasing the emotional video about her miscarriage overwhelmed her, she said.

"The outpouring of support and people's personal experiences of miscarriage and infertility, everything -- I would just sit and read the screen for hours and cry," she said. "Just kind of piece myself back together knowing that so many other women have gone through it and have healed and gotten through it and succeeded."

She said that moment was "kind of our turning point with social media" for her and her husband.

"We saw our community -- all haters involved and critics and trolls -- everyone involved, we saw them as a family," she said.

"We're going to be vulnerable, we're going to show you the hard things because you got us through such a hard time," she continued. "We want to help you get through a hard time and it to be this open dialogue, almost."

Johnson said that sometimes this openness can be "terrifying."

"We post a lot of things that are very scary and real for us, that people can misinterpret or take the wrong way," she explained. "But it's truly just us trying to share a world that we're new to and we're trying to learn from."

Although the couple is pretty transparent now with the happenings in their lives, Johnson said she isn't sure how much of her baby she will post.

"My husband and I have both grown such thick skin in learning how to deal with social media on our own," she said. "People can come after us and misinterpret or misunderstand or whatever -- like we've figured social media out, we know how to like filter it -- but when it's your baby, I feel like it's gonna be a different ball game."

"So it's going to be a learning experience for us," she added. "I'm sure it will be trial and error or like sharing too much or not sharing enough and kinda finding that balance."