You may have seen recently that model and author Chrissy Teigen bravely shared the devastating loss of her baby, Jack, in her 20th week of pregnancy. In her painful and hopeful post on Medium, she writes about the experience of having to deliver a baby who would not survive, and the healing power of sharing so much grief:
I feel bad our grief was so public because I made the joy so public….
Sometimes people will approach me with a note. The worst part is knowing there are so many women that won’t get these quiet moments of joy from strangers. 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.
Meghan Markle (officially Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex) became another woman to endure pregnancy loss in a highly public spotlight. She described her process of grieving a personally devastating loss with the world in the New York Times:
Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realized that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, “Are you OK?”
Are we? This year has brought so many of us to our breaking points. Loss and pain have plagued every one of us in 2020, in moments both fraught and debilitating.
Sharing trauma and grief helps heal them
Why am I highlighting the way these women shared their trauma? Because I am grateful to these women. They gave a gift to the world, by talking openly about pregnancy and baby loss, as well as emotional pain and grief in general. Their authenticity and vulnerability lets people know it’s okay to feel pain, share it and get help for it
Chrissy Tiegen opened up so other people can know that life, as beautiful as it may be, can also be heartbreaking. Meghan Markle urges us to commit to asking others: “Are you OK?”
These women spoke the unspeakable. Most people do not talk about miscarriage or baby loss; it’s something families usually keep quiet and hidden like a secret. It’s an event that even stirs shame for some, even though it happens through nobody’s fault.
Losing a pregnancy—a baby—is hard! Losing someone you love is hard, even if you have not yet seen that person come into the world. Society brings food and sends cards when you lose someone who has lived outside the womb—yet what do we do when someone loses a baby not yet born?
Loss deserves kindness
It can be immensely hard to share your pain, AND:
- It’s what you deserve! You deserve to have others hold you and your pain, to not be alone on your journey. To have your pain witnessed. It will help in healing.
- Sharing your loss is generous. It gives others permission to share their pain, even if they are scared. Emotional pain happens – for everyone, at some point in our lives.
- Being open about loss gives relief to others to know they are not alone. It helps them heal.
When famous people take the stigma out of mental health issues or emotional pain, people listen.
Pain and loss aren’t exclusive to Chrissy Teigen. Or to Meghan Markle. Or to any of us. We all experience pain and grief.
We may not have an audience of 33 million Instagram followers. Even so, if your authenticity can help even one person feel safe or able to share their grief, it’s worth it beyond measure. You can be that one person to share without secrecy or shame. It heals – For you. For them. For all of us. It is such a gift to share that it is ok to be human!
Thank you, Chrissy and Meghan. And thank you, everyone, who is brave enough to share pain and grief so that others may do so as well. This openness fosters unity, compassion, healing and emotional wellbeing—individually and universally.
We hope you find the healing and care you deserve!
We are deeply sorry for your loss by RTZ Hope
Fathers Grieve Too by RTZ Hope
Postpartum Support International: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group
Mom & Mind (podcast)
Men & Miscarriage by Latisha O’Connor, MSW
Option B: Facing adversity, building resilience, and finding joy, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
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