Christina Perri: 'I Can Talk About My Miscarriage Now Because I Did The Work To Grieve And Heal'

·6 min read
Photo credit: Christina Perri
Photo credit: Christina Perri

I remember when I was 27, I was on tour and a switch suddenly flipped. I thought to myself, I need a baby. It was straight-up baby fever, and I had never felt it before in my life. When I finally decided to take a break in 2016, I started dating my now husband and got pregnant with my daughter Carmella in 2017. I had her in January 2018.

When Carmella was born, my whole world changed. It's not even being dramatic—when you become a parent, your whole life changes fundamentally. I spent the next year just being a mom and surviving because it was so hard. I knew this was the next chapter of my life, and I would dedicate my life to being a mom. Sure, music is amazing and what I do, but it's not who I am. More than a singer-songwriter, this is the most important role of my life.

I got pregnant again in 2019, but we lost that baby in January 2020. I was devastated. But I knew how common miscarriages were, especially during the first trimester. And no one was worried because my health was so good. Even my doctor told me I didn’t need to do any extra tests to find out what happened. So, I was like, Okay, well, we have a healthy daughter, so nothing must be wrong. This is just complete randomness.

Then I was pregnant again in April 2020. I thought I must be fine because I was able to conceive again. Also, I was being monitored by the best doctors in New York City.

Carmella was 2 and a half at this point, and she was so excited to be a big sister. We didn’t want to find out the sex of the baby, but we were very excited. We painted the nursery. We were ready to meet our baby.

At 30 weeks, which was November, we learned the baby had atresia of the gut, which is a blockage of the intestines. There were no red flags; I had a completely normal and perfect pregnancy.

We made a plan with my doctors—when the baby was born, the surgeon would operate on the baby and the NICU would take over after. They were monitoring me every other day to make sure the baby and I weren’t in distress. Though the situation wasn't ideal, it wasn't the worst-case scenario. Being a mom, I did as much research as I possibly could on atresia. I knew everything about it. I was so ready to meet my baby.

One day, while I was at home, I had a bad feeling and decided to go to the hospital. I found out the baby's heart had stopped.

Within three weeks of finding out about the condition, our baby passed away on November 24, 2020.

My husband and I were devastated and shocked. We had five doctors—the head of the hospital, my ob-gyn, my fetal medicine doctor, a fetal specialist, and an ultrasound specialist—and none of us saw this coming. They were in just as much disbelief as we were.

I chose to give birth to the baby naturally because that meant I could go home and see Carmella sooner. We found out that the baby was a girl, and we named her Rosie. We held her, and said goodbye to her. There's no right or wrong way to go through this tragic experience, but I'm really glad I got to meet her. That was a huge piece of the healing for me.

So many people carried me through this and came to our side. The following year we really leaned into healing. We fostered a little pug for a month and a half after Rosie’s passing. We moved to LA on January 1, 2021, because we needed sunshine and a different environment. My husband and I went to therapy individually, but we also did couple’s therapy and 12-step programs. We did yoga, meditation, running, trauma therapy. I can’t even wrap my brain around how many healing things we did, but I’m so capable of talking about this now because I spent an entire year working through and integrating all this trauma.

After giving myself some time to grieve and heal, I started an investigation into why I lost the baby. I didn't think anyone did anything wrong, but we all missed something here. I met with three different ob-gyns and two fetal specialists. I went through all my blood work, the baby's blood work, my husband's blood work. Then we did an autopsy and all the tests we could on Rosie, but nothing came back suspicious. So, I thought the answer must lie within me and started doing a hundred different tests.

I found out I had a blood clotting issue. There was no sign or warning, and I didn't know that until I had this very specific test that they don't order unless you had three pregnancy losses.

Nobody caught it because nobody tested me for it. And no one tests women for that until it's too late. So, I've been working with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to get them to change the protocol and give this test to women.

It feels like the right thing to do for Rosie. Her little life is only 34 weeks, but she can save millions of babies for the rest of time by getting women to find out they have this blood clotting antibody. For the whole year I was grieving her, I was able to channel it all into this petition that I'm working on.

Sharing Rosie's story helped me get back to my work too.

I didn’t really know how to come back and share about what happened. I decided with my record label that it would make the most sense if I sang about it first. I couldn't possibly continue without doing that, as hard as it was.

So, I wrote the song “evergone” for Rosie. I cried the whole time. It was so heartbreaking and hard, but it brought me out of this grief house I thought I'd never get out of. I thought, Oh wow, I should really share this because this is my experience.

I had recorded my new album “a lighter shade of blue” in the summer of 2020 when I had Rosie. The song "evergone" allowed me to bring the version of me that made this album back out. It's absolutely for Rosie, but it's also about grief in general and everybody I know has grief. It became this really specific but also general story to tell.

I really did begin this album a very, very, very darker shade of blue, always being the sad girl. And then all of a sudden, all these really hard things I went through like marriage and baby loss happened, but instead of turning me darker, I did all this work to get brighter and I feel like that's what the whole album's about.

I felt like there were two ways to go after such awful grief, loss, and pain. I could have disappeared into the darkness or do what I did, which was the work.

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