If you follow the news, you probably read the hearbreaking news that Chrissy Teigan and her husband John Legend lost their baby in a second-trimester miscarriage last week. I don’t think the details of how far along in the pregnancy she was, but actually, it doesn’t really matter. The loss of a baby is devastating at whatever gestation. I believe she was about half way through, and named their little boy Jack.
View this post on Instagram
We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough. . . We never decide on our babies’ names until the last possible moment after they’re born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever. . . To our Jack – I’m so sorry that the first few moments of your life were met with so many complications, that we couldn’t give you the home you needed to survive. We will always love you. . . Thank you to everyone who has been sending us positive energy, thoughts and prayers. We feel all of your love and truly appreciate you. . . We are so grateful for the life we have, for our wonderful babies Luna and Miles, for all the amazing things we’ve been able to experience. But everyday can’t be full of sunshine. On this darkest of days, we will grieve, we will cry our eyes out. But we will hug and love each other harder and get through it.
I love Chrissy Teigan anyway. I love her outspokenness and her realness, and she’s just pretty damn awesome. Her Instagram post literally brought tears to my eyes – I don’t think I ever felt so gut-achingly sad as I did when I had my early miscarriage, two years ago this month.
For us, we got a happy ending, falling pregnant two months later and giving birth to a healthy beautiful girl. She’s our rainbow, although I have written about how we won’t call her a rainbow baby. Other mums and dads who go through this don’t always have a happy ending, and Chrissy and John have candidly spoken about their struggles with getting pregnant.
The photos, while incredibly sad, were also beautiful. They showed a mum at one of the saddest and most vulnerable points of her life. They just showed raw emotion and sadness and the reality of what one in four women will go through at some point. At that time, she wasn’t a beautiful superstar millionaire. She was a mum. A mum who had lost a much loved and much-wanted baby. Someone that so many of us can empathise with and connect with.They showed a mum at one of the saddest and most vulnerable points of her life. They just showed raw emotion and sadness and the reality of what one in four women will go through at some point. At that time, she wasn't a beautiful… Click To Tweet
I made the mistake of going onto Twitter, and reading some of the comments left, replying to Chrissy’s posts, and they made me feel utterly sick. They were just horrible. Now, of course, her Tweets are public and it’s social media, so anyone is entitled to share their beliefs and thoughts but when replying to a woman who had lost a child…well, time and place dudes. Time and place.
They were HORRENDOUS.
It was mostly men, but there were plenty of women who felt the need to criticise Chrissy for sharing these images. There were also a few individuals who thought it appropriate to compare the loss of her baby to an abortion – Chrissy is openly pro-choice, but I am not even going to go there with them.
Chrissy, sharing her story and her pictures with the world, is powerful. There is so much power in those photos and clearly, some people don’t like it. There were messages criticising her for sharing such a personal and private moment with the world. Some of the Tweets that I saw include:
‘This need to document everything for public consumption. Isn’t anything sacred?’
‘When someone has a miscarriage, their first thought is “let’s take pictures to remember this moment AND share it with the world?” No.’
‘This picture is pretty strange! I wouldn’t want any pictures of such a personal thing happening’
‘I’m seeing a lot of “she took a photo to let women know they are not alone “… WTH? What woman, anywhere, in this day and age, believes she is alone in the pain of a miscarriage? No one. Not one. And having a celebrity document their personal experience does nothing to help.’
‘I have no urge to share my life, ESPECIALLY MY PRIVATE LIFE, to people I don’t know.’
I have so many issues with these – and these were just a tiny percentage of the awful ones.
The main thing is that instead of scrolling past Chrissy’s Tweets, is that they felt the need to take time out of their day to say something hurtful and negative to a woman grieving the loss of her child. The arguement that most of them came back to that with ‘what does she expect if she posts them publicly?’.
Classic victim blaming.
Clearly, these people have never heard of scrolling past and ignoring something if they don’t like it. I asked them if it made them feel good about themselves to say it. None of them answered that, funnily enough.
Then we have the comments about ‘well I didn’t want to do that’. Well, it isn’t you, it it? Everyone deals with grief differently. For me, it was blogging about it, but I didn’t want to talk about in person. Chrissy obviously felt like she needed to share those images – she has a huge public following who are interested in her life and her pregnancy, and who will grieve with her and support her. I find it quite interesting – and telling – that these people made another woman’s miscarriage and body about them, how they would deal with it and that someone else choosing to do things differently was wrong.I find it quite interesting – and telling – that these people made another woman's miscarriage and body about them, how they would deal with it and that someone else choosing to do things differently was wrong Click To Tweet
I think that is also important to bear in mind that Chrissy’s loss was at a later stage – late enough to give birth and have a baby to name and hold. People don’t seem to have an issue with the couple sharing photos of their baby shortly after being born – many of Chrissy’s photos were just that – her and her husband holding their baby. The fact the baby didn’t take a breath is neither here or there – it was sharing their child with the world.
My biggest issue is with the tweet about no woman feeling alone when they have had a miscarriage. I don’t know if the woman who felt it necessary to Tweet that has ever experienced a miscarriage, but I can categorically state that is the biggest load of bullshit. I had an incredible support network – my partner, my friends, my family – and yet, in the middle of the night when I woke up and lay there, my hands on my tummy where my baby should have been, I felt alone. It didn’t matter that I know the stats – 1 in 4 women have a miscarriage. It didn’t matter that I know my circle of best friends have all had one. I still felt like I was the only person to experience that pain. I’m not alone in feeling like that. When I shared my miscarriage story, I had lots of messages from followers and readers saying about the isolation that comes with a loss.I had an incredible support network – my partner, my friends, my family – and yet, in the middle of the night when I woke up and lay there, my hands on my tummy where my baby should have been, I felt alone. Click To Tweet
There’s still some weird stigma around miscarriage that really shouldn’t be there in 2020. October is baby loss awareness month, and one of my friends shared something about being one of the 1 in 4. I went to share it and stopped myself. Why? Why didn’t I share it? I didn’t want to feel like I bang on about having an early miscarriage two years ago because I should be over it by now, especially as we have Elizabeth. Well, I might not cry and talk about it every day, but that baby still pops into my thoughts sometimes. I imagine it always will.
By people talking about baby loss, especially someone so high-profile as Chrissy Teigan, it will help to remove some of that stigma, particularly when it comes to later miscarriages. Of course, it is not their responsibility to enforce a shift in thinking – if someone who is grieving decides to keep it private that is entirely up to them. That’s the important thing – that we recognise that everyone deals with things differently. If someone doesn’t like it, they are the ones who need to look away. It is not on the grieving person to adjust their behaviour to make someone else feel comfortable.
If someone you know shares their story of baby loss, support them. Love them. Let them know they are not alone. If you don’t feel uncomfortable, change your behaviour or look away. Don’t tell someone else how they should be behave when it comes to their grief. That was their baby.