'Chrissy Teigen Has Just Lost A Child. Stop Telling Her How To Deal With Her Grief'
Words by Hattie Gladwell
This week, Chrissy Teigen announced on social media the devastating news that her unborn baby boy, Jack, had died.
The model and presenter had tweeted two days earlier about having a 'really scary morning' in hospital after discovering a huge blood clot. And in a heartbreaking Instagram update, the 34-year-old has since confirmed that doctors were unable to save him.
Revealing that she and her husband, John Legend, were in 'the kind of deep pain you only hear about', Chrissy then shared a series of gut-wrenching photos taken in the hospital. She holds her tiny, lifeless baby tight in one, while another shows her sat on her hospital bed crying.
You might expect such a heartbreaking ordeal to be met with respect, love and support - and for the most part, it has. However, there has also been a lot of criticism over the fact that Chrissy chose to share these photographs and the news on social media.
As well as people sickeningly using her experience to push pro-life agendas, the torrent of personal attacks and abuse is abhorrent.
I hope to never, ever have to experience what Chrissy is going through right now, and as I write this I hold my baby tight, thanking the world I didn't have to. But even as someone who hasn't been through this, her photos left me in tears. As they did with many women who have actually been in her position.
Not only does Chrissy not deserve this treatment at such a fragile and vulnerable time in her life - it is also flabbergasting to think that people want to tell her how to deal with her grief.
A parent has every right to express their pain in any way they feel is right for them, whether that's in private or documented on social media. Chrissy's photos are raw and real and powerful; they are honest and have sparked a conversation that is desperately needed to be had around suffering in silence.
One in four women experience a pregnancy loss, yet it's something that is so rarely talked about on social media. So many live with the view that these moments should be private - without realising the comforting, reassuring and validating effect posts and photos like Chrissy's can have on others who are coping with grief.
Twenty-four-year-old Rachel, from York, suffered a miscarriage last year. Like Chrissy, she shared her experience on social media, only to be met with a barrage of abuse.
After trying for a baby for two years, Rachel was overjoyed to learn she was pregnant at five weeks ; she says it was 'the best day of her life'.
But then she found out her baby had stopped growing and had passed away at her first scan.
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"I didn't stop shaking and crying for days, I just wanted to rewind time", she said.
She posted her scan picture on Twitter and received awful abuse from people who didn't even follow her, telling her she was 'attention seeking' and that it was 'disgusting'; that 'the baby was only a clump of cells'.
Rachel said: "I have the scan picture and you can clearly make out a baby. [The abuse] just made the whole process so awful on top of what I was already feeling."
After her ordeal, Rachel insists she would never post another miscarriage online; she had originally posted it to raise awareness, and was shocked and hurt by the awful responses.
She adds: "I felt completely deflated as it was and some people just added to the heartbreak of it all with their comments.
"It made me feel like how I felt wasn't valid. It was awful. I did it to raise awareness and felt like it was important for people to know that it's common and that it can happen to anyone. Chrissy is incredibly strong for doing so, and I think people have treated her appallingly."
Keeley Kemp, 30, from Great Yarmouth also received cruel comments for posting about her multiple miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies online.
But she found speaking out to be a cathartic experience, which helped her to realise that she was not alone - finding that so many people in her immediate circle had been affected in some way.
After each miscarriage, the first of which happened in 2014 and the last this year, she was left feeling 'guilty, ashamed and embarrassed.'
In 2018, for Baby Loss Awareness Week, Keely shared a blog post about her experiences - she didn't publish it for a few days as she was worried about how people would react; for the most part, she was pleasantly surprised.
She tells Tyla: "People I'd previously worked with, old school friends, extended family were all so kind or shared their experiences with me.
"Some people were critical and did have some comments that it was a private affair and maybe it was best not to share, but I tried my best to ignore those comments.
"I did also hear some people say I was 'attention seeking' and that 'nothing was private anymore', to which I wrote another blog post about talking and sharing and how it's helped me feel empowered.
"My whole experience has been awful. I felt relief [sharing my story] that people around me knew what I was going through and why I was finding certain events more difficult than others."
She adds: 'I feel it's so important for people to realise the pain that goes along with baby and pregnancy loss. The emotions are so raw. People experience grief differently, and Chrissy sharing her story and not allowing that to be anyone else's story to tell is important.
"Ownership of your grief is so important. She's incredibly brave."
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/ Chrissy Teigen
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