pregnancy

"I've never felt more broken in my life." 9 high profile women on the unique pain of miscarriage.

This post deals with pregnancy loss and might be triggering for some readers. 

This week, Chrissy Teigen shared a rare and emotional post after her third pregnancy ended in the loss of her and husband John Legend's third child. 

"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before," the 34-year-old began. 

"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."

"We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital," Teigen - who shares Luna, four, and Miles, two, with Legend - said.

"But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack.  So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

Teigen's openness is not new: She shares much of her life online, and had documented her time in hospital in the past few days. So for her to share a look into her darkest moments is not out-of-character; but that doesn't make it any less powerful and important. 

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She is not alone. One in four pregnancies results in miscarriage, a unique pain with a shadow much wider than we know.

Teigen offered an insight into a pain that is so often swept under the rug, shrouded in darkness and cloaked in complicated feelings.

But it shouldn't be like that. Normalising speaking about pregnancy loss and all the feelings and experiences that come along with that will go along way to dispel misunderstanding and stigma.

So with that in mind, here are what other women have said about their own experiences with pregnancy loss.

Teresa Palmer.

In 2015, Teresa Palmer experienced a type of early pregnancy loss known as a hydatidiform mole, or complete molar pregnancy. It occurs when an egg carrying no genetic material (DNA) is fertilised and implants into the uterine wall. Despite the embryo not being viable, the process still triggers the usual signs of pregnancy, like morning sickness or sore breasts.

It's uncommon - just one in every 1,200 pregnancies are affected.

"When you get pregnant, the moment you see those two lines on the pregnancy test, you start envisioning who that baby is and when the baby's coming and the age gap between your children. And all of a sudden, that's all ripped away from you and you're grieving the idea of who this baby would have been," she told Mamamia's No Filter podcast. 

"I remember just sobbing and saying sorry to Bodhi, my toddler: 'I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. I really thought you would have a sibling.'

"It was just so much anxiety and not enough support. And also not feeling like I really wanted to share my story with many people, at the time. I just didn't know anyone else had been through it, and I just thought, 'Why did my body do this? What did I do to deserve this?'"

Listen: Teresa Palmer on No Filter. Post continues below audio.

Megan Gale.

Megan Gale miscarried in 2016 while juggling her job as a host on Australia’s Next Top Model and parenting a toddler. 

On Mamamia's This Glorious Mess Little Kids podcast in November 2019, Gale spoke about having to keep her miscarriage a secret while on a very demanding filming schedule for Top Model.

"I was about nine weeks pregnant [with my second child] when I miscarried. It was one of those situations when I was filming a TV show and no one knew I was pregnant," she told the podcast.

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"It was a unique situation because I was filming Australia’s Next Top Model at the time and I was scheduled to go to Italy. I went to my obstetrician and said I was going overseas and I wanted to get my scan a week early because I’d miss it when I was away. I was scheduled to jump on a plane the next day, so [after learning of the miscarriage] I had to schedule a procedure that morning. I then had a few hours to recover and then I was off.

"My options were to pretend like it never happened or tell everyone I’d literally just had a miscarriage… to call production and say 'I can’t go', and they would’ve wanted a legitimate reason why their show was going to fall apart."

Beyonce.

In her 2013 HBO special Life is But a Dream, Beyonce said the miscarriages she had before daughter Blue Ivy was born was "the saddest thing I've ever been through."

She later told Oprah: "there are so many couples that go through that and it was a big part of my story. It’s one of the reasons I did not share I was pregnant the second time, because you don't know what’s going to happen. And that was hard, because all of my family and my friends knew and we celebrated. It was hard."

Heather Maltman.

In November 2019, actor and podcast producer Heather Maltman, who appeared on Sam Wood's season of The Bachelor in 2015, shared on Instagram that she had experienced a miscarriage and has spent the past two weeks in and out of hospital, crippled by complications.

Heather experienced what’s known as a ‘silent’ or ‘missed’ miscarriage, in which the baby has died or stopped developing without being physically miscarried.

"I just kind of floated out of my body at the stage," she told Mamamia

"Matt and I walked out and into the elevator, and I burst into tears there, because I didn’t want to make [the doctor] feel bad for breaking the bad news."

She said she'd heard from lots of women who had been through it too.

"People that have followed me for years said, 'I just wanted to let you know I’ve been through something similar, and it sucks because you’re not supposed to talk about it. People don’t understand you’re grieving someone that you didn’t even get to see.'

"Someone wrote that to me. And that took everything that I’ve been feeling - that confusion about why I’m so sad - and solidified it into one explanation.

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"A lot of people, especially men because they don’t go through pregnancy, don’t understand that when you’re carrying a person, from day one, something feels different. To have a miscarriage, you’re literally saying goodbye to someone that you’ve already started connecting with. They exist in your body, so they exist in the world. And so to not be able to grieve the way you would a person who you met in everyday life who’s passed away, it’s an incredibly painful expectation to put on someone."

Pink.

In 2019, Pink told USA Today about falling pregnant at 17 and deciding to keep the baby, before she miscarried.

"When that happens to a woman or a young girl, you feel like your body hates you and like your body is broken, and it's not doing what it's supposed to do.

"I've had several miscarriages since, so I think it's important to talk about what you're ashamed of, who you really are and the painful s***."

Hilaria Baldwin.

In 2019, Hilaria Baldwin experienced two miscarriages. The first, in April, she documented on Instagram.

"I want to share with you that I am most likely experiencing a miscarriage. I always promised myself that if I were to get pregnant again, I would share the news with you guys pretty early, even if that means suffering a public loss. I have always been so open with you all about my family, fitness, pregnancies... and I don’t want to keep this from you, just because it isn’t as positive and shiny as the rest.

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"I think it’s important to show the truth... because my job is to help people by being real and open. Furthermore, I have no shame or embarrassment with this experience. I want to be a part of the effort to normalise miscarriage and remove the stigma from it. "

In November, she shared a video of herself crying with her daughter, Carmen, captioned: "We are very sad to share that today we learned that our baby passed away at 4 months. We also want you to know that even though we are not ok right now, we will be."

Claire Holt.

In 2018, actress Claire Holt shared a photo of herself from hospital to Instagram.

"I took this photo 10 days ago, as I waited for surgery after my sweet little baby lost its heartbeat. I sent it to my fiancé in the waiting room to show him that I was ok. I wasn't. I've never felt more broken in my life," she wrote.

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"I debated sharing this so soon and I'm still frightened about making such a private struggle public, but I’m doing it anyway because it's important. After my D & C, I spent hours on the internet searching for women who had been through it. I was desperate to find someone, anyone, who could relate to what I was feeling. Someone to tell me that the depression and hopelessness were normal. That it wasn't my fault. That I wasn't broken forever."

"I found a community of women who shared my exact experience. Who were open and vulnerable about miscarriage, something that isn't often or openly discussed. It breaks my heart to think that losing a baby feels like something we have to keep to ourselves. Why is it any different than the death of a loved one? How is it any less meaningful?

"Here is what I have learned as I begin to crawl out of the dark hole: support is everything. I could not have survived this without the unconditional love of my partner. Despite his pain, he was my rock and my safety net. I will never know how to thank him. I also found that opening up to people is crucial. As soon as I told my story, almost everyone I spoke to told me theirs - their own, their wife’s, their sister’s.

"So many people go through it and understand the breadth of pain, yet so few people talk about it... To anyone out there who has been through a miscarriage, I understand you. I share every bit of your pain and you are not alone. Please be kind to yourself and I hope that you will be comfortable sharing your story too."

Michelle Obama.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama wrote about miscarriage and fertility struggles in her 2018 memoir, Becoming.

Miscarrying was "physically uncomfortable and cratered any optimism we felt," she wrote.

"I felt like I failed, because I didn't know how common miscarriages were, because we don't talk about them. We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we're broken. I think it's the worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work, and how they don't work."

If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24 hour support line on 1300 072 637. 

Join the community of women, men and families who have lost a child in our private Facebook group.

Feature image: Instagram/ABC News.

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