Chrissy Teigen Battles the Heartbreak of Loss After Stillborn Pregnancy


Chrissy Teigen and John Legend recently opened up about their lost pregnancy. (Courtesy of Facebook)

Kat Timofeyev, Columnist

 Six days ago, Chrissy Teigen experienced an excruciating loss. She posted on social media that her son Jack was stillborn. Accompanying a series of heartbreaking photos, Teigen wrote: “We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before.”

Tragically, Teigen is not alone in her suffering. Far too many experience the devastation of stillbirth and the psychological pain that ensues: 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States every year. Many mourning parents face anxiety, depression and PTSD that are most intense in the first few months post-loss but can last for many years.

While the physical health of a mother is the central focus of most physicians, the mental health challenges following the loss of a child must also be a fundamental concern. There is a wretched silence surrounding stillborn pregnancies and infant loss that does not allow women the time or space to talk about their feelings, creating an atmosphere in which women are expected to grieve alone and move on. Although more health organizations have recently been employing providers to screen mothers for symptoms of depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges, it is limited to just weeks after the loss. In reality, these symptoms can persist for months and even years in both mothers and fathers.

Mental health should be included in treatment after a loss, and fortunately, there is a lot of professional help available. Some mothers have expressed that speaking to a therapist who has a background in pregnancy and child loss is beneficial. Others also find value in attending a support group for mothers who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. Especially in the era of isolation we are currently in, it is important to know that these resources are available online as well. 

While Teigen expressed thanks for the positive energy, thoughts and prayers she and her family have received, there was also a slew of deplorable criticism. Instead of admiring her bravery in sharing her pain and her post’s effect in dismantling the taboo surrounding the loss of a pregnancy, critics abused her for not keeping this private and went so far as to question her handling of the pregnancy.

These comments are beyond heinous. These critics could have kept their mouths shut and kept scrolling, but instead, they decided to attack a bereaved mother. To twist another knife into a bleeding heart of a woman who is immeasurably grieving is unforgivable, disgraceful and absolutely unacceptable. 

Further, these types of comments only reinforce the stigma surrounding loss that must be broken. We must shatter the taboo as mothers cannot and should not feel as though they must minimize their feelings. No individual has the right to criticize Teigen for how she is coping with this tragedy for any reason, whether that be an inability to understand those who share their struggles publicly or a manifestation of a deeply held stigma that forces grieving parents to suffer in silence. The critics ought to learn some kindness. There is no place for shaming anyone who is grieving and the way they do it. If anything, Teigen’s posts may have helped heartbroken parents through similar agony.

We can only hope that Teigen and her family are receiving all the care they need. As Teigen ends her post, she writes, “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.” In a separate post, Teigen’s mother used a hashtag written in Thai that translates as “to happiness.” May we all wish happiness upon them, and upon every family, as they work to get through these dark days.