Grieving is one of the most intensely personal things a person can go through – and there's no right or wrong way to go about it. Heartbreakingly, yesterday it was announced that Chrissy Teigen and John Legend had very sadly lost their baby boy, Jack, due to complications around halfway through the pregnancy. They shared the devastating news on social media, where Chrissy had been giving regular updates about her hospital stay, alongside a series of personal photos.
While many praised the couple for being candid and helping to break the taboo surrounding baby loss, miscarriages and still births, others, rather cruelly, left comments underneath their Instagram and Twitter posts, questioning whether or not it was the right thing to do. We don't want to give these trolls anymore air time than necessary, so we'll leave it there and just say we're finding it hard to fathom how anybody could be cruel to somebody who has recently suffered a gigantic loss.
Watch: Farah Nasser shares personal story in response to Chrissy Teigen's social media posts after death of son
On this subject, Tommy's, a charitable organisation who fund research into miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth, as well as offering support to those affected, have responded to the judgement Chrissy and John have faced. They've now concisely explained in a new blog post that for some parents, sharing these gut-wrenching moments of grief can be part of the healing process. Tommy's also added that they believe the celebrity couple doing so has helped to break some of the stigma around losing a child.
Addressing some of the specific criticisms levelled at Chrissy and John's social post, Tommy's wrote in response to 'This should have been kept private. Why does the world need to know?': "In the UK, 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth. Around 5000 families will experience Termination for Medical Reasons (TFMR). But baby loss is often not talked about.
"The emotional impact this has is devastating and leaves parents with so many unanswered questions. It leaves them isolated in their grief, and right now, amid the coronavirus pandemic, this isolation can be made worse by physical distance from family and friends. There is still silence and shame around baby loss. But if we can talk about it openly and honestly, not only can we help each other feel less alone, but we can also pave the way for greater awareness and more research to stop it happening."
They added, "Too many families leave the hospital with empty arms - we need to acknowledge the scale and impact of pregnancy and baby loss."
As for comments along the lines of 'Taking photos should be the last thing on your mind!', Tommy's helpfully explained that making memories can be an important part of coping with loss. "For many families who lose their baby, taking photographs is a precious way to remember them. Some families might choose to share these images, others might keep them private or share with their friends and family. Families who choose to take photographs will often treasure them for the rest of their lives, as they act as a physical memory of their baby."
Tommy's midwifery manager, Kate Marsh, spoke in support of those who also choose to keep moments like this private, again stressing that there's no right or wrong way to grieve. Each parent is unique and processes trauma differently.
"Baby loss at any stage in pregnancy is one of the most devastating experiences that any family can go through – and it really can happen to any family, but persistent stigma means it’s rarely discussed despite affecting so many," she said. "Chrissy Teigen being so open about her loss takes a lot of courage, but it’s vital that we break the silence so that anyone who loses a baby knows: this may feel incredibly lonely, but you are not alone. Friends and family, doctors and midwives, all of us at support organisations like Tommy’s, we’re here."
We're sending all our love and support to John, Chrissy, Luna and Miles during this incredibly sad time. Remember, kindness doesn't cost a thing.
If you're looking for support or more information about premature births, stillbirths or miscarriage, Tommy's have a free helpline 0800 0147 800 (open 9 - 5, Monday to Friday). There's also a Facebook group.
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