Chrissy Teigen on sharing her photos: ‘The thoughts of others do not matter to me’

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Earlier this month, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend shared the tragic news that they’d lost their third child at 20 weeks into the pregnancy. Chrissy had been diagnosed with a partial placenta abruption and although they’d monitored her closely and performed several blood transfusions, the pregnancy was ultimately not viable, and the traumatic moment came for the family to say goodbye. Chrissy made a public announcement along with sharing some intimate photos that documented their grief. People had many strong feelings about those photos and let Chrissy and her grieving family know about them. Tuesday, Chrissy posted a deeply emotional essay documenting her experience. She described her gratitude to everyone who has reached out to her and shown her kindness. She detailed what happened in detail and why she both took and posted the photos. And she very plainly explained that she does not care what anyone else thinks about the photos or her posting them.

For weeks, our floors have been covered in flowers of kindness. Notes have flooded in and have each been read with our own teary eyes. Social media messages from strangers have consumed my days, most starting with, “you probably won’t read this, but…”. I can assure you, I did.

After a couple nights at the hospital, my doctor told me exactly what I knew was coming — it was time to say goodbye. He just wouldn’t survive this, and if it went on any longer, I might not either. We had tried bags and bags of blood transfusions, every single one going right through me like we hadn’t done anything at all. Late one night, I was told it would be time to let go in the morning. I cried a little at first, then went into full blown convulsions of snot and tears, my breath not able to catch up with my own incredibly deep sadness. Even as I write this now, I can feel the pain all over again. Oxygen was placed over my nose and mouth, and that was the first picture you saw. Utter and complete sadness.

I had asked my mom and John to take pictures, no matter how uncomfortable it was. 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 Luna and Miles. And I absolutely knew I needed to share this story.

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.

[From Medium]

Most of the time, I think other people’s opinions do matter to Chrissy. However, I do think she is speaking her truth here, those photos were a part of her grieving process that she doesn’t even fully understand yet. Later in her essay, Chrissy speaks about some of the moments of kindness she’s been shown: a checkout lady putting flowers in her cart and people pressing notes in her hand. Chrissy expressed sadness for all the women going through similar situation who will never know the support she is. On their behalf, Chrissy asked, “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.”

I think Chrissy’s essay speaks to grieving in a larger sense. There isn’t a right or wrong way for a person to grieve, but people will constantly try to make us feel as though there is. What they are really saying is, “you are not grieving the way I would in this situation.” I was truly moved by Chrissy’s photos when I saw them, even though I did not understand taking them, because I don’t think I would. But I read so many of your comments behind having grief photos and it became very clear how they serve in the process. It doesn’t have to be my process; it just has to help the person suffering. Chrissy reached many, many people by putting her loss out there like this. She paid a huge price for doing so at an incredibly vulnerable time. I think she knew she would, too. I’m grateful that ultimately, she knows she reached those she wanted to, and I hope that helps her move further in healing.

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Photo credit: Instagram and WENN/Avalon

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70 Responses to “Chrissy Teigen on sharing her photos: ‘The thoughts of others do not matter to me’”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    Her post made me cry (both the post announcing their loss and this Medium post.) I am glad that she realizes how many people her post reached and what an impact it had.

  2. jbyrdku says:

    The thoughts of others DO matter to her. Clearly.

    • minx says:

      Of course they do. I mean, come on!

    • ennie says:

      I understand, but they DON’T matter, in a sense, the importance of those relating is so much bigger, those criticizing lose prevalence.

    • Nikki* says:

      I think she meant she was so sure of what she needed, there was no doubt in her mind. Her husband and mother didn’t want to take the pictures, but she knew she needed them for herself, and told them so. #1) I admire her so much for being true to her deepest needs instead of doing the accepted “norm”, and #2) I think she truly DOESN’T care if you and others disapprove, because she listened to her inner heart and is at peace with that. I think she was wise and brave beyond her years.

      • SomeChick says:

        It’s all she has left of her baby now. And it really has had an effect on others who have been through the same – or who might go through it in the future. People love to bag on Chrissy, but I think she’s a lot more genuine than anyone gives her credit for. It would be easy to hide out and isolate but talking about it helps her heal.

    • Still_Sarah says:

      I would find her statement of other people’s thoughts not mattering to her more believable if she was not known for being so chronically thirsty for other people’s attention. She lives for other people’s attention.

      • Lisa says:

        Oh dear lord…the woman lost a kid mid way through a pregnancy, cut her some slack just on this ONE frikken thing. If you believe she posted the death of her baby coz she’s “thirsty” then there is something intrinsically wrong that resides within you for you to project that opinion out.

      • Blinkbanana says:

        Hate it when women hate on other women. Please just stop. Engage your brain for a second. What she’s done has brought something very painful and very real into the light, and that needs to continue so that we don’t all live under this constant umbrella of shame for things that are out of our control. The reactions from other women across the world who have suffered similar has been an education. I welcome it.

  3. Katie says:

    I think it was insensitive of her to ask her family (mom and husband) to film when they themselves were in a stressful situation. I just wouldn’t be able to do that even if I wanted the memory. but it’s for her to judge, I wasn’t there and I don’t know these people. otherwise, it’s her life, why not share if she wants to

    • Sigmund says:

      I mean, what choice did she have? She states in the article that she knew she needed this documentation for later, when she wants to remember the child she lost. It’s not like she could wait until everyone’s had time to grieve and then say, “okay, now is the appropriate time to document the death of our loved one”. Grief is hard on everyone, and I’m glad that she knew herself well enough to advocate for herself and her needs. Because these are the only pictures she has of her child, and they are no less valuable to her just because her child did not live.

    • Jennifer says:

      I get what you are saying but those pictures are the only ones she will have of their son. That’s her son’s whole life. I would want them too.

    • nana says:

      Yeah I work with a charity that deals with stillbirth and pregnancy loss we actually encourage people to take pictures, foot and hand prints locks of hair. Study show that having these things helps mum move through the grieving process. It makes the baby was real, because they were.

  4. ennie says:

    I cried with her, relating with fertility issues, having been through a messy early miscarriage alone in the bathroom.
    My mom lost a full term baby in the early 60s due to a doctor mishandling of the birth. She had had a difficult pregnancy, almost lost it early, and when he was full term, she was taking too long to give birth, so the doctor went to enjoy himself during Father’s day. When he remembered of my half sedated pregnant mom at the hospital, he went back running, but my brother was already dead. She had a c-section while sedated to birth a dead baby, and my enraged father took him to burial and my mom could not even see him, it was a mess.
    The pain was with her for the rest of her life. My dad would not talk about it, he hid his pain. I remembered them bth when reading Chrissy’s writing, finding an understanding for my mom’s pain, and my own, which was much briefer.
    Her essay is incredibly touching, and I can understand why she did it. I am grateful that she shared, people throw hate because they feel she is the wrong messenger, probably, many of those attacking are from opposite political views, so their hate is not objective.
    I disliked when the Duggars showed a picture of one of their last babies, who they lost, I think it was because (even if painful), I sensed that they make money off them, make an ongoing show out of their children, grandchildren, etc. This pictures of Chrissy were, to me, different.

    • MissMarierose says:

      I am so sorry for your loss.

    • CooCoo Catchoo says:

      @Ennie, I am so very sorry for your loss, and for your parents’ loss. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • GrnieWnie says:

      I so know what you mean about the Duggar photos–those turned me off, too. They seemed to serve a political purpose: “See, we’re having a funeral for this fetus because we are PRO-LIFE.” It was gross.

      I didn’t realize Chrissy had a placental abruption. I had one, and it involved the sort of medical mistreatment your mom experienced. I felt so alone afterwards. It’s very isolating. Other mothers can’t relate, and most don’t really want to listen (often out of their own fear, IMO). I think it’s positive that she chose to share hers.

  5. MissMarierose says:

    I think if it helps her remember her son and get through the grief, I have no reason to judge her for it.
    I think that if posting those photos or that essay helps just one woman (just one) who is going through the same unimaginable pain to understand that she’s not alone, then it was worth it.
    I think everyone else who mommy shames her in this difficult time needs to take a long hard look at themselves.

    • Sigmund says:

      Well said. I can’t even imagine how much pain she is still in, and the pain other women like her have experienced. We all need to practice a little compassion and allow these women (and their families) the space to grieve as they need to, without anyone passing judgment on them for it.

      • HoofRat says:

        I’ve seen (and experienced) so much grief-shaming. If you don’t like the way someone is mourning, unless they are harming themselves or others, then STFU. It’s not the job of the bereft to make others feel better.

  6. MaryContrary says:

    I have never experienced pregnancy loss, but her photos and words really helped me understand how devastating and harrowing all of this was for her (and John and her mom.) I am sure that this is helping a lot of women who have gone through this experience.

