When I read the news this week that Chrissy Teigen and John Legend had lost their third baby, I immediately began to sob. Reading their heartbreaking story and the images posted alongside of it immediately brought me back to the memory of my own loss: 15 months ago, I had to say goodbye to my own angel baby. Although I wasn’t as far along as Teigen, our family had already fallen completely, head-over-heels in love with the baby that was growing inside of me, and we’d been eagerly planning our future together as a family of five.
My experience was similar to Teigen’s in some ways: I also had two small children at home who were very excited about the prospect of a future baby brother or sister. Up until that moment, I had never known the heartache of losing a pregnancy. When my miscarriage began, at seven weeks, I didn’t actually think I was losing my baby. I had no reason to; I had already carried two healthy babies to term, so I figured I was just experiencing a little light bleeding. A few hours later, after it had become clear that something was terribly wrong, I sat in the waiting area of my hospital’s blood lab with the same thought running through my head: This can’t be happening.
It would take almost a full week to confirm that my baby had passed. During that week I spent a lot of time trying to hold myself together for my kids and my husband. I felt like the weight of the grief I was carrying was heavy enough to push me straight down into the earth, and I worried I’d never find my way back up to the surface again.
Because I’ve lost a pregnancy, I know a bit of what’s in store for Teigen over the coming days. Although no two losses are the same, some of the motions are as universal as they come: the phone calls and messages letting close friends and family know what has happened, the well wishes and support that feel simultaneously like both too much and not enough, and the emotional rollercoaster that carries you along the path of unanswered questions. I imagine that, in the days and weeks to come, those questions will swim circles in her mind the same way that they did in mine: Did I do this? Why is this happening now? When will this pain end? Will I ever feel joy again?
A person who becomes pregnant and wishes to carry the pregnancy to term is not in the same position as a person who becomes pregnant and doesn’t want to be.
And then, as soon as it feels like the other side is near, the whole thing will start anew.
Like me, Teigen won’t just have to worry about managing her own emotions. Legend will have his own feelings of loss to navigate, and their two children, Luna and Miles, will need emotional support as well. I’ll never forget the way my own children reacted when I told them that they would be unable to meet the baby that had been growing inside of me; my 4-year-old sobbed uncontrollably and begged me to tell her it wasn’t so.
Unlike Teigen, our family’s grief played out on a small stage. I didn’t have national news media carrying my story or sharing photos of me from inside the hospital (although, there was a photo of me from that day, taken by my nurse for the hospital’s records before my blood draw began). I also didn’t have trolls filling my my Twitter feed, making admonishments or gleefully posting about how her loss was somehow staged to distance herself from the unfounded conspiracy theories tying her to accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Either that, or they use Teigen’s loss as a way to target her stance as a pro-choice activist — like this post from Carmine Sabia, “Oh Chrissy I’m sorry for your loss. I guess it is not just a clump of cells.”
This has made many liberals pissed. I'm not surprised. But the point I'm making is spot on.
If you believe in abortion even in the ninth month and yet you keep referring to this baby as a life.
I agree it is a life and it is tragic. Just like abortion.
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) October 1, 2020
When I miscarried, nobody brought up my donations to Planned Parenthood or my pro-choice stance. Nobody compared the two, because to do so would be unconscionable. Just as it is now.
A person who becomes pregnant and wishes to carry the pregnancy to term is not in the same position as a person who becomes pregnant and doesn’t want to be. I believe both of those people deserve the right and respect to have those feelings, and should be afforded the ability to reach their desired outcomes.
Again, I believe that everyone should have complete and total control over their reproductive choices.
Miscarriage is already such a taboo topic. Many families don’t discuss it when it happens because of how raw their emotions are, and others can’t ever bring themselves to talk about it because of feelings of grief, shame, and embarrassment.
Still, some people do talk about their loss. I did, and Teigen did, even as some accused her of callousness for photographing and sharing those deeply private moments.
But the thing is, nobody can tell any of us the right way to grieve a loss — because grief, as well as loss, is such a personal experience. Some people would prefer to keep their story and their emotions private. Others, like us, feel better by using our stories to let people in similar situations know that they aren’t alone.
And while there is no wrong way to grieve a loss, there is a wrong way to bear witness to one. And right now, many on Twitter are showing us exactly what that looks like.
If you or someone you know has experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, or death of an infant, visit Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support to find local support groups and other resources to help cope through this difficult time.
These other famous parents have been open about suffering miscarriages.
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