Pregnancy Loss and Breaking the Silence
We should make ourselves the safe space for people to be able to express themselves - their loss or their joys - freely.
We saw the internet blow up when Chrissy Teigen and John Legend first shared heartwarming photos of them celebrating their new pregnancy. Then we saw them share their heartbreaking loss. We all ached with them both when they released the news of the pregnancy loss on Chrissy Teigen’s Twitter account.
Then suddenly, as it happens on the internet today, backlash.
“She shouldn’t have posted it in such a public space.”
“Why would anyone going through that much pain want to display it on the internet?”
“She just wants to go viral.”
“What an attention seeker.”
It is time we break the silence on pregnancy loss.
This is the problem
There is nothing easy with pregnancy and childbirth. Even before the baby is born, mothers and fathers everywhere are so concerned about being healthy, eating right and what they can do to ensure the safety of their children. When they take all the precautions they possibly can, and something as unfortunate as this happens, as it does, what are the coping mechanisms to this? Is there a handbook to it? Is talking about it taboo? Is it against the rules to post your experience on social media?
Why is pregnancy loss still a taboo to talk about? And why especially here in Asia?
In Asia, there are a lot of traditions that are still held on to until today. One of these is that if a woman is known to have had a miscarriage, stillbirth or any other version of pregnancy loss, she is not looked to as someone who is “fertile”. Because if a woman cannot even do this most basic of functions that women are supposed to do, she is often seen as tainted.
In some cultures for example, once a woman is known to have had a pregnancy loss, they will not invite her to weddings or even let her join rituals that prepare the bride for her wedding. An instant taboo is put upon her like it was her fault.
Chrissy Teigen breaks the silence around pregnancy loss
On top of all this, it is considered bad manners to speak freely of their loss, because the feeling is that if you are talking about it to everyone and anyone, it is as if you’re bragging, or asking for sympathy.
But it is not. It is a coping mechanism. We need to be able to express the loss however which way we go about it, so long as it is not destructive. Chrissy Teigen posting about her loss is not attention-seeking. It is giving a voice to those who cannot be heard or were told not to speak about such things.
Chrissy Teigen and loss: There is no exclusivity in sadness, especially when it is about pregnancy loss
There is no one way to express or feel sadness. We have all felt sadness at one point or another in varying degrees, and for varying circumstances. It does not mean that we are not allowed to feel it or express it, right?
It is your own sadness, your own loss, and you cope with it the way that is right for you. If it means keeping quiet and being by yourself or your family, then that is fine. Does it mean announcing it on Facebook or writing a blog about this on your website? Then do that. Find your safe space.
Outside looking in
But this goes for the rest of us too who are surrounding them and are watching. We should make ourselves the safe space for people to be able to express themselves – their loss or their joys – freely. We are only outside looking in and though we may have gone through something similar, or indeed the same thing, we must be able to let the one who is grieving, grieve. Let us help them heal and support them while they are going through the process. After all, there is no “handbook” to loss and we all cope differently.
In other words, let us be kind. And let us break the silence around pregnancy loss.
This article was first published on theAsianparent Philippines and republished on theAsianparent with permission.