  7. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I would never ever handle this kind of situation like she did and is still doing, but I’m not her. I have had friends who were like this however. One delivered a stillborn and actually had the hospital photographer do a sitting. Inside I was cringing and couldn’t look at the pics. But they comforted her so who am I to launch personal opinions and be judgemental?

    • Kkat says:

      It’s been proven that it helps the grief process to have photos of the baby and memories to take with you. There are many charities that do this for parents.

  8. Scandi says:

    I have lost five pregnancies and have gone theough IVF in order to get as far as I am now. I am currently almost 26 weeks, and we were supposed to give birth around the same time.

    I was so touched by both the picture and her essay, and I could totally understand where she came from. I think she has helped a lot of women being open about miscarriages. No one knows that I have miscarried five times – it is sooo hard to talk about. But now I am going to tell my family, coworkers etc. When the time is right,

  9. MomOfThree says:

    Having had a miscarriage, I applaud her bravery. After the miscarriage, I had family members say I wasn’t really pregnant and that it wasn’t really a baby. It was something that needed to be swept under the rug and not spoken about. It was the most stressful time in my marriage – even worse than when we had a house fire. My husband didn’t understand my grief as this was a ‘surprise’ baby and we had taken measures not to get pregnant that obviously didn’t work. I understand her grief and am amazed she was able to document such a brutal time.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      Holy cow. That’s awful! Sometimes it’s family who does us in. I’m sorry you had to go through that.

    • Nikki* says:

      I’ve been married almost 40 years, and unfortunately, I remember the times my husband “didn’t get it”. Sometimes that feels even lonelier than being alone! I can’t believe your family was so unfeeling and unsupportive also, though. Please accept our very belated condolences and “hugs”.

  10. STRIPE says:

    I cannot express how disgusting it is that anyone would shame her for the way she handled any part of this situation. It is truly vile and we weren’t immune to it here- even now on this very post which is insane to me after her very clear explanation.

    If you are here to say that you disagree with what she did or say she should have done it differently, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    • Kate says:

      Agree, and I might add that even saying “I wouldn’t do that” is in itself kinda judgy, depending on how you say it. Like imagine you are at someone’s house for dinner and they pass you a platter and you say to them “Oh I wouldn’t have cooked it like that”. Unless you’re following it up with a “your way is so much better” or “I really like it” then it’s a pretty passive aggressive insult.

      • STRIPE says:

        Totally and great analogy you used. If you wouldn’t say that about a friends cooking, don’t say it about a someone’s stillbirth experience.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        Yup. It’s very judge-y. It’s a sneaky way to get in a judgmental comment. Very passive aggressive.

      • Sigmund says:

        I agree, and I’ve noticed some of the “I wouldn’t do that” comments sneaking in here. People need to stop with those kind of comments. Full stop. It’s not about what you or I would do in those situations. A real family is grieving, and there are women who have lost their own children reading these comments. Accept that grief is hard, and it’s not appropriate to just say “I wouldn’t behave this way BUT”. That’s still judgment.

    • SomeChick says:

      I agree. Scrolling is free! And not clicking or posting just to be mean is also free.

  11. Kate says:

    I cried when I got to “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 Luna and Miles.”

    Just really well said and helped me to really understand how documenting their son’s birth and death helps some people. This is such a trauma that they will carry with them forever whether they had pictures or not, but by being able to look at the pictures they will be able to keep processing it instead of burying it deep inside and trying to forget the pain.

  12. Amaria says:

    Everyone can grieve the way they see fit – it’s THEIR grief.
    That being said, if you don’t care about opinions, you don’t participate in social media, honey. If you need to put your stuff out there, you want applause. Which is fine and human, just don’t be a hypocrite.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      She is not being a hypocrite. She put it out there to possibly help someone.

    • AMA1977 says:

      I say and do things all the time because they are important to ME, and not for the benefit/opinion/praise/condemnation of any other person. I applaud her for using her immense platform to raise the profile of grieving parents who have lost a child in this way. It is not spoken of in our society, and those going through it often feel isolated and ashamed. I think it’s entirely likely that Chrissy decided that this was important to her, and that social media was the widest/best resource for her to spread that message. I believe her when she says she doesn’t care what anyone says about it.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      You called her “honey”? Seriously, on THIS post???

      Everyone knew she was pregnant. Everyone was going to know she was not pregnant eventually. There was no getting around putting “stuff out there”. Maybe it was easier for her to address it in social media than to have to deal with people asking how the baby is doing over and over.

      Women do no need to pretend that miscarriages do not exist.

