Chrissy Teigen has always been one to be open about her feelings, whether we like it or not. Last Wednesday, she and husband John Legend announced in an Instagram post that she has lost her pregnancy after being hospitalized for extreme bleeding. She expressed her raw emotions on Instagram with pictures in her hospital bed, mourning the death of her son Jack.
“We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before,” said Teigen in the same post. “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.”
Teigen’s story is just one of many, as since 2003, the stillbirth rate in the United States has remained at about 26,000 deaths per year. In 2018, about 21,000 infants died in the United States, with the top leading causes including preterm birth, low birth weight and maternal pregnancy complications.
Although miscarriages and stillborns are not very common, they are typically not headlining news. This is because miscarriages and stillborns are expected to be mourned quickly and quietly. The majority of women do not even tell many people about their pregnancy before the 12 week mark because of the risk for miscarriages and other pregnancy complications.
Other celebrities like Beyoncé and Hilaria Baldwin have been open about their miscarriages, but Teigen’s approach of showing images of her in the hospital bed demonstrates the authentic emotion of her experience. She is not showing a brave face and pretending to be okay; she is being real and intimate.
While many women would be hesitant to open up about their pregnancy complications, Teigen kept it real with her followers from the beginning. Teigen has documented her third pregnancy on social media, explaining her constant headaches and excessive bleeding leading to her hospitalization. Her posts may be considered a little too personal for Instagram, but this just demonstrates the surrounding stigma of discussing pregnancy complications.
Teigen has been accused of oversharing throughout the years involving taboo issues like breastfeeding. However, this is not a case of oversharing. This is a case of being honest and openly mourning, as any mother should be allowed to. While the photos may be graphic, people are just uncomfortable because we generally do not discuss miscarriages and stillborns and the traumatic experiences women go through after their loss.
Teigen has also been attacked on social media following her announcement not only for oversharing, but for her pro-choice views. Comments joke about the “irony” of the loss of her son and congratulate her “on the abortion.”
Being pro-choice does not mean only supporting abortion. Pro-choice means supporting women in any choice they make regarding their pregnancy, abortion or not. Teigen being pro-choice does not invalidate the loss of her son nor should it allow pro-life supporters to use his death to push their political agenda.
I know that this is an uncomfortable topic. This is supposed to be an uncomfortable conversation. Miscarriages and stillborns should no longer be silenced and forgotten. We need to start this conversation in order for change to occur and shattering the stigma surrounding miscarriages and stillborns requires brutal honesty. As long as we are scared to openly discuss miscarriages and stillborn deaths, there will be little effort to improve these numbers.
Teigen’s honesty should be admired and continue to encourage other women to be open about their experiences. Women should be allowed to share their painful experiences without the accusation that they are oversharing or being shamed for being upset. Just because the child was not born or not alive when born, that does not mean the loss means any less. Women like Teigen can grieve however they choose, even if it makes some people uncomfortable.