Celebrities & Pop Culture

‘Parenthood’ Star Monica Potter Reveals She Has Colitis

What first looked like a pregnancy announcement turned out to be something different!

When “Parenthood” star Monica Potter posted a picture of her bulging belly on Instagram, people automatically assumed that she must be announcing a new pregnancy.

The caption (“I have something to share…”) added to the completely understandable speculation that she was unveiling her baby bump.

I have something to share…

A post shared by Monica Potter (@monicapottergram) on

People congratulated the talented actress, who is already the mother of three children: Daniel, 27, Liam, 23, and Molly, 12. (Daniel and Liam are from her first marriage, while Molly is from her current marriage to surgeon Dr. Daniel Allison.)

monica potter photo
Flickr | Genevieve719

A Surprise Announcement

However, when Potter posted her next message on her Instagram page, her followers were shocked to discover that the star is not pregnant… but suffering from colitis!

Thank you to everyone who has sent me well wishes. I’m not pregnant but wanted to shed some light on some issues we all may deal with, especially women. It’s never really talked about because it’s not sexy, pretty, our glamorous to say the least, so I decided to share a photo to possibly inspire my friends (you), create a platform to share stories, and rely on each other for support and guidance. I’ve had colitis for almost 2 years and sometimes when I get flareups it’s painful and frustrating, so for all of you who suffer from colitis or other abdominal issues, please know you’re not alone. I’m going for a check up on Friday and following up with colonoscopy this month. I want to stress the importance of getting regular check-ups with your gastroenterologist or family physician. I hope this open discussion will lead to many other things we face as women, mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and every role we take on. Take time for yourself and go get checked. Even if you’re not having issues it’s important. Please note that I am not sponsored by anyone but me – I did this on my own, and just wanted to share. That being said, a huge thank you to these foundations that are bringing awareness and guidance to all of us for better health💜 #colon #colonoscopy #colitis #ulcerativecolitis #americanmedicalassociation #clevelandclinic #crohncolitisawareness #crohnsdisease #livehealthy #womenshealth #prevention #health

A post shared by Monica Potter (@monicapottergram) on

In the video message, Potter sits wrapped up in a white sweater. Makeup-free, hair in a loose twist, and glasses on, the star speaks quietly and candidly about what is really happening with her belly and why she decided to share it publicly.

Colitis Affections Millions of Americans

Over one-and-a-half million Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. It is a chronic condition, which means it can be treated but never cured. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping, blood in the stool and unintended weight loss.

If left untreated, colitis can lead to serious complications like bowel obstructions, malnutrition, dehydration, fistulas and fissures. It can also do permanent damage to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease also increase your risk of colon cancer.

colitis photo
Flickr | euthman

Potter’s Video Message Stresses Self-Care

So, it’s the not cheeriest topic. And in the message accompanying the video, Potter shared:

“Thank you to everyone who has sent me well wishes. I’m not pregnant but wanted to shed some light on some issues we all may deal with, especially women. It’s never really talked about because it’s not sexy, pretty, our glamorous to say the least, so I decided to share a photo to possibly inspire my friends (you), create a platform to share stories, and rely on each other for support and guidance.

I’ve had colitis for almost two years and sometimes when I get flareups it’s painful and frustrating, so for all of you who suffer from colitis or other abdominal issues, please know you’re not alone.

I’m going for a check up on Friday and following up with colonoscopy this month. I want to stress the importance of getting regular check-ups with your gastroenterologist or family physician. I hope this open discussion will lead to many other things we face as women, mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and every role we take on.

Take time for yourself and go get checked. Even if you’re not having issues it’s important. Please note that I am not sponsored by anyone but me – I did this on my own, and just wanted to share. That being said, a huge thank you to these foundations that are bringing awareness and guidance to all of us for better health💜”

RELATED: Carrie Underwood opens up about her recovery after a fall outside her home:

Actress Hopes Honesty Brings Awareness

Potter took a big risk by putting herself out there and being honest about her health, but she did so in order to help educate others and inspire them to take better care of their bodies. We’re sure that anyone who also is dealing with these gastrointestinal issues appreciates her openness about the disease.

In addition to bringing awareness to the public about colitis, Potter also advocates for other health issues. On her Instagram page, she’s shared how she’s teaching her young daughter about the importance of self-care as she gets older.

Do you know someone affected by colitis, Crohn’s or a related disease?

[H/t: TODAY]