In a painful and deeply personal message posted late Wednesday on Instagram, Chrissy Teigen shared that she and husband John Legend lost their third child, a son they had been calling “Jack.” The post came just days after Teigen revealed her worsening pregnancy complications.
“We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before,” Teigen wrote, alongside a series of pictures taken at the hospital. One showed her hunched forward, her face in tears, her hands clasped in front of her face. Another showed her and Legend, holding their child.
“We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough,” she wrote.
Teigen also wrote a brief message on Twitter, where she had been documenting her progress after being hospitalized on Sunday for complications from excessive bleeding, which she had been experiencing for weeks.
“Driving home from the hospital with no baby. How can this be real.”
For the last several weeks, Teigen, a TV personality, cookbook author and model, had been open about the difficulties of her pregnancy, her third with Legend. Teigen said she had recently stopped work on her third cookbook after going on bedrest for the high-risk pregnancy.
The 34-year-old documented the pregnancy, as she has much of her and Legend’s family life, on social media, occasionally cracking jokes and sharing images of hospital food and Legend at her bedside, making a sandwich. But her condition didn’t improve, despite two blood transfusions. Earlier on Wednesday, Teigen reported having a “really scary morning” after developing a “huge clot.”
Across social media, Teigen and Legend’s friends and supporters shared encouraging messages for the couple.
“We love you guys so much and we will be here for whatever yall need. Always,” wrote actress Gabrielle Union, who has been public about her own experiences with multiple miscarriages.
“So very sorry Chrissy and John,” wrote Viola Davis. “A big virtual hug of love, love, love….and more….”
“I’m so sorry for your loss Chrissy & John, you bring us so much joy and laughter, we are here for you through this difficult time,” wrote model Naomi Campbell.
Teigen and Legend’s emotional disclosure about the loss of their child is still unusual, though, in recent years, more celebrities have chosen to share stories about their lost pregnancies, which are far more common than many people realize. These include Union, as well as Beyoncé and Michelle Obama, who wrote in her 2018 memoir, Becoming: “What nobody tells you is that miscarriage happens all the time, to more women than you’d ever guess, given the relative silence around it.”
“I learned this only after I mentioned that I’d miscarried to a couple of friends, who responded by heaping me with love and support and also their own miscarriage stories.”
As the Washington Post writes, in the U.S., 1 in every 160 births is a stillbirth, citing statistics from the National Institutes of Health. It is estimated that somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, with researchers noting that the number is likely higher. Because most miscarriages happen within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, a birthing parent may miscarry without even knowing they are pregnant.
While Teigen is of Thai and Norwegian descent, it’s important to note that certain kinds of pregnancy complications have been shown to affect Black women at much higher rates than parents of other backgrounds. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Black women are particularly susceptible to stillbirths, experiencing them at twice the rate of non-Hispanic white women. Overall, Black parents and Native American parents were the groups most likely to have a stillbirth. Racial discrepancies in miscarriage rates are less known, in large part because they are harder to track and document, but data shows Black birthing parents are more likely to experience pregnancy complications than their peers.
But despite how common this experience is for many parents, silence has often surrounded these losses. In an article for Psychology Today, Dr. Monica Starkman, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan’s medical school, wrote that miscarriage is “deeply connected to an individual’s sense of identity and self-esteem.”
“There’s the loss not just of the pregnancy, but of one’s hopes and dreams for that child into the future,” Starkman continued. “There’s guilt over inflicting childlessness on the one they love. There’s the feeling you’ve lost control over your life.”
Starkman advised that reducing the silence around the loss of pregnancy could help reduce the shame and depression miscarriages and stillbirths can spark.
On her Instagram post, Teigen explained that naming her unborn child was a departure for her and Legend.
“We never decide on our babies’ names until the last possible moment after they’re born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack,” she wrote.
“To our Jack—I’m so sorry that the first few moments of your life were met with so many complications, that we couldn’t give you the home you needed to survive,” she continued. “We will always love you.”
Sharing his wife’s message on Twitter, Legend simply wrote, “We love you, Jack.”