Chrissy Teigen is breaking her silence nearly one month after losing her 20-week-old son Jack. The cookbook author had to deliver her third child with John Legend just halfway into her pregnancy after doctors diagnosed her with a partial placenta abruption; a month of bed rest, hospitalization and a series of blood transfusions failed to stop her bleeding. Teigen announced the heartbreaking news in a Sept. 30 social media post which documented intimate moments of her experience.
Speaking publicly for the first time since that painful post, Teigen has written an achingly raw personal essay for Medium about her fight to save the pregnancy, those final moments with Jack and how she is coping as she mourns his loss.
She also addresses criticism about her decision to share photos from her hospital stay, telling those who felt them to be too personal, “I cannot express how little I care that you hate the photos. How little I care that it’s something you wouldn’t have done. I lived it, I chose to do it, and more than anything, these photos aren’t for anyone but the people who have lived this or are curious enough to wonder what something like this is like. These photos are only for the people who need them. The thoughts of others do not matter to me.”
Teigen explains that husband Legend also had reservations about taking the photos — which show her crying, getting an epidural and holding their son — until she explained that she needed the images to help her process her grief.
“I had asked my mom and John to take pictures, no matter how uncomfortable it was,” she writes. “I explained to a very hesitant John that I needed them, and that I did NOT want to have to ever ask. That he just had to do it. He hated it. I could tell. It didn’t make sense to him at the time. But I knew I needed to know of this moment forever, the same way I needed to remember us kissing at the end of the aisle, the same way I needed to remember our tears of joy after [their children] Luna and Miles. And I absolutely knew I needed to share this story.”
That said, she later writes, “I feel bad our grief was so public because I made the joy so public. I was excited to share our news with the world. Stories leading up to this had been chronicled for all. It’s hard to look at them now. I was so positive it would be OK. I feel bad that I made you all feel bad. I always will.”
The essay documents the efforts she and her doctors took to save the pregnancy, from wearing adult diapers to soak up her constant bleeding, to the moment she was told “it was time to say goodbye” because “he just wouldn’t survive this, and if it went on any longer, I might not either.”
Teigen reveals that she asked doctors to let her delay labor until she “really, really knew it was over.” That moment came hours later, and the subsequent delivery is captured in her essay in heartbreaking detail.
After thanking well-wishers who have offered kindness and support — especially those who haven’t pressured her for a response, or have told her to block out unintentionally hurtful comments like it was “God’s plan” or that she’ll “have another soon” — Teigen reflected on the never-linear, always-complicated grieving process.
“People say an experience like this creates a hole in your heart,” she says. “A hole was certainly made, but it was filled with the love of something I loved so much. It doesn’t feel empty, this space. It feels full.
“Maybe *too* bursting full, actually. I find myself randomly crying, thinking about how happy I am to have two insanely wonderful little toddlers who fill this house with love. I smother them with love while they ‘Moooooooom!!!!!’ me. I don’t care.
“I also cry when I get mad at myself for being too happy. Sometimes I read things that make me gut laugh, or see an instagram post worthy of a like (yes, I’m gone but I’ve still been creeping!). And, I always forget I’m not pregnant anymore. I hold my belly when I walk around. I have a moment of freak out when the kids jump on my non-existent bump. The clarity after these moments always make me sad.”
She also shares that Jack’s ashes will be put in the soil of a tree at her family’s new home, adding, “Jack will always be loved, explained to our kids as existing in the wind and trees and the butterflies they see.”
Explaining that she “needed to say something before I could move on from this and return back to life,” Teigen also acknowledges her conflicted feelings about receiving support she knows women in similar situations don’t get.
“The moments of kindness have been nothing short of beautiful,” she writes. “I went to a store where the checkout lady quietly added flowers to my cart. Sometimes people will approach me with a note. The worst part is knowing there are so many women that won’t get these quiet moments of joy from strangers. I beg you to please share your stories and to please be kind to those pouring their hearts out. Be kind in general, as some won’t pour them out at all.”
Legend shared his wife’s post with a simple heart emoji.
Though her vulnerable essay has been met with an outpouring of support from the likes of Mindy Kaling, Teigen later shared a photo of her partly obscured face, streaked with tears following a “full-on panic attack” over making her words public.
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