Last week, author, model, and mom, Chrissy Teigen, shared an intimate post on her Instagram, sharing the heartbreaking news of her late-stage miscarriage. Just seven weeks ago, she announced she was pregnant with her third child with hubby John Legend via a romantic music video. Throughout her candid social media profiles, Teigen has been open about all sorts of controversial topics—unreasonable standards of beauty, politics, eating disorders, and the list goes on. While it’s not surprising Teigen would also be brave enough to detail this incredibly personal experience, she has provided a stage for other women to open up about their losses. It’s true Teigen did receive some negative commentary and backlash for her black-and-white, sobering post, but more so, she has become a beacon for those women who have endured miscarriages, allowing them to speak up and work through the pain.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, but it should be a year-round discussion. Especially since 10 to 20 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to The Mayo Clinic. Here, we spoke with 12 incredibly courageous women who described their own losses, and how Teigen’s post can change the conversation around this common occurrence, forever.
“Any loss, at any stage, is full of great sadness.”
Melissa* miscarried her first pregnancy, and then had another pregnancy loss between her two children. Up until now, she hasn’t discussed either of these traumas, but seeing Teigen’s post gave her the strength to share her story. No matter how a woman decides to grieve—in the public eye or out of it—Melissa is happy more women are talking about this common, sad experience.
Most of the time, she thinks women are nervous about discussing their miscarriages because they believe they compare them to others. Melissa’s mother had to deliver a stillborn baby, an unimaginable horror. Their experiences are different, with neither more painful than the other. As she puts it: Any loss at any stage is full of great sadness.
Because Melissa’s insurance didn’t cover a D&C for her second miscarriage, she had to wait a month to miscarry naturally, all the while knowing it would happen. Eventually, she miscarried in a public restroom. “During my second miscarriage, I told a lot of friends and family I was pregnant, and It was painful to have to keep retelling that I miscarried. Even months later, some friends asked if the baby was kicking. I think that is why I was more private about the losses: to have to explain to everyone that hadn’t gotten the memo sucked,” she shared.
Melissa says there are plenty of phrases people told her that she would never repeat for those who recently gone through a miscarriage. These include, ‘God must have taken the baby from you because something was wrong,’ ‘Another angel in heaven,’ and ‘At least you weren’t further along.’ Instead, she would simply say: ‘I am so incredibly sorry. And I am here with you.’
“These are our babies, and they need to be recognized and celebrated.”
After having three healthy pregnancies, Alexandria Mooney became pregnant with a fourth baby. Right from the beginning, something felt different, but she could never put her finger on it. At their 19-week anatomy scan, some fatal issues were discovered, and three weeks later, their son, whom they named Clark, passed. Because she was 22 weeks along, Mooney had to deliver him via c-section. While 371 days later, she gave birth to their rainbow, baby, Teddy, Clark’s loss was—and is —felt in their family.
When Mooney saw Teigen’s post, she was instantly transported back to October 2018, and all of the pain came flooding back to her. Unlike some of the naysayers, Mooney said the post wasn’t triggering, but rather, a reminder of their sweet boy and the impact he made in the short time they had with him. “Not a day—or heck, an hour it seems—goes by that I don’t think of our son, and I’d argue that most loss parents feel the same way. So seeing posts like that don’t trigger us, because we live with our loss every second of every day,” she continues. “Instead, they seemingly unite us in this awful, awful club we are a part of. And they bond us together that we will forever talk about and celebrate our babies gone too soon.”
While pregnancy and infant loss have long been taboo topics that families don’t document, Mooney hopes society has realized that’s not the way to approach grieving. “These are our babies—and they need to be recognized and celebrated in their lives, however short they may have been,” she explains. “It is not something that needs to have a hidden stigma attached, but more so something that truly should be normalized and absolutely okay to be shared and talked about.”
Mooney and her husband decided to document Clark’s time on earth, and it’s a recommendation she gives to all parents in this unfortunate situation. “You’ll never, ever regret having pictures of your baby. Even if you don’t look at them for weeks or months or years, you’ll have them when you’re ready. Make as many memories as you can, keep as many keepsakes as you can,” she shares. “Celebrate your baby however you see fit; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This is your child, and no one else gets to tell you how you grieve him. Whatever decisions you are making, just know this: they are the right ones.”
“It’s not something you ‘just get over.’”
