In a poignant essay, Chrissy Teigen has shared her thoughts on her recent pregnancy loss, and it’s a must-read for all parents, most especially for those who have also struggled with pregnancy loss. The striking account of her coming-to-terms with the difficult loss of Jack, who would have been Teigen and husband John Legend’s third child, shines in its clarity and visceral verve. The piece also serves as an important reminder to the critics of Teigen’s bereavement photos that the photos were her decision and her way of memorializing Jack.
Teigen wrote on Medium about the tragic realization that 20-week-old Jack wouldn’t survive and that her own life could potentially be in danger if she didn’t deliver due to placental abruption, “After a couple nights at the hospital, my doctor told me exactly what I knew was coming — it was time to say goodbye. He just wouldn’t survive this, and if it went on any longer, I might not either.” She made the decision to document the day that she and Legend would have to finally say goodbye: “I had asked my mom and John to take pictures, no matter how uncomfortable it was,” because, she added, “I knew I needed to know of this moment forever.”
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I didn’t know how to come back to real life so I wrote this piece for Medium with hopes that I can somehow move on but as soon as I posted it, tears flew out because it felt so….final. I don’t want to ever not remember jack. . . Thank you to everyone who has been so kind. Thank you to the incredible doctors who tried so hard to make our third life a reality. Thank you to my friends and family and our entire household for taking care of me through all the adult diaper changes, bed rest and random hugs. Thank you John for being my best friend and love of my life. A lot of people think of the woman in times like this but I will never forget that john also suffered through these past months, while doing everything he could to take care of me. I am surrounded, in a human therapy blanket of love. I am grateful and healing and feel so incredibly lucky to witness such love.
For those who publicly criticized the bereavement photos, Teigen underscores that she’s not particularly concerned with what other people think: “I cannot express how little I care that you hate the photos. How little I care that it’s something you wouldn’t have done. I lived it, I chose to do it, and more than anything, these photos aren’t for anyone but the people who have lived this or are curious enough to wonder what something like this is like. These photos are only for the people who need them.”
Amid her grief and the weeks since losing Jack, Teigen writes that even though there’s pain, “the moments of kindness have been nothing short of beautiful. I went to a store where the checkout lady quietly added flowers to my cart. 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.”
It’s touching to hear about the kind words she’s received and how sharing the photos may have helped other families that have also struggled with child loss. And ultimately, Teigen’s piece is a deeply personal and masterful account of a loss that’s not talked about often enough. It is a blessing to have read it.