[Trigger warning: This personal essay includes mentions of pregnancy loss]

At what should’ve been a regular 9-week appointment for my second pregnancy, I heard the dreaded words no pregnant person wants to hear: “We can’t find the heartbeat anymore.”

I had a feeling this pregnancy was not going to end with the result I wanted, and yet hearing those words sucked the air out of my lungs and left me numb and disoriented in that cold doctor’s room. My body hadn’t noticed the baby wasn’t with us anymore, so I was given the choice of a D&C.

Up until that moment, we had been documenting the pregnancy with photos and videos, which we were waiting to share with our family and friends. We had done the same with my first pregnancy and we cherished those mementos so much—we wanted to give this baby the same.

The day after my son’s first birthday, we drove to the hospital to have the D&C surgery. And just like I had done mere days prior, I chose to document my grief and the journey of losing this very wanted pregnancy. My husband took photos of me getting prepped, while also not letting go of my hand.

I went into the OR and when it was over and I was reunited with my husband, he took a photo of me, still groggy from the anesthesia, to let my parents know I was out and recovering. My eyes still puffy from crying before going under, but also with a slight grin on my face.

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I posted that photo on my Instagram—the announcement of the pregnancy that was and then wasn’t anymore. I wanted to normalize pregnancy loss, because it’s so common, yet still feels taboo to talk about. I wanted to show how you can be utterly heartbroken and at the same time relieved that, what felt like a nightmare, was over. A total and complete contradiction that only someone who’s lost a growing baby can understand.

Sadly, Chrissy Teigen joined the club no one wants to be a part of, after losing her baby Jack. She has been open about her struggles with this pregnancy; to add insult to injury, she now finds herself being criticized for sharing raw photos of her grief after her loss. That criticism hit a nerve for me. How dare anyone tell someone else how to grieve?

But also more importantly, we need to normalize pregnancy loss and talk about it more openly. It happens to one in four women. Today starts Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. It happens every single day to people like Teigen and to people like me.

We didn’t know the sex of our second baby, but we had been calling them Ramona because it just felt right. We will never know why we lost Ramona, and that angered me as I tried to process the pain (both physical and emotional) I was going through.

I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason—maybe my reason to lose Ramona was to be able to share my grief and, by doing so, help others feel seen. I received so much support and so many shared their experiences with me.

I knew my pregnancy announcement would’ve been celebrated, but I didn’t expect my pregnancy loss announcement to make me feel loved and less alone.

So I hug Chrissy from afar and I thank her for being so honest and transparent. I know so many of us feel seen, and we also feel her pain.

This story was originally published in October 2020. It has been updated.