Chrissy Teigen’s recent announcement that she’d suffered a second-trimester pregnancy loss shocked her fans, not just because the news was devastating but also because of the heartbreaking photographs and caption she shared to social media.
The model, who was expecting her third child with singer John Legend, had been giving her 32 million Instagram followers regular updates about her complicated pregnancy, including details of her recent hospitalization and needing two blood transfusions.
And then, on Wednesday night, she posted a series of black-and-white images that laid bare the pain of her loss and the physically taxing process of childbirth, along with a note to the “little guy” she and Legend named Jack.
“To our Jack – I’m so sorry that the first few moments of your life were met with so many complications, that we couldn’t give you the home you needed to survive,” she wrote. “We will always love you.”
The post prompted an avalanche of support, with more than 10 million people “liking” it and thousands leaving comments. And despite the fact that some questioned Teigen’s rationale for opening up about the experience, experts told “Good Morning America” that her bravery could help remove some of the stigma associated with pregnancy loss.
Why women typically don’t discuss pregnancy loss
Pregnancy loss is disturbingly common in the United States, though it remains a taboo topic of conversation for many. Typically, medical professionals use the term “miscarriage” when referring to a loss before 20 weeks gestation, while “stillbirth” is used to describe a loss at 20 weeks or later. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that at least 10% of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, though that number is likely higher because many women miscarry before they’ve confirmed they’re expecting. Stillbirth is considered by ACOG to be “one of the most common adverse pregnancy outcomes,” affecting 1 in 160 deliveries in the United States every year, or about 23,600 babies.
Ivy Margulies, a Los Angeles-based a clinical psychologist who specializes in pregnancy and infant loss, told “Good Morning America” the main reason many women don’t discuss their losses is because they feel guilty about them.
“They feel like they failed, their body failed and their body didn’t protect their baby — it didn’t do what it was supposed to do,” she said. “They feel culpable and like it’s their fault. It’s so emotionally complicated.”
Most of the time, no one is to blame. ACOG reports that 50% of miscarriages are due to a chromosomal abnormality, while “a significant portion” of stillbirths remain unexplained.
“It is very rare that anyone is at fault for a pregnancy loss. It is almost never the fault of the mom,” said Dr. Elizabeth Langen, a practicing OBGYN and clinical associate professor at the University of Michigan. “Women often ask about what they ate or how much they did or did not exercise and if that made a difference. As much as we want everyone to be as healthy as possible, these decisions