After Bethany* delivered a healthy baby, she experienced a miscarriage at five weeks. Then, she was diagnosed with cancer, and she was told she had a 7 percent chance of being able to grow her family. However, she did become pregnant and miscarried at 12 weeks. Happily, though, she gave birth to another child. Since she couldn’t bear the thought of any additional miscarriages, she had her tubes tied, and now says she is blessed with two angel babies and two babies on earth.
When she saw Teigen’s photo with husband John Legend, it stopped Bethany in her tracks. All of her memories flooded, and her heart broke for them since she knows the pain all too well. “Each part of Chrissy’s statement shows the different emotions you experience: the joy of finding out you’re pregnant. Getting excited to hold your child, giving them a name. Apologies to your child because you feel like you did all you could to save them, and you feel like it’s your fault,” she shares. “The saddest part is not having them here to experience what your other children have got to experience.”
Bethany thinks it’s vital for women to talk about pregnancy loss because it’s a way to heal. As she puts it, anyone who has endured a miscarriage will quickly tell you it’s not something ‘you just get over.’
“No matter how far out you are after a loss, you will remember due dates. The miscarriage dates. You will remember when they would have started school. You will always wonder what their personality would have been like,” Bethanny continues. “Women need to know it’s okay! It’s okay to open up in your time when you are comfortable. It’s okay to experience every emotion and not be sorry or apologize for it. It’s okay to wait to try again, or even not at all.”
Most importantly, though, she hopes everyone—not just women—will discuss pregnancy loss. Bethany says this will help others understand what it’s like and know the right way to approach the topic without being hurtful. No one wants to be told they can ‘try again’—they just want to know they’re not alone.
“It feels impossible to let go when you never got to know who you’re letting go of.”
Nicki C.*’s first pregnancy wasn’t planned and was lost. The second pregnancy was, and it happened on their first try. For that reason, she didn’t expect to struggle when they decided to have another baby. So, when it took a year to conceive, she and her husband were overjoyed to discover they were pregnant two weeks in. She learned she had a blood-clotting disorder, which would make it hard for her to maintain a pregnancy, but she was terrified of taking blood thinners in case she lost the child. Unfortunately, she miscarried at six weeks, naming their loss baby Nova. Today, she does have two healthy kids, and while they would love another, they aren’t sure if it’s in the cards for her family.
Though Nicki isn’t a fan of Teigen, she felt a deep ache in her core when she learned what happened because no one should ever have to feel that kind of loss. “Loss isn’t a strong enough word for this, but I don’t know what else to call it,” she continues. “They lost the joy of pregnancy, the mystery of meeting their little person. They lost the miracle of hearing the first cry. They will leave the hospital without a baby in a car seat. Her milk will come in, and she will have to express it to make it stop. There is a room ready for a baby called Jack that will never be slept in. Jack was a person who was loved and lost and never even known. It feels impossible to let go when you never got to know who you’re letting go of.”
When they lost Nova, Nicki and her husband hadn’t told anyone beyond their immediate family. But people always ask about having another baby, so Nicki started referring to her blood clotting disorder, so it would make them as uncomfortable as she was. One day, something set her off after miscarrying. She couldn’t take any time off at the Children’s Hospital, where she worked following the ordeal, and she snuck into an empty room to cry. However, it wasn’t empty, and her friend Erin was feeding a baby. Nicki told her about the miscarriage, and her pal revealed she had a pregnancy loss, too.
“I told her that we were only six weeks in, and I didn’t think that I deserved to mourn that, because I had named her before I even knew her. I’d been too optimistic. I’d jinxed my pregnancy. I didn’t deserve the baby somehow, and I didn’t deserve to grieve,” she continues. “She told me I was wrong, and we talked about our losses together. It was something I will never forget because she gave me something like peace. I wouldn’t have just told her about my miscarriage, but it made things a little bit easier because I did. That is why we need to talk about it. I wasn’t alone anymore, and I was safe with her.”
“We should teach women about pregnancy loss just like we do sexual education.”
Hakima* was five weeks along earlier this year when she experienced a chemical pregnancy that resulted in a miscarriage. This is when an embryo implants in your uterus, but it never takes hold, and many women don’t even realize they were pregnant. Hakima did know—and was devastated to lose her child. The experience was so stressful that she isn’t mentally ready to try again because she’s too afraid her body will betray her. For now, she’s giving herself two years before starting the path to conception again.
