Chrissy Teigen Penned A Heartbreaking Note About Losing Her Baby, And It Taught Me Something About Grief
John Legend and Chrissy Teigen are one of my favourite celebrity couples. They’re both stunners, and after having watched him sing to her, I don’t think there’s a way this admiration could’ve been avoided. But it’s also a lot about how they’re with their family. I live for Chrissy Teigen’s Instagram stories where she’s cooking in her gorgeous kitchen… her little girl Luna helping her with the recipes, and Miles giving the dish a taste. John cooks too, BTW. He made paella from scratch for Chrissy on their anniversary and it was all so beautiful. I love that family. But the last few months weren’t exactly easy for them due to Chrissy Teigen’s difficult pregnancy with her third child. Earlier this month, she and John Legend lost their baby, who they’d started calling Jack.
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We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough. . . We never decide on our babies’ names until the last possible moment after they’re born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever. . . To our Jack – I’m so sorry that the first few moments of your life were met with so many complications, that we couldn’t give you the home you needed to survive. We will always love you. . . Thank you to everyone who has been sending us positive energy, thoughts and prayers. We feel all of your love and truly appreciate you. . . We are so grateful for the life we have, for our wonderful babies Luna and Miles, for all the amazing things we’ve been able to experience. But 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.
Chrissy was diagnosed with a partial placenta abruption. It’s when the placenta partially separates from the inner wall of the uterus before birth. This can cause baby to not receive proper oxygen and nutrients, and the mother to bleed heavily. Chrissy revealed that she had had complicated pregnancies before. But for this one, she was put on a bed rest for a month at her home. She would share her progress on Instagram with her followers everyday. The amazing food that she was being served, the cravings, the gifts that her well wishers and brands were sending to her. This one story, one of my favourites, was of John and Luna helping open all of Chrissy’s online shopping parcels, with Luna holding up the designer outfits so her mom could see how they looked!
Unfortunately, on September 28, it was reported that Chrissy Teigen was hospitalised due to excessive bleeding. The baby was only 20 weeks old, which isn’t exactly a safe zone and this meant that hope of his survival was bleak. She was given, in her words, “bags and bags of blood transfusion” to try and get the fluids that the baby would need to survive. On October 1, Chrissy posted black and white photos of herself crying on the hospital bed, resting with John Legend next to her, and one of the couple holding their baby, who she revealed they’d named Jack, perhaps moments before he passed away.
It felt like every international celebrity I knew was in the comments, offering condolences, love and support to the family. Of course, the fans’ outpour was unadulterated too. But amidst all that, there were those who wanted to point out why Chrissy Teigen would share such intimate moments of grief as pictures on social media for every one to see. Who takes pictures at such times, they asked. I’ll admit, heartbroken though I was, I did for a hairbreadth of a moment wonder that. We come from a culture that is not vocal about such things, much less talking about our ‘feelings’ so openly. In funerals, while the women cry openly and loudly, the men are supposed to hide their tears or keep their grief silent and their faces, stoic.
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The guys from the incredible @sando.itchi just taught john to make me their famous Japanese egg sandwich – delivered to my bed 😩 thank you so much Elie @foodbeast for helping set this up! I slid into the DM’s hard when they posted about them and it all worked out! Can’t wait to show you guys on @cravingsbychrissyteigen
Also Read: Kim Kardashian On ‘My Next Guest’ Episode With David Letterman Changed How I Think About Her
On Monday, Chrissy shared on social media that she had written an essay on Medium about losing baby Jack because she was finally ready to talk about it. In the essay, titled just ‘Hi’, she talked about her present state of mind, the complications in her pregnancy and bed rest, John Legend rushing her to the hospital, preparing herself for the inevitable and yet still clinging on to some sliver of hope, and finally the moment when their world came crashing down.
“After a couple nights at the hospital, my doctor told me exactly what I knew was coming — it was time to say goodbye. 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. “
Not that she owed anyone an explanation, but Chrissy addressed all those who questioned her need to take and post those photos on social media. She recounted in her essay how John Legend was hesitant about the photos, but she insisted. And when you read it, you understand.
“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.”
“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.”
