Chrissy Teigen’s Miscarriage Announcement Is Huge For Fighting Stigma
Chrissy Teigen recently announced on social media that she’d experienced a miscarriage with her third pregnancy, when she shared some intimate and devastating photos of herself and husband John Legend in the hospital after it happened.
Teigen sharing these photos with the public, has led to some really important conversations around miscarriage stigma – particularly how little it’s still talked about.
What Does It Mean To People Who Have Experienced Miscarriages When Celebrities Speak Out About Them?And What Are The Lessons That We Can Learn From A Story Like This?
Teigen announced her pregnancy in August by exposing her baby bump in John Legend’s video for his song Wild.
She’s always been really active on social media, so it wasn’t too surprising that she documented the progress of the pregnancy and the complications she was experiencing.
There’s been a huge reaction across Twitter and Instagram to the announcement of her and Legend’s loss.
Celebrity friends are posting supportive messages and there’s been a bit of a public outpouring of grief for the couple, particularly from people who have endured the same trauma.
Teigen isn’t the first celebrity to have shared a miscarriage experience, but her story in particular, seems to have opened up a lot of conversations about losing pregnancies online.
We spoke to Doctor Nicole Highet about it. She’s the founder and executive director of the Centre of Perinatal Excellence.
Doctor Nicole Highet: “Look, I think it’s fantastic when any celebrity or any person generally speaks openly about the emotional distress they are obviously experiencing around all of the different challenges that can come with having a baby.”
NH: “The fact that she’s articulated that so closely to the experience, has really given people the opportunity to see what impact it can have, which is not just brushing it off as, ‘oh well, it’s just not meant to be‘, which can unfortunately happen with miscarriage.”
Miscarriages Are Much More Common Than A Lot Of People Realise
Miscarriages are much more common than a lot of people realise. It’s estimated that about 1 in 8 pregnancies will end in one.
Despite that fact, they’re not commonly spoken about and there’s a huge amount of silence around the experience.
And that can feel incredibly invalidating for people who may be experiencing anger, sadness or even guilt around having a miscarriage.
Highet told me there are a few different reasons that we don’t talk about them.
For a start, the emotional impact of miscarrying can be quite severe and, understandably, it can take people time to adjust to what’s happened to them.
NH: “When you do find out you’re pregnant, there’s biological changes obviously, but there’s also psychological changes because you’re starting to prepare and visualise your life with a baby … So when you have a miscarriage suddenly it’s like, thump, that all stops and so it’s a big psychological adjustment.”
But Highet also pointed out that, as a society, we’re also just quite terrible at managing grief and this can be a particularly tricky form of it to navigate.
Teigen’s story has opened up an incredibly important conversation online about how people who have never experienced miscarriage can respond to it and be supportive.
Highet told me a lot of the solution lies in just acknowledging what’s happened and giving ongoing support.
NH: “Having gone through a miscarriage myself, I just remember that the thought of having to go back to the office and the questions and people being uncomfortable … I think it’s really important that we acknowledge what’s happened early and just let the person know that we’re there to support them in any way they might need.”
Highet also stressed to me that there’s a broad range of responses to miscarrying, but for people who continue to struggle, there are dedicated services and organisations who specialise in addressing the psychological impact of it.
Miscarriage is something that impacts a lot of people, but it’s an experience that’s still cloaked by so much silence.
Teigen’s story has sparked a really important conversation – not only about what it feels like to have that experience but also, how to educate people and reduce the stigma around that grief.