For most women of childbearing age, the ability to give birth to a healthy child is taken for granted until an issue arrives. Many mothers who give birth to a child with abnormalities take on the guilt of thinking that it was their wrongdoing that contributed to the baby's condition. At this point in time that is common. There are support groups to aid in that grief, hashtags to connect strangers with like experiences to each other, and scripts of what to say and not say available online in one click. However, pregnancy loss is a different beast often met with the response of, "I am so sorry. You are young. You can always try again." Yes, perhaps that is true, but what about the insurmountable loss the mother has just endured?
Pregnancy loss, in general, is a hard topic for most to confront head-on, and on September 30, 2020, Chrissy Teigen bared her experience with losing her child in a series of photos shared on Instagram for all of the world to see. And to no surprise, sharing her truth was met with speculation. Nonetheless, in these photos there is no glitz, or glamour, just poignant pain, grief, and horror. The caption read:
"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."
The mother who shares two children with husband and long-time love John Legend continued:
"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."
And in those moments, Chrissy Teigen was not a model or cookbook author, she was 1% of pregnant women who suffer from placental abruption. The rare condition at its mildest is not deadly to the mother or the unborn baby, however, at its most severe the condition can lead to fetal death and/or the death of the mother by bleeding. Chrissy penned in a personal essay posted to Medium:
"My doctors diagnosed me with partial placenta abruption. I had always had placenta problems. I had to deliver Miles a month early because his stomach wasn't getting enough food from my placenta. But this was my first abruption. We monitored it very closely, hoping for things to heal and stop. In bed, I bled and bled, lightly but all day, changing my own diapers every couple of hours when the blood got uncomfortable to lay in. I actually became an adult diaper expert for my own personal entertainment, truly appreciating the brands that went out of their way to not make me feel like an actual shitting baby."
Despite her previous experience with placenta problems, her best efforts, blood transfusions - and let's keep it real - her wealth, Chrissy still was not able to save the life of her child and suffered a miscarriage. This brings into question how women without that level of support and resources seek solace. Chrissy explains:
"But the moments of kindness have been nothing short of beautiful. I went to a store where the checkout lady quietly added flowers to my cart. Sometimes people will approach me with a note. The worst part is knowing there are so many women that won't get these quiet moments of joy from strangers. I beg you to please share your stories and to please be kind to those pouring their hearts out. Be kind in general, as some won't pour them out at all."
People should not dictate how others mourn or grieve period but especially when it comes to the loss of a child. The shame and secrecy that many women endure make them feel forced to grieve these types of losses quickly, quietly, or not at all. It's just not fair. The bravery of women across the world to share their own experiences with this tragedy is healing and affirming for many, and hopefully will help aid in research to have a cure to these types of issues once and for all.
Our hearts go out to Chrissy and her family in this time of healing and processing.
Featured image by lev radin / Shutterstock.com