If you’ve never seen the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off Private Practice, which finished its six-season run in 2013, you may have been surprised by Amelia Shepherd’s reaction to finding out she’s expecting in Grey’s Season 16 premiere.
What you might not know is that the doctor has been pregnant before — and it ended in utter heartbreak.
What happened to Amelia Shepherd’s baby?
During Private Practice’s fifth season, Amelia vowed to get sober after relapsing alongside her boyfriend and fellow drug addict, Ryan. Following the pair’s final binge, Amelia woke up to discover Ryan dead from an overdose. She later learned that she was carrying his child.
In another devastating turn of events, an ultrasound revealed that the infant — who Amelia named Christopher — was anencephalic (had an underdeveloped brain) and would die shortly after birth.
Amelia elected to carry Christopher to term in order to donate his other organs to babies in need. But the agony of losing him stayed with her, something viewers witnessed during her short-lived marriage to Owen Hunt.
"[She] had a lot of trauma from the loss of baby Christopher that she hadn’t processed," actress Caterina Scorsone, who plays Amelia, recalled of her character’s mindset in Season 13 of Grey’s. "Before [she and Owen] broke up, she wasn’t even able to say his name out loud, let alone share her pain with anyone, including Owen."
But a great deal has changed in the seven years since her last pregnancy. "Speaking about one’s pain and trauma can be incredibly healing, and I think a combination of her grieving Christopher properly and parenting [Owen’s son] Leo and [Leo’s birth mom] Betty with so much love, a lot of Amelia’s fear and trauma was healed," Caterina shared.
Amelia’s baby daddy, Link, vows to stay by her side throughout the pregnancy.
Despite the newness of their relationship, the couple agrees to tackle this unexpected journey together. "Amelia and Link are for sure jumping in," Caterina confirmed to Refinery 29. "They’re both pretty adventurous, high adrenaline souls, so they are going to leap and have this baby and figure out the pieces as they go."
Amelia even admits to being "a little bit in love" with Link, though Caterina speculates that "might be the hormones" talking. "I think she was really moved by his support," the 37-year-old explained.
"Whether or not it works out, the fact that he said he’d support her and step up and raise the baby with her if that’s what she wanted was what she needed to hear to know that he was going to be a solid father to this kid. It helped her overcome her fear and embrace this pregnancy and this baby."
Is Caterina Scorsone pregnant like her character on Grey’s Anatomy?
The brunette beauty is not pregnant, though she was expecting her first child, daughter Eliza, while filming Christopher’s storyline on Private Practice.
Caterina confessed that playing pregnant is definitely different this time around. "First of all, I’m a mother myself now, so I get it in a way I could only imagine the first time around," the Power Play alum, who also has a 2-year-old daughter named Paloma, said.
"Also, the first time Amelia was pregnant she’d just gone through the unspeakable pain of losing the man she loved to an oxycodone overdose… She was still reeling when Christopher was born and died. The whole experience was mired in shock and trauma."
We hope to see a much happier Amelia this season as she prepares for motherhood. Watch new episodes of Grey’s Anatomy Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.