I like social media. I love flipping through seeing my great aunts share recipes, see where old friends from high school are vacationing, reading celebrities post about political events, etc. One celebrity I follow is Chrissy Teigen. I like her a lot. I like her cookbooks and I like her style.
Two nights ago I was scrolling through instagram and saw her post about losing her son Jack in the second trimester. The photos are incredible and her words deeply moving. I cried. I also felt blown away by her honesty and openness. She has been criticized for sharing this loss and I can’t figure out why. Why is there anger or hate when another human tells their story? Maybe I wouldn’t tell it the same way, or at all, but to criticize another person is mean. I wonder if it’s sexism, too.
Fortunately most people have been praising her. After all, she is not alone. Many of us have experienced pregnancy loss. I have. About 30% of pregnancies are lost in the first trimester and about 1% are lost in the second trimester.
I diagnosed a patient yesterday with a miscarriage and she mentioned Chrissy’s story. Another woman I told she wasn’t pregnant this month and she said “it’s ok, I read Chrissy Teigen’s story and things could be worse.” That, that is the value of sharing our sad, crushing, heartbreaking losses. It helps.
Social media has plenty of shortcomings. I tell my teenage daughters to ignore the perfect images portrayed by filtered influencers and remember that many of those portrayal are inaccurate. I’ve shown them my photo on our website and they saw my nearly perfect skin. Anyone who has seen me in person knows I have terrible acne with scarring. That imperfect side of us needs to be shared. From small things like imperfect skin to the enormous things like the loss of a child.
There are support groups in most large communities for pregnancy loss. I want to highlight this organization: The ButterFly Run. It is a run for charity to support pregnancy loss programs at BC Women's Hospital. I like their website's resources page. The run is virtual this year and happens this weekend. Last year a group of Olive staff ran and we plan to run every year - this is what we live and support.
Thanks to women like Chrissy and those countless others who work to help women and men who experience such enormous heart break.
Dr. Beth Taylor
Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility