Chrissy Teigen’s latest post about pregnancy loss has an important message about grief in general
It’s not only grief surrounding miscarriages that can last for a non-linear amount of time, either. Survivors of grief say you have to learn to embrace it all.
Chrissy Teigen’s latest Instagram post about her 2020 pregnancy loss has an important message: Grief doesn’t have an exact timeline.
In the post, Teigen shared photos from husband John Legend’s “Wild” music video shoot, in which she first hinted at her pregnancy when she was 10 weeks along. In October she lost the baby, whom she named Jack.
“To be honest, I thought the worst was over but I guess life and emotions aren’t on any sort of schedule,” she wrote last week.
“Not sure I’ll ever be able to watch that video again without sobbing, but I hope he feels my tears and knows we miss him so. He would have been here any day now - if he were like Luna and Miles, I’d probably be holding him as we speak.”
Amy Beckley, PhD, scientist and founder of at-home progesterone test kit Proov, says prolonged feelings of grief are “absolutely normal.”
“If you could just turn it off like a light switch, I think that might not be normal,” she said. “(People think) if a miscarriage happens back in September, they should be fine now. No, it’s an ongoing thing that people think about.”
Dr. Janelle Luk, Medical Director of Generation Next Fertility in New York City and a former OB-GYN, says the sadness of losing a baby ”is always there, even if it was a year ago or two years ago.”
Beckley, who personally endured seven miscarriages, says you can go through a range of emotions, from “feeling like a failure” to jealousy.
“They never get any easier,” she said. “You always blame yourself, you have thoughts of jealousy… You think, ‘It’s just not fair.’”
And it’s not only grief surrounding miscarriages that can last for a non-linear amount of time, either. Survivors of grief say you have to learn to embrace it all.
Kim Ruocco, whose husband, Marine Corps Maj. John Ruocco, died by suicide in 2005, told USA TODAY in 2018, ”It’s not one feeling, it’s a whole bunch of feelings, and I think the advice for anybody who’s experiencing grief is that whatever you are feeling, it’s OK, it’s normal, and it’s going to come… I let it come, I look at it, I feel it, I express it, and then I try to let it go.”
In a 2017 interview with USA TODAY, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, described her feelings following her husband Dave Goldberg’s death as “overwhelming grief” and a “real feeling of isolation.”
Beckley says Teigen’s openness about her loss and grief journey “definitely normalizes it” for others, including her 33.9 million Instagram followers.
“It’s unfortunately such a common thing, one in four women are going to experience at least one (miscarriage) in their child-bearing years,” she said. “Coming out and really just talking about it – how raw it is, just how devastating it is – I think it’s really amazing. It takes a lot of guts to do what she’s done, so I really commend her for that.”
Luk points out that, though it’s great to normalize grief, it’s important to make sure you’re staying healthy.
“It is very understandable for someone to be very sad for a long period of time… but it should not be so sad that it would disrupt your daily activity and your normal functioning,” she said. “If you cannot sleep, you cannot eat or you cannot function as a person, then I think it’s important to seek counseling and help.”
Ways to cope with grief and loss
Don’t rush it:The community-based nonprofit Mental Health America advises those living with grief to “be patient.” ”It can take months or even years to absorb a major loss,” the website reads. Luk adds, “Sometimes time heals. I know it’s kind of a cliché, but it does.”
Express yourself: On the American Psychological Association’s website, Katherine C. Nordal, PhD writes that talking things out with friends and family can help you “understand what happened and remember” your loved one. “Avoidance can lead to isolation and will disrupt the healing process with your support systems,” Nordal added.
Take care of yourself: ”Eating healthy foods, exercising and getting plenty of sleep can help your physical and emotional health,” Nordal writes. Mental Health America adds that it’s important to be aware to not develop a dependence on medication or alcohol to deal with grief.
Connect online:”With social media now… Facebook groups, Instagram group, so many people there have shared the same feelings, and I think it’s very important,” Luk said. Beckley also suggests “finding a community,” even if means creating an “anonymous account on Instagram” if you want to keep it private.
Celebrate life: ”No matter how brief” someone was in your life, Beckley says some people may find it helpful to celebrate them, from sharing photos on social media like Teigen, to memory boxes that include photos and other items.
Seek help: ”If your grief seems like it is too much to bear, seek professional assistance to help work through your grief. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek help,” Mental Health America advises.
How to help others:If you’re looking to support someone else who is going through a loss like miscarriage, Beckley says “the most important thing…is to be there and to listen.”
“If that person wants advice, they’ll ask for it,” she said, adding that comments like “better luck next time” are not helpful. Instead, Beckley suggests showing support by saying things like, “I’m sorry for your loss. If there’s anything I can do, please let me know.”
Contributing: Alia E. Dastagir
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