By: Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA
Recently, famous model, Chrissy Teigan and her musically-acclaimed husband, John Legend, shared the death of their third child, Jack, due to pregnancy complications. Witnessing the reactions to the news has been very telling. Many people have reached out to the couple with words of kindness, love, support and gratitude - commending them for their bravery in sharing something that is normally kept private. Others have chosen to respond to the news by shaming the couple. The latter part is why I’m writing this blog post.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
I’m going to be really honest with you, this is not something that I have seen being discussed in the mom communities that I have been a part of (either in-person or online), in the mainstream media, or in my day-to-day life. Despite the fact that, “[e]ach year thousands of families across Canada mourn the death of their babies. In 2017 1,699 infants died within the first year after birth and 3,159 babies were stillborn. Parents get isolated in their grief and the stigma around the death of children prevents society from speaking about the devastating effects on parents and their families” (October15.ca).
There are communities, both online and in-person that provide the support and resources to those who have been impacted by loss, such as October15.ca, “a campaign [that] raises awareness for a variety of issues that are the direct result of the death of a child, either before birth (during pregnancy) or after birth.” I understand and appreciate the spaces that exist for these individuals and families who have experienced loss; however, this topic should not be shied away from in society. In fact, it should be embraced because of its prevalence.
Collectively, our society needs to do a much better job at creating safe spaces to address traumatic life experiences so that people can receive the support that they need to heal. Loss, pain, mourning, grief, etc. are a part of the human experience and as such, it needs to be normalized. NO ONE should feel shame or be shamed because of this. Like life, pregnancy and birth can be unpredictable; ultimately, no one knows how things are going to unfold.
Mama, you are not alone. As S. Kelley Harrell beautifully states, “[w]e do not heal in isolation, but in community.” It is far past time for the stigma around discussions of pregnancy and infant loss to be dropped and the shaming to be stopped. As a member of the collective, I am doing my part by creating a safe space and holding this container for all of those who need it.
It is so important to take the necessary time and space to process your emotions and heal. Grief, anger, rage, sadness, confusion, numbness - whatever you are feeling, I invite you to give yourself permission to feel the fullness and the rawness of your emotions and express them accordingly. This process is just as unique as the individuals(s) experiencing it and will thus look differently for everybody. This may not be easy, comfortable, or glamorous, but please do not let social media fool you; kick, scream, punch, cry your eyes out, do whatever you need to do. There is no one way or right way to move forward. There are no time constraints; take your time and honour yourself by choosing what’s best for you and your needs.
If you have experienced or you are experiencing loss, please check out the resources provided below.
Mama, you are felt, seen, heard, and are being held in thought with the utmost love, comfort, and support. Take deep care.
Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA
Certified Transformational Coach | Certified Essential Oil Specialist |
Certified ARōMATOUCH Practitioner | 200 YTT , Wholesome Mind Health Coaching