No, Chrissy Teigen Isn’t a Ghoul for Sharing Photos of Her Loss

Friday, October 02, 2020

 No, Chrissy Teigen Isn’t a Ghoul for Sharing Photos of Her Loss 

 

 

In December 2010 I shared this photo on Facebook: 





Woman holding child after traumatic birth experience. Woman is in hospital bed, kissing child, with hospital monitors in the background.

 

had just delivered my first daughter (third child). We knew beforehand she would most likely not survive after birth, but she came so suddenly, and things were so chaotic at her birth, the chance of saving her went from “maybe by some miracle”, to “no chance at all”.  

 

My daughter was beautiful. Like all moms I wanted to share her sweet photo with everyone. She had the most beautiful rosebud lips and long slender fingers. I’m convinced she would have been a concert pianist if she'd lived. 

 

But she didn’t. And while she wasn’t quite dead in the photo, she was dying. Looking with the benefit of hindsight I see now why some of my friends and family may have been scandalized when viewing this image. At the time I was in such a state of shock, and my grief was so deep, I couldn’t carry it alone—I needed my friends and family to help me pick up the pieces. I needed them to see her, to acknowledge her existence, to understand she was a human being and what I was grieving wasn’t just the loss of an idea, but the loss of a baby; all of her tomorrows were gone... no first tooth, kindergarten photos, or wedding day. I needed my loved ones to see me loving her so they could love her too. 

 

When Chrissy Teigen shared a series of photos announcing the loss of her unborn son, Jack, most of the world sobbed with her. There’s no image quite as powerful as an image of loss, and when the loss is a child whose entire lifespan has just disappeared it’s especially poignant. 

 

Many people, however, accused Teigen of being attention seeking. I concur she was most likely looking for attention – but not because, as a celebrity, she was accustomed to sharing her most intimate thoughts and dealing with the microscope of celebrity paparazzi. She wanted attention because her grief was so big, she couldn’t carry it alone: she was a drowning person calling out for a life jacket.  Those photos were a cry for rescue.

 

I recall the days following my loss. I was in a fog. I didn’t know what was happening. While in-hospital, the calm was frightening. Except for a few brief moments, I didn’t weep. I just slept and allowed the ministering hands of nurses to carry me on the wave of nothingness I was experiencing. But when I was able to pull myself out of the post-trauma stupor, the one thing I was focused on was those photos, taking them and sharing them.  

 

I tried my best to make them beautiful, not because I was trying to doll myself up, or pretend I was at a party, but because I knew exactly what I was doing: sharing photos of a dying baby. But I needed to share them. I needed to immediately take control the narrative which was my daughter’s life (because everything felt so out of control) as much as I needed to be held by every single person I was connected to. Those photos were a testament to our grief which allowed us to determine our story and the way we wanted it told. It was the story of our little family and our suffering. 

 

They were also a barrier keeping those who were uncomfortable at bay. I lost many friends in the initial year after my daughter died. My emotional response was too unpredictable to maintain normal conversations. My emotional response was too fragile to connect with those who would chastise me for my grief. Those photos were a litmus test for how safe someone was. 

 

Chrissy Teigen is not my favorite celebrity. She’s unkind to those who disagree with her. She’s flippant and rude. Her politics are significantly more progressive than mine and I hate her position on abortion, but I can also grieve with her today, and for all the days to come. I can look at those photos and see the value of her sweet little Jack without having to drag our differences into the conversation.  

 

Kindness is always an option, and it is almost always the best option 

 

If you are a Christian, like me, it’s the only option 

 

I will continue to pray for Chrissy and John, in hopes they find healing from this devastation. I will not cheapen their grief by suggesting, under photos of their dead child, maybe they should reconsider their position on abortion even though this is a private desire. I would gently suggest we all choose a similar path, both for the Teigen-Legend family, as well as those in your circle who may be hiding their own loss, and are watching your actions. 

 

For those interested in learning more about how miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death are typically handled in the US (and beyond), I’d like to recommend you type in the following hashtags into your search bar, on Facebook. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss month, and many families are sharing their photos and stories: 

 

#PAIL 

#BABYLOSS 

#WAVEOFLIGHT 

#IAM1IN4 

#1IN4 

#PREGNANCYANDINFANTLOSS 

#PREGNANCYANDINFANTLOSSMONTH 

#NEVERBESTILL 

#STILLBORNSTILLLOVED 

 

These hashtags will lead you to the thousands of other moms sharing photos of their families.  

 

If you or someone you know have lost a baby, please consider honoring them on October 15th, during the PAIL international “Wave of Light”.  

 

The wave of light invites baby loss families, friends and loved ones from around the world to join in honor and remembrance of our loved and longed for babies on October 15th at 7:00 pm in all time zones respectively. 

 

Lighting begins in the first time zone and remain lit a period of one hour, with the next time zone lighting respectively. The Result is a continuous chain of light encompassing and spanning across the world and around the globe for a 24-hour period illuminating the night in love and light in honor and remembrance of our children.” 

 

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