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I didn’t know how to come back to real life so I wrote this piece for Medium with hopes that I can somehow move on but as soon as I posted it, tears flew out because it felt so….final. I don’t want to ever not remember jack. . . Thank you to everyone who has been so kind. Thank you to the incredible doctors who tried so hard to make our third life a reality. Thank you to my friends and family and our entire household for taking care of me through all the adult diaper changes, bed rest and random hugs. Thank you John for being my best friend and love of my life. A lot of people think of the woman in times like this but I will never forget that john also suffered through these past months, while doing everything he could to take care of me. I am surrounded, in a human therapy blanket of love. I am grateful and healing and feel so incredibly lucky to witness such love.
As a writer, I can assure you from personal experience, that grief can sometimes leave you speechless. But sometimes, it can give you the most powerful words and the courage to reveal your vulnerabilities to the world. Some great art has been born in this way, I’m told. And what Chrissy Teigen wrote down isn’t just an incredibly powerful essay that is going to touch your heart, give you goosebumps, and make you cry. It’s also going to teach you a thing or two about grief. At least, it taught me that you can never, ever judge a person for the way they choose to express their grief. Everyone processes loss and pain in their own way. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula here.
For example, while Chrissy Teigen wrote this essay, John Legend wrote a song for her, performed it at the BBMAs, and dedicated it to her.
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There are many families who lose babies soon after birth or very early. Some have pictures; others tombstones. I’ve known missing children who’ve never been found to have empty graves just so their families could have somewhere they could visit to grieve. What is a burial or a cremation if not a coping mechanism constructed by society to help us through a loss we never think we can come out of. All these customs and rituals of prayer meets, wakes, tehrvi, immersing of ashes… these aren’t for those who’ve left, are they? They’re simply gestures of reassurance for us, the ones left behind. So if you wanted to celebrate the life of someone you lost by holding a screening of their favourite movie instead of a prayer meet, who’s to stop you?
Chrissy explained she needed to write these words because she felt that since she shared the joys of her pregnancy with everyone and was so excited to announce the arrival of the fifth member of her family, that she also needed to share the loss with everyone. That hit me personally, because I was one of the thousands who scrolled through her stories every day, gaining vicarious joy from her happiness. But she also needed to write this as an exercise to move on from her loss and begin living her life again. She was ready to remember Jack as a good memory, not a painful one.
“I wrote this because I knew for me I needed to say something before I could move on from this and return back to life, so I truly thank you for allowing me to do so. Jack will always be loved, explained to our kids as existing in the wind and trees and the butterflies they see. Thank you so much to every single person who has had us in their thoughts or gone as far as to send us your love and stories. We are so incredibly lucky.”
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She also went on to talk about the immense love and support that she received from everyone, and that she was touched by how thoughtful some of them were.
“For weeks, our floors have been covered in flowers of kindness. Notes have flooded in and have each been read with our own teary eyes. Social media messages from strangers have consumed my days, most starting with, “you probably won’t read this, but…”. I can assure you, I did.
But I will tell you, some of the best letters started with, “You don’t have to respond to this, but…”. After we first lost Jack, I found myself incredibly worried that I wasn’t able to thank everyone for their extreme kindness. Many shared incredible personal experiences, some shared books and poems. I wanted to thank everyone, share our story with each individual person. But I knew I was in no state to. For me, the “no need to respond” note was such a true relief. I thank you for each and every one of those.”
Isn’t that something, when we priorities the feelings of those grieving over our own, what it can do for them? We always want our gestures of kindness acknowledged, but true selflessness is when you do what you need to do without wondering what returns it would bring. As Chrissy revealed, sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can receive such unconditional kindness from strangers, like she did on several occasions after she lost her baby. However, not every woman does. And that’s why, she posted those photos, wrote this essay and spread the message that we all be kind.
“But the moments of kindness have been nothing short of beautiful. I went to a store where the checkout lady quietly added flowers to my cart. Sometimes people will approach me with a note. The worst part is knowing there are so many women that won’t get these quiet moments of joy from strangers. I beg you to please share your stories and to please be kind to those pouring their hearts out. Be kind in general, as some won’t pour them out at all.”
We hope, of course, that none of us have to go through such grief in our lives. But we’re glad that Chrissy Teigen wrote this essay, so that those who are looking for a way to come to terms with similar emotions, might find it.