Chrissy Teigen (and any parent mourning their baby) gets to grieve however they want to. And for Teigen, a person who lives life out loud on the Internet, sharing her story was part of mourning, and she just shared more of it.
When Teigen and her husband John Legend lost their third child, Jack, about halfway through Teigen’s pregnancy, many internet commenters were shocked that Teigen chose to share photos of the event on Instagram. But in a powerful essay for Medium, Teigen made it clear that she doesn’t care what people think about those pictures. She posted them for herself and for mamas who’ve lived it.
“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. The thoughts of others do not matter to me.”
Teigen also explained that losing Jack was a heartbreak that started long before that day. But knowing didn’t make it easier.
“I was previously on bedrest for over a month, just trying to get the little dude to 28 weeks, a ‘safer’ zone for the fetus. My doctors diagnosed me with partial placenta abruption. I had always had placenta problems. I had to deliver Miles a month early because his stomach wasn’t getting enough food from my placenta. But this was my first abruption. We monitored it very closely, hoping for things to heal and stop.
“In bed, I bled and bled, lightly but all day, changing my own diapers every couple of hours when the blood got uncomfortable to lay in. I actually became an adult diaper expert for my own personal entertainment, truly appreciating the brands that went out of their way to not make me feel like an actual shitting baby. Some were blush colored, with drawn delicate flowers. I got to the point where I was actually like, ‘hell yeah, throw me the pink ones!’ — something I never thought I’d be excited for. But there we were.”
She says that after spending a couple of nights in a hospital bed, her doctor told her to say goodbye to Jack.
“He just wouldn’t survive this, and if it went on any longer, I might not either. We had tried bags and bags of blood transfusions, every single one going right through me like we hadn’t done anything at all. Late one night, I was told it would be time to let go in the morning. I cried a little at first, then went into full blown convulsions of snot and tears, my breath not able to catch up with my own incredibly deep sadness. Even as I write this now, I can feel the pain all over again. Oxygen was placed over my nose and mouth, and that was the first picture you saw. Utter and complete sadness.”
And she wanted the pictures. She wanted her loved ones to document this moment for her.
“I had asked my mom and John to take pictures, no matter how uncomfortable it was. I explained to a very hesitant John that I needed them, and that I did NOT want to have to ever ask. That he just had to do it. He hated it. I could tell. It didn’t make sense to him at the time. But I knew I needed to know of this moment forever, the same way I needed to remember us kissing at the end of the aisle, the same way I needed to remember our tears of joy after Luna and Miles. And I absolutely knew I needed to share this story.”
In her essay Teigen thanks everyone who reached out to her after her loss to share stories of their own or offer support without expecting a grieving mother to respond.
“I feel bad our grief was so public because I made the joy so public. I was excited to share our news with the world. Stories leading up to this had been chronicled for all. It’s hard to look at them now. I was so positive it would be okay. I feel bad that I made you all feel bad. I always will.”
Please don’t feel bad for feeling, Chrissy. We get it, we respect it and we’re grateful that you shared your story with the world.
The pictures mean so much to you, and so much to moms who know what your pain feels like. You’re getting through this and showing other women that they can, too.
Read Teigen’s full essay on Medium, here.