Considering how common miscarriages are—one in four women will experience them in their lifetime—Hakima wishes it was better communicated. Much like sexual education, information around pregnancy and infant loss should be readily available and communicated. Because of that, she was grateful to Teigen’s post. “I can only feel the same pain I felt when I lost my baby. Pain, pain, pain. I think it is very good that she shared with the world because pregnancy loss is still taboo—I don’t know why,” she continues. “It is important that the world become aware of that.”
“It’s not a tribe I wanted, but one I’m now proud to be part of.”
Jenn Barlow and her husband struggled for two years before becoming pregnant with their child. So when they read a positive test without tests, hormones, treatments or doctor intervention, they were relieved. However, it was shortlived, since Barlow experienced a miscarriage at 10 weeks. While they were able to conceive again, the devastation of losing a pregnancy has stuck with Barlow. Not only is miscarriage painful, but infertility is another reproductive issue that’s rarely talked about, too. “Anyone who has ever tried to get pregnant and struggled with infertility takes a pregnancy test monthly, and it’s like a thousand little deaths month after month when the test is negative,” she shares.
Though Chrissy and John had named their little one and were further along than Barlow was with her loss, she says everyone starts planning for the future and dreaming about what could be. And their dream was taken from them. “I cried at my desk when I read her post and the words of support in the comments. Because we didn’t tell anyone of our loss, my husband and I grieved in silence—at a family reunion, no less. Chrissy (and John) were so brave to share the darkest day and to be transparent when words simply can’t suffice,” she continues.
Barlow hopes heightened awareness will help others cope. All too often, she says, the woman blames herself for the loss, condemning herself to be not ‘fully woman’, when in reality, it wasn’t her fault.
Sadly, it’s natural for a woman to lose a pregnancy. The statistic is 1 in 4, with 1 in 10 suffering from infertility. The same week that Chrissy and John lost their little one, one of my friends lost her baby at 25 weeks. Both of my sisters-in-law have suffered multiple losses. Many of my friends have. And yet, we hide, ashamed of our ability to be “fully woman.” By talking about it and normalizing it, we can better cope and not feel hopeless and “less than.”
“As women, we know our babies from the moment they’re conceived: our body begins preparing for them before we even know those tiny humans exist. A loss at any stage is devastating,” she continues. “If you’ve suffered a loss, please know that you’re not alone. It’s not a tribe I would willingly choose to be a part of, but it’s one that I’m proud to be a part of. We are strong.”
“Women need to be there to help each other out of that pit, to pull them up, and to take care of one another.”
At the age of 25, Catherine* had been trying to conceive with her husband for nine months—and finally, she saw a positive pregnancy test. Unfortunately, after having blood work drawn twice, showing her HCG levels declining, she lost the baby a little past seven weeks. Catherine found out on her 26th birthday and then was pregnant again two months later. Devastatingly, she lost that baby as well, at the same week milestone. “The excitement, joy, and future dreaming had all been there both times only to be ripped away by the constant worry of loss,” she described of the period of time.
It took Catherine 15 months to become—and stay—pregnant with their son. And their silver lining was a surprise second pregnancy, a daughter, six months later. They weren’t trying, and she was exclusively breastfeeding, and she had even been on the mini birth control pill. While she was terrified, she carried to term. Even with two healthy, happy kiddos, Catherine ached for Teigen when she scrolled past her post, which brought her back to a ‘black pit of grief’ that feels like it will never end. With more attention and outcry for miscarriage, she hopes women will step up and be there for one another. “Women need to know how common it is. It is normal sadly. They need not to feel alone,” she continues. “They need to be there to help each other out of that pit, to pull them up, take care of one another, and carry them on through motherhood hopefully one day.”
“You are certainly not alone, and it’s not your fault.”
When K.S.* was around 20 weeks pregnant, she had two appointments in the same week—one on Monday for an ultrasound and a routine check-up on Friday. On Monday, all was well but on Friday, the doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat. In that single moment, K.S. knew she had lost the baby, but they sent her in for another ultrasound to confirm. A few hours later, she had to be induced and go into delivery for a stillborn child. Two years later, she had a miscarriage at eight weeks—and then another at nine weeks.
