Chrissy Teigen Lost Her Baby, and People are Fixated on a Photo
Last night, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend shared the devastating news of the loss of their unborn baby boy, Jack. With the news, they posted photos that chronicled their pain, including one of Chrissy crying on the hospital bed, and another that showed them holding their child.
Many followers offered their support with heartfelt messages and empathy over this kind of loss. Some offered stories of their own loss.
Others ridiculed them for posting photos of their pain, their choice of filters, and accused them of seeking attention.
And then there’s the #ohchrissy hashtag that’s trending on Twitter right now, taken over by pro-life supporters who are using this moment of loss to throw Teigan’s pro-choice beliefs at her face.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” one Twitter user posted. “I guess it’s not just a clump of cells.”
This is Not the Time
For those who will use this time to bash another human being in their time of grief, shame on you. I ask you to take a good hard look at what it means to be pro-life, because those outside of the womb matter, too, including a grieving mother.
Here’s the truth about losing an unborn child — it’s more than losing a child. What you lose are the plans you had for them and your family. The innocence you felt about the joys of expecting. The thoughts of soft baby smells and wiggling toes. The little brother or sister your surviving children will never know.
What you gain are aching arms that yearn to hold your baby. The inability to talk about this loss to anyone else. The feeling of being tainted, like something is wrong with you. A fear that others will think the same thing about you. The knowledge that the world is moving around you, almost carelessly, while you’re feeling this huge hole in your life.
One person on Twitter stated, “What woman, anywhere, in this day and age, believes she is alone in the pain of a miscarriage?”
Let me tell you, a whole lot.
When I Lost My Child
When I lost my son to stillbirth, it hit me like a tsunami. It came from nowhere. It never occurred to me that anything would go wrong in my pregnancy. When I came to the hospital because something was off, I fully expected to go back home. Instead, I checked out the next day, my swollen belly empty, my arms empty, my heart and spirit. Empty.
Magnifying the pain was the inability to talk about it with anyone else. How do you share your grief over your pregnancy loss with a friend who is still expecting? How do you talk about a child you knew with all your heart, and yet never got to learn their favorite foods, the way they smiled, how they sounded when they laughed, or what color their eyes would be? What do you say when someone asks how many kids you have when you never even whispered your child’s name in his ear?
When you lose an unborn child, the feelings of being alone are intense. You become an island. It feels like a force-field is around you, which is partially placed there by yourself in your grief, but is increased by the sudden absence of friends because they aren’t what to do in a situation like this.
When I was in the hospital, still pregnant, but undergoing labor contractions so I could give birth to my still child, my best friend came to be with me. She said to me, “I don’t know what to say right now, or what to do, but I’m just going to be here so you’re not alone.”
It was the most caring thing anyone could have done for me.
Taking Away the Stigma of Pregnancy Loss
I commend Chrissy Teigen and John Legend for talking about this openly, because it’s my firm belief we don’t talk about it enough. There are so many women who are suffering alone, and Chrissy and John’s transparent grief has served as a gateway for these women to also share their pain. Scroll through the hate and you’ll find countless women sharing their own stories with stillbirth and miscarriage. It’s easy to feel alone in this pain. But the truth is, the experience is shared by many.
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend are only in the beginning of their grief story. In the next few months, even years, they will work out this new life they are in, one where a child they planned to love was taken from them. Our job as witnesses to this grief is to offer condolences, empathy, thoughts, and prayers.
Anything less is not welcome.
If your reaction to their news is anything less than heartfelt condolences, please move on. Let them have their human moment. Let them grieve their loss. Let them share what they wish with the world as they navigate this new world they’re in.
For the rest of us, let’s surround Chrissy and John with love and let them know they’re not alone.