The Anguish of Miscarriage
Living with grief: the case of Chrissy Teigen:
Posted Oct 16, 2020
The possibility of miscarriage is, sadly, part of the risk inherent in becoming pregnant. Of course, everyone hopes they will never have to face it, but when it does occur, as any couple who has experienced it knows, it is utterly devastating. It is a very profound loss because it is an end to everything that led up to that point.
Whether the pregnancy was planned or not, once you found out you were expecting you probably began to define and reconfigure your life with the future of the new baby in mind. If you were pregnant for the first time, you were looking ahead to becoming a mother, and if it would have been your second, or third, or fourth child, you were imagining the bigger family you would have had when the new baby arrived.
Once you receive the result of that positive test, it is natural to begin to envision what your future would be like with the newborn, as well as what the baby would be like. Who would they be and who might they become? Similarly, while many wait until a baby is born to name him or her, some couples name their unborn child while still in utero, or even choose a name before they become pregnant. Already this baby seems like a meaningful part of your life.
When a miscarriage occurs, as it did recently for Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, it can feel like your body betrayed you. If you were anxious or stressed, or dealing with some other issue, you may feel responsible and blame yourself. Additionally, you may feel guilty, believing that if you had done something differently the miscarriage wouldn’t have happened.
In an Instagram post after her miscarriage, Teigen wrote that she was sorry they couldn’t give their baby the home he needed to survive. So many couples deal with this. The important question is, how can you begin to cope with such a great loss?
It all comes down to timing.
Figure out with your partner how much time you need to get your minds around what has happened privately before you are ready to share the difficult news with family and friends. That timeline will be different for everyone. Teigen shared her news throughout her terrible ordeal and immediately announced publicly what had happened. Others, however, may feel too vulnerable or exposed and may decide to wait a little while before making it known.
There is no correct answer to this, it is simply what is right for you. Eventually talking it through with others, which will sometimes lead to others telling you their own stories so you know you are not alone, is one way to heal. But you want to make sure you are prepared.
Be aware that sometimes people will respond by saying, oh, don’t worry, you’ll get pregnant again. And while they mean well, and somewhere in your mind you might even hope it to be true, it can also be upsetting to hear that—because the idea of moving forward might feel like you are abandoning the baby you just lost. Along those same lines, because it unfortunately happens so often, others might take it in stride and offer reassurance that things will all be okay, not realizing the magnitude of what you are experiencing. Their efforts to comfort you can actually make you feel worse. It’s helpful to be aware of such possibilities before you open yourself up to others, so that you can be equipped to manage their concern.
Similarly, timing factors in to when you are ready to try to get pregnant again. That, too, may make you feel like you are over your loss and moving on. In Teigen’s initial Instagram post she wrote, “We will always love you.”
Over three weeks have passed since Teigen's sad news was shared, and she recently posted for the first time since her announcement, talking about something that had made her laugh. “Finally, a giggle,” she wrote. It is important to know that such a loss may stay with you for the rest of your life and that’s okay.
When it comes to grief, you don’t get over it, you just get on with it.