She never wanted children, but her partner did, and she was willing to try for him. Following her third loss, she saw an infertility specialist diagnosed with RPL, or recurrent pregnancy loss. With this information, they decided to grow their family by eight legs, and now they have two beautiful dog children. While K.S. doesn’t follow Teigen on Instagram, a friend sent her the post, and when she clicked on the post, she felt it her gut. She describes the post as powerful and says it’s hard enough to tell friends, family, much less the entire world. “For the average person, you take time to grieve, and eventually, you can move on. I cringe when I think about how many times she’s going to have to retell her story, how many times it up in an interview on camera,” she continues. “I am so sad for her and her family, but at the same time grateful and hopeful that their story will inspire others to share theirs as well.”
While talking about it makes people uncomfortable, putting it out in the open can help those involved cope, K.S. says. It allows women to know they aren’t alone, and it’s not their fault. “So many women carry around guilt, fear, and even shame and whether they choose to share their story or not, there are a lot of support groups, not to mention other women that have gone through the same thing,” she continues. “Talking about it can be one of the hardest things of your life, but slowly, and you can piece your heart back together.”
“Driving home after surgery without a baby is so raw. It feels like it can’t be real.”
Jordan* had a healthy baby in 2012, then lost one at seven weeks in 2018, and then two in 2019, one at six weeks and another at 13 weeks. While all were difficult to endure, she says the last was the most difficult. Her marriage ended following this loss, and she currently doesn’t have any other children.
Jordan first saw Teigen’s tweet that said, “Driving home from the hospital with no baby. How can this be real?” The message humbled her and gave her inspiration to discuss her own losses. “Nothing about my experience felt real—especially since, like Chrissy, I already have a healthy son. I was planning to announce my pregnancy the weekend after the loss,” she continues. “After so many weeks, you’ve already fallen in love with the child, you’ve thought about which room they will sleep in and if you’ll need a bigger car. You’ve dreamed about what your family will look like and the reality of the moments like driving home from the hospital after surgery without a baby just feel so raw and like they can’t be real.”
While it is normal for people to publicly share that their grandmother passed away or lost their job (or any number of other tough losses), it isn’t the norm for women to share about pregnancy loss. But Jordan hopes this will change. At the time, she was an executive in an organization and didn’t want to risk colleagues or leaders questioning if she could handle the workload. She took half a day off work to have the surgery for the 13-week miscarriage, and then went back to the office on Monday as if nothing ever happened.
“It was very difficult to go to work every day and pretend like I hadn’t just lost a major part of my life. And not just a major part of my life, but a major part of how I dreamed my life would look,” she continues. “Now that it has been over a year, I’m finally taking time to go to counseling, heal and really understand what all of this means to me: emotionally, physically and mentally.”
“No one thinks about the other side of pregnancy.”
In July, Aly McGue was at her 20-week ultrasound and prenatal check-up, when her doctor was spending an unusually long time working the probe around her stomach. It made her nervous, but she couldn’t have prepared for the weight of these five words: ‘Aly, we can’t find a heartbeat.’ McGue says she went blank with no feeling, just pure shock. Due to COVID-19, her husband wasn’t allowed in the room at the time; she went through the stress and sadness of finding out her son passed, alone. She’s still healing from this traumatic experience, and she intends to try again next summer.
When this happened, she didn’t know any other women who had gone through fetal demise, which, by definition, is a pregnancy loss past the 20-week point. Though she knew many others who had miscarriages up to 12 weeks, a miscarriage half-way through is rare. In fact, the UC Davis Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology says the likelihood is less than .5 percent.
So when McGue saw Teigen’s post, she felt immense sadness. And then, she felt less alone. “One of my fears was that our loss could’ve been prevented if it weren’t for ‘COVID rules’ that limited the amount of in-person visits. The fact that Chrissy experienced this traumatic loss while being monitored closely at the hospital gives me a little peace that there’s nothing we could’ve done,” she shares.
Thanks to Teigen, McGue says there is a new community around the darker side of pregnancy—one that’s rarely discussed but could potentially help many women. “My nurse Mary Kate, who was an absolute angel, said to me that everyone thinks her job is wonderful, but it’s actually quite complex. She deals with extreme happiness and extreme loss and pain,” McGue shares. “No one thinks about the other side of pregnancy, but we need to. There need to be more voices discussing this topic, so women don’t have to scour the internet to understand their situation.”
“They will always be part of our family.”
