Chrissy Teigen's Honest Account of Her Pregnancy Loss Validates My Own Journey — and So Many Others'

Teigen's decision to share her loss publicly is far from just an Instagram post — it's a step toward destigmatizing and normalizing the heartbreak of losing a pregnancy.

When moms across the world opened Instagram on Thursday morning, they likely saw celebrity Chrissy Teigen's post of her kneeling by her bed crying and praying, her husband John Legend by her side (a post that now has more than 11 million likes as an outpouring of support). They'd lost their third child halfway through the pregnancy, and the devastation on her face resonated with mothers everywhere who've lost a baby. She was them, and she was me.

Through her post, Teigen continued a revolutionary trend that's surfaced in the past few years, sharing her story to break the silence and stigma of miscarriage and stillbirth, coincidentally as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month (in October) began. This month is meant to honor the more than one million pregnancies every year that end in miscarriage or stillbirth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Organizations such as Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep host events in October to unite and support those who have endured pregnancy or infant loss. When Teigen posted the picture, she gave voice to the women now, and for centuries past, who felt they had to keep their secret silent and suffered through the grieving process alone.

I personally struggled to look at the pictures, having lost a pregnancy (my fourth, following three successful births) in January at 11 weeks. I'd had a "missed miscarriage" and had spent weeks thinking the baby was fine, joyfully announcing my pregnancy through the holiday season only to find out the baby had stopped growing weeks earlier, silently, unceremoniously. Doctors classify miscarriages as losses occurring before the 20th week of pregnancy, and stillbirth as those happening after that point, according to the CDC — but it's hard to describe the pain of losing a baby at any stage of pregnancy.

I knew I wanted to contribute to women's ability to speak freely about this in the future and to encourage women who come after me in this terribly painful club — and my best option to do so was to publicly discuss my miscarriage as I would a pregnancy. Like Teigan, I'd do my part to make it feel as normal as it actually is: as many as half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage according to March of Dimes. I had no idea the cathartic and educational effect just a Twitter post surrounding my miscarriage would have. As a part-time high school teacher, I hesitated to share with my students the truth around my absence during recovery. Finally, instead of lying about a mysterious health procedure, I posted: "What do you do when you have a miscarriage and miss a week? Tell your students the truth for their future generation of women who will share their own struggles openly. Thanks to all of you for the food, love, gift cards, and conversation."

The post led to teen students, both boys and girls, asking their mothers about miscarriage. The at-home dinner conversations students shared with me after I opened up about this helped confirm I'd done the right thing. One student told me "my mom has had three miscarriages. I didn't even know that was a thing." We'll have "the talk" about sex with our children, but as a society, we can't bring ourselves to open up about pregnancy loss?

Truthfully, it's not all that surprising; there's a long and complicated history of hiding infertility and miscarriage with secrecy, and it's still working against us. (

Historically, infertile women were seen as broken. Miscarriages were assumed to be the mother's fault, as it was their responsibility, of course, to do the right things to ensure a safe pregnancy. This attitude is, undoubtedly, residual from the countless eras when a woman's sole purpose in life was to bear children, and a failure to do so was akin to personal failure rather than an unavoidable fact of life. Even the term miscarriage implies a "failure on the part of the women for not carrying to term," writes colonial historian Felicity Jensz in her research study Miscarriage and Coping in the Mid-Nineteenth Century. Miscarriages have also been, and are still referred to as "spontaneous abortions," the term itself carrying confusing implications against a loaded political atmosphere, from Roe v. Wade to present — even when it simply refers to the natural loss of pregnancy.

Erika Munch, M.D., reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist

It can be really healing to know others have experienced similar loss...whether its a celebrity or a bridesmaid or close family member talking about their real-world experience, it helps others feel less alone.

— Erika Munch, M.D., reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist

A lack of socially acceptable grieving processes for families who have lost a pregnancy contributes to confusion on how to discuss and process the loss, writes Jensz in her study. Instead, mothers go home empty-handed to grieve and process an immense loss, often without any follow-up care, guidance around the healing process, or physical item to remember the baby. People also tend to hide things that are tough to deal with and talk about: "One reason for the ongoing silence about miscarriages is the associated negative emotions," reports Jensz. "Common contemporary grief reactions to miscarriage include shock, numbness, sadness, confusion, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, guilt, anger, self‐deprecation, and loneliness." Yes, it's awful. And it's even more awful if you feel like it's only happened to you.

Erika Munch, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at Texas Fertility Center, says that her own patients who have been through a miscarriage and "had the bravery to share with a friend or close confidante" have been met with the reassuring news that they aren't the only one. "They've found family histories they didn't know about and friends in similar situations because everyone kept everything so hush-hush," she says. "Things come out of the woodwork, and it can be really healing to know others have experienced similar loss." (

Teigen isn't the first influencer or public figure to openly address her journey through pregnancy loss. She joins a brave movement of women doing so in hopes that the next woman who loses a baby will feel more comfortable texting her group of friends, posting on social media, or announcing her difficult news into an embracing society. Psychologist Jessica Zucker, Ph.D., began her I Had a Miscarriage social movement after a late loss herself. Now, her posts about miscarriage, grief, and mental health reach almost 60,000 Instagram followers. When I told my book-loving friends about my miscarriage, I had a copy of Becoming by Michelle Obama in my hands within 24 hours, including a chapter in which she opens up about miscarriage and IVF. In an Instagram post in 2019, James Van Der Beek publicly shared the news of his wife's miscarriage, writing, "there needs to be zero shame around it, or around giving yourself the time and space to grieve. We decided to put ourselves out there - not knowing what we'd find - in an effort to chip away at any senseless stigma around this experience and to encourage people who might be going through it to open themselves up to love & support from friends and family when they need it most." (This list is far from complete: For example, Beyoncé, gymnast Shawn Johnson, and Whitney Port have spoken out about their experiences with loss as well.) Unfortunately, not every response has been positive. For example, critics and conspiracy theorists have been posting nasty messages implying Teigen was just further promoting her brand, or even that she's part of a child-trafficking ring. This is just further evidence that women aren't always met with support when sharing their toughest moments — and, on occasion, can be the victim of shaming or can be torn down even further as a result.

When I picture my great grandmothers, grandmothers, and aunts going through their miscarriages silently in their bathrooms, I consider my position to share my pain with friends, family, and social media a privilege. They put on an extra-large pad and went back to work, at home or outside the house, without telling most people, sometimes even their spouses. Teigen and other public influencers have made it known that this is common and okay. And "regular" women like myself, opening up by choice despite the naysayers, creates an environment where our daughters and granddaughters will be able to share such intense suffering in a safe and compassionate community of helpers, with a group of women who can truly understand and empathize. But until the naysayers are drowned out by voices of love and support, there's still work to be done.

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