Disclaimer: the following post discusses pregnancy and infant loss and may be triggering for some individuals.
When I was scrolling Twitter this afternoon–you know, while working–I gasped out loud when I saw a new Tweet from Chrissy Teigen pop up.
“She’s back,” I thought, and my heart pounded and my stomach churned as I clicked on the essay the newly-bereaved mother had posted. I knew that whatever she had decided to share with the world would be painful to read and that my own heart would break reading her words. And of course, I was right.
The post is very typical Chrissy, with talk of eating fried chicken on the couch, all cozied up, and even a few jokes about adult diapers cracked. But Chrissy, as she points out so poignantly in the essay, is forever changed. She speaks honestly and openly, completely from the heart, describing in detail the days leading up to the loss of her son Jack, how they tried valiantly to save him with her on bed rest for an entire month, how her fluid levels got so low she swore she could see his tiny arms and legs sticking out of her belly.
And she speaks of the moment when she knew it was over–when her mother’s heart knew that it was time to say goodbye to her baby boy.
“Late one night, I was told it would be time to let go in the morning,” she describes. “I cried a little at first, then went into full blown convulsions of snot and tears, my breath not able to catch up with my own incredibly deep sadness. Even as I write this now, I can feel the pain all over again. Oxygen was placed over my nose and mouth, and that was the first picture you saw. Utter and complete sadness.”
The picture she is referring to, of course, is the one that so many of us saw and grieved with her. But it was also a picture that, sadly, was widely criticized by some who somehow believe they have any right to have an opinion on how a mother gets to grieve.
And Chrissy, in typical Chrissy fashion, addressed that. She explained how even her husband, John Legend, was hesitant to take the pictures she asked him to take, but that she “needed them.”
“He hated it. I could tell. It didn’t make sense to him at the time. But I knew I needed to know of this moment forever, the same way I needed to remember us kissing at the end of the aisle, the same way I needed to remember our tears of joy after Luna and Miles. And I absolutely knew I needed to share this story.”
“I cannot express how little I care that you hate the photos,” she added. “How little I care that it’s something you wouldn’t have done. I lived it, I chose to do it, and more than anything, these photos aren’t for anyone but the people who have lived this or are curious enough to wonder what something like this is like. These photos are only for the people who need them. The thoughts of others do not matter to me.
Sharing her story–something this mom of three does best-made immediate waves across the world, and countless women and mothers have been able to share their collective grief because of her decision to make her heartbreak and grief public. On her Twitter post, stories from women who suffered their own losses have poured in.
“Sometimes its because for 7 months I had this beautiful baby in my belly who lived and grew except for his lungs and I had to watch him die in my arms. Alone in the hospital with no support,” wrote one. “It took so much strength to share what you did and you will never know the full weight of it helping others but you can know that it 100% did. It is the worst club in the entire world to join and it shouldn’t also be the most secret,” shared another.
Joining others together in grief is another topic that Chrissy touched on, writing how difficult it is knowing that so many have been kind and gracious to her, while other mothers and parents will be forced to suffer in silence. “The worst part is knowing there are so many women that won’t get these quiet moments of joy from strangers,” she wrote. “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.”
As a mom who has gone through two pregnancy losses, Chrissy’s words touched me to my very core. I will never forget walking through the store after my miscarriages, wondering how the world couldn’t see the pain I was in. I remember thinking it felt so obvious, like I should have a “loss” sign attached to my forehead. It forever opened my eyes to the pain and grief and heartbreak that is hidden in those around us all the time, and I’m so grateful Chrissy shared that reminder.
She ended her essay noting that she penned it for herself, in order to have a way to return back to life, and explained that despite the loss of their little brother, Luna and Myles will forever know him and love.
“Jack will always be loved,” she wrote.”Explained to our kids as existing in the wind and trees and the butterflies they see.”
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