In 2015, Erica* was 17 weeks along with her first pregnancy—a set of twin girls—when she received bad news. Her babies were diagnosed with Twin Transfusion Syndrome, which means one twin was getting more nutrients than the other one. They flew to Texas for surgery to mitigate the issue when her water broke, and they lost both babies. They had already decided on Avery and Samantha as names, and Erica describes that night as the hardest of her life. “We were lucky to be able to hold them and be with them for a long time after they were born, and we will love those little girls forever. They will always be a part of our family,” she shares.
Today, she has three children who are healthy and happy. Even so, when she saw Teigen’s post, she cried. “My own miscarriage was five years ago, and I have such amazing children, but that loss is always fresh whenever I see another family suffer,” she continues. “I usually get the response, ‘Well, you have such a wonderful family,’ and while this is true it doesn’t erase my beautiful girls who can’t be with us.”
Though supportive spouses and families are helpful, Erica says no one can understand the loss unless they’ve gone through the traumatic experience. She hopes women will speak up and join together, so they feel less trapped in their pain. “I hated when people told me ‘it’s gonna be okay.’ It isn’t. It’s never okay—but we do grow from it,” she continues. “We learn to live with it. We learn to celebrate those babies in our own ways.”
“She has permitted others not to hide their hardships and carry their pain alone.”
Jessie* decided to opt for a cell-free DNA test, for no other reason than to know all of the possible knowns. Sadly, the results showed a high risk for Turner’s Syndrome, an incurable chromosomal abnormality. To confirm the preliminary diagnosis, Jessie would need an amniocentesis; however, that required another month of waiting. As one does, she went down an internet rabbit hole looking for the percentages of false positives, or anything that would allow her to avoid this long wait. For 10 days, every hour felt like it lasted forever, and alongside her husband, Jessie tried anything to take her mind off of it: puzzling, social media, anything at all.
Over the weekend of August 15, while camping, she woke up to no pain but some bleeding. They fled to the emergency room, where the miscarriage was confirmed. Four days shy of the 14-week mark, she went through a D&C. She describes the time between the test results and the miscarriage as torture, and in the end, she found relief knowing the nightmare of uncertainty was over. “In one of my internet rabbit holes, I had learned most pregnancies with Turner Syndrome end in miscarriage in the first trimester, and a lot of women miscarry before being diagnosed. I feel fortunate that I knew what caused my loss; it helped with finding closure that I don’t think many women get,” she adds.
While many wait until after the first trimester to share their pregnancy news, Jessie and her husband decided to go against the grain. They didn’t post on social media, but they wanted to enjoy the time celebrating with those they hold close to their heart. “When we miscarried, having the support and space to talk with those people about our loss helped us,” she shares.
She hopes by Teigen being bold with her own personal experiences; she chips away at the shame and stigma of keeping a miscarriage a secret. “It’s almost like she shined a spotlight on a reality many people face. It also feels like she has permitted others not to hide their hardships and carry their pain alone,” she continues. “I feel immense sadness for her and her family’s loss but also hope, seeing so many people send their condolences, words of support, and rally behind her.”
“It changes you.”
After Rachel Sobel’s divorce, she remarried, and they very much wanted a child together. Though Sobel already had a daughter from her previous marriage, her new husband had yet to become a father, and they were excited to learn they were pregnant. Sadly, at a routine visit at the end of her first trimester, they were given the news there was no heartbeat. At the time, Sobel was 39 years old, with one working ovary, and not only was she hopeless, but she was also petrified to go through another pregnancy loss. They tried and tried, and couldn’t conceive. Her OB-GYN said if it didn’t happen in another month, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) might be their only option. That very month, they did get pregnant with their now four-year-old daughter.
When Sobel saw Teigen’s post and pictures, she had a visceral reaction, knowing that gut-wrenching feeling of having a void that can never be filled. It’s an experience that Sobel says changes you and can be an incredibly polarizing experience. “ I felt empty, and like my body failed me. I couldn’t be around pregnant women or babies without feeling immense sadness,” she continues. “These are the messy parts of motherhood and life that many do not feel comfortable sharing. Experiencing loss makes you part of the sisterhood of those moms who have also had similar experiences.”
By normalizing these conversations, Sobel helps women will no longer have to suffer in silence. “We have to be able to share and heal from the tougher parts of motherhood the same way we celebrate the wins,” she shares. “Be honest with yourself and those surrounding you. Do not feel shame or guilt, and remember to be gentle with yourself. There is no right or wrong way to navigate this loss. But if you can lean on women who know what you are going through, it certainly helps.”
*Names shortened or changed.