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Why Chrissy Teigen’s Pregnancy Loss Photos Are Important — And Common

Bereavement photos date back to the Victorian era.

Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

In late September, Chrissy Teigen revealed that she and her husband, John Legend, had gone through pregnancy loss, just a month after she announced that they were expecting a third baby. When Teigen announced her pregnancy in mid-August, she revealed that it was the first baby they had ever conceived naturally — and that conceiving naturally had led her to feel like the pregnancy was more fragile than one done by IVF. As the pregnancy progressed over the next month, Teigen, in her trademark radical honesty, was open about the complications that the couple was going through. She was put on bedrest and eventually hospitalized for bleeding.

It was in that hospital that she and Legend lost the pregnancy, the baby of which they had already given a name, Jack. But not only did Teigen immediately open up about the pregnancy loss — she also did something even more radical, by posting the photos of she and Legend in the hospital, going through the medical process of trying to save the pregnancy and eventually holding their son in their arms. These photos, it turns out, are extremely common — but it’s the first time that a celebrity has publicly shared them. 

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We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before. 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. . . We never decide on our babies’ names until the last possible moment after they’re born, just before we leave the hospital.  But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack.  So he will always be Jack to us.  Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever. . . 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.  We will always love you. . . Thank you to everyone who has been sending us positive energy, thoughts and prayers.  We feel all of your love and truly appreciate you. . . We are so grateful for the life we have, for our wonderful babies Luna and Miles, for all the amazing things we’ve been able to experience.  But everyday can’t be full of sunshine.  On this darkest of days, we will grieve, we will cry our eyes out. But we will hug and love each other harder and get through it.

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In fact, there are entire photography organizations that are volunteer based that help parents deal with the grief of losing a pregnancy or going through a stillbirth. One photography, Dawn McCormick, who spoke to Slate, said that the photos can help the parents process their grief. “These are the only pictures these people will ever have of that child,” she says. Remembrance, or bereavement photography, as it’s often referred to, has a long history, dating back to the Victorian era. For the people who work in the space, the photos aren’t about remembering death, but about remembering how real the experience was. 

While it’s unknown if Teigen used a bereavement photographer through an organization or if someone in the hospital room snapped the pictures candidly, they’re an important reminder of what Teigen went through and will serve the family as they navigate the grief of losing a pregnancy. And for the 1 in 360 people who have gone through stillbirth or the nearly 25 percent of people who have been through miscarriage, they’ll also serve as a reminder that they are not alone, and that these tragic events are very common.