I have huge respect for Chrissy Teigen sharing her pregnancy loss when she knew what would happen next | Isabelle Oderberg | Opinion

When she revealed her pregnancy loss on Twitter and Instagram, Chrissy Teigen knew exactly what…

I have huge respect for Chrissy Teigen sharing her pregnancy loss when she knew what would happen next | Isabelle Oderberg | Opinion

When she revealed her pregnancy loss on Twitter and Instagram, Chrissy Teigen knew exactly what was going to happen next.

Of course there was the expected and rightful outpouring of sympathy and empathy for both her loss and sharing her raw pain, a brave gesture, but underlying that nest of support and love, came the questions from insensitive internet commenters.

Why didn’t you go to the emergency room sooner?

Was this all staged for attention?

Were you really that upset if you were able to “pose up” for a photo?

Teigen’s warts and all approach to her social media branding has made her a popular figure in the space. She doesn’t shy away from showing vulnerability or realistic portrayals of life as a working mum.

chrissy teigen


October 1, 2020

In the lead up to her pregnancy loss this week, she posted a photo of herself on Instagram in the bath, her daughter standing behind her with the caption: “Every day she makes me a warm (not hot, chill!) bath and refuses to let me wash my own hair girls, man. @johnlegend how did we get so lucky with lulu??”

“Not hot, chill” refers to the temperature of the water, acknowledging medical guidance that pregnant women shouldn’t bathe in a hot bath, because it is thought to possibly result in effects like a drop in blood pressure, possible oxygen deprivation for the baby, miscarriage or birth defects.

Already Teigen was aware that waiting in the wings were the people waiting to criticise, to tell her the right way to be pregnant and of course point out the wrong way to be pregnant. A common feeling among anyone who’s actually been pregnant.

So when she announced she had lost her pregnancy I doubt she would have been surprised when the questions started. The attempts to find a cause. And blame.

Going public is brave. Not going public is also brave. Surviving pregnancy loss in itself is brave.

But we must have a huge amount of respect for Teigen sharing when she knew what was going to happen next.

Some of the Twitter accounts outwardly attacking her were thankfully shut down. I hope someone else is monitoring her timelines while she recuperates so she’s not subjected to the abuse.

But some of the more seemingly less abusive comments, questions and “helpful feedback” are a good representation of what people who experience pregnancy loss face in the real world.

Insidious microaggressions disguised as concern. Were you drinking a lot of coffee? Did you lift anything heavy? You hadn’t had any sushi or anything like that, had you?

Or “don’t worry, it’s not your fault”. Did I say it was?

The sad fact of miscarriage, something that compounds the grief, is that in the vast majority of cases it is “bad luck”. There is no blame to be placed. No cause to the highlighted.

What we also know is that it is incredibly difficult for a woman to “cause” a miscarriage.

Sometimes even when there is no detectable heartbeat it can take weeks for the body to start the process of allowing the foetus or baby to leave the body.

Nevertheless, so begins the hunt for a cause and the placement of blame, which always seems to fall squarely on the person carrying the baby. And in doing so we can compound misplaced self-blame and grief.

Of course, I must note, there were no questions asking Teigen’s husband, John Legend, if he’d had his sperm quality tested.

A result of the silence around miscarriage – documented over and over through countless columns, documentaries, books and articles – is a real lack of education around pregnancy loss and its causes.

An inability to accept that it happens and often we don’t know the reason or if we do, it’s simply no one’s fault.

A deficit in how to comfort anyone touched by pregnancy loss, including partners, grandparents and friends.

Without the knowledge or understanding, more damage can be caused and with a high number of women shouldering post-loss depression, PTSD and other trauma, this is a real-life consequence of that silence.

  • Isabelle Oderberg is a journalist and communications professional working in the non-profit sector. On her journey to have her two children she had seven pregnancy losses. She is now writing a book about miscarriage in Australia, tentatively titled Hard To Bear.