  13. Case says:

    Good for her for not caring what people say. Those photos were for her family and for families she felt it could help. Everyone else doesn’t matter.

  14. Bonnie says:

    I work in end if life. Documenting these moments through photos can be an incredibly powerful way to feeling and healing. And, when people ask what happened, you don’t have to relive your trauma through stories, you can simply share the photos.

    One of the things I’ve learned is to capture as many mundane happy moments as well. There is a comfort in reliving the times when the dog slept on your lap or your mom grabbed your hand.

    • BeanieBean says:

      I really like your second paragraph, Bonnie. Also, thank you for what you do. I really appreciated the hospice nurses and social workers who helped me when my mother was nearing the end (due to cancer).

  15. Hyrule Castle says:

    The only person who’s feelings mattered were Chrissy’s. Same as any other time in a delivery room. It’s about the person giving birth. Other people don’t come into consideration, not even the father. Her body, her pregnancy, her birth, her feelings.
    We all talk a good game about women’s rights, but then post the internalized misogynistic comments like some have here.

    No one else mattered, it was about her, her pregnancy, her body, her loss, and what she needed to get through delivering a child who wasn’t going to survive. Whatever she needed: to cry, scream, pictures, whatever.
    And it sounds like her mom and husband understood that, thank goodness.

    • Betsy says:

      This. Yes, her husband and mother will grieve the baby in their own way, but it was *happening* to her. She was the one who was pregnant, she was the one who was bleeding, she was the one who had to labor, she was the one who pushed her baby out, she was the one whose milk would come in for a baby who wasn’t there.

      I think her sharing these pictures is an amazing gift. So many people still don’t take pregnancy and fetal death seriously and it so, so is.

  16. Nire says:

    I truly applaud her for those photos. So many go through this and we bury it like it’s something to be ashamed of… 6 of my friends and I became pregnant with our firsts around the same time, only 3 carried to term.

    We complain that celebrities only post photos that flaunt their wealth, beauty and lavish lifestyles… Thank you Chrisy for showing that money and fame do not make you immune to suffering.

  17. NicDix says:

    If others thoughts didn’t matter, she wouldn’t be so quick to answer. I am sorry for her loss but the attention seeking is just massive with her.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      Yes you sound very sympathetic and understanding…

      • NicDix says:

        Both things can coexist. I am sorry for her miscarriage and she is a massive attention seeker. My thoughts and opinions are just as valid as yours and anyone else’s on this board. Good day!

    • ennie says:

      She wasn’t “quick” to answer, she wrote an essay, and she addressed that point while telling her story, the essay is not a justification, it doesn’t read like that.

    • Nelly says:

      NicDix – i agree with you 💯 percent

    • Sigmund says:

      Your thoughts and opinions can be valid, but they don’t always need to be shared. Chrissy has made it very clear that her message was for women and families who have experienced a loss as she has. If that’s not you, then you don’t need to tell us that. There ARE people who have gone through losses like this. It’s not the place of you or I to police Chrissy for how she handles her grief. And calling her “attention seeking” for posting about her loss IS policing her grief.

  18. Valiantly Varnished says:

    I read her essay yesterday and it was so genuine and honest and heartbreaking. And Im so glad she said what she did about the photos. No one gets to gatekeep someone else’s grief.

  19. mellie says:

    I never went through anything like this, I would never want to and I have absolutely zero business judging how anyone gets over this…whether she posts photos, essays, tweets or puts it on the nightly news, whatever gets this family through it in a healthy way…it’s not up to me. Her essay and her instagram posts have brought me to tears…I am a Chrissy/John fan though, so I may be a bit biased, I guess, but this is just terrible for their little family no matter what. I hope they are doing ok.

  20. Sam the Pink says:

    Most people who disliked the photos criticized them because they said such a thing should remain “private.” What that really means is “this makes me uncomfortable, so I think you shouldn’t show it.” Personal discomfort is not a reason to ask somebody to not share. The photos ARE hard to look at (for me at least) because they hit close to home, because as woman, as a mother, I can’t fathom the grief of it. Or how it must feel. It makes you count your blessings and contemplate that others are not so lucky. They ARE uncomfortable photos, but that isn’t grounds to complain. If you don’t like, don’t look. It’s not that hard.

  21. Spicecake38 says:

    Her essay speaks to my heart,the part of my heart that will always be broken because 15 years ago I became deathly ill during my second pregnancy.We wanted this baby,planned pregnancy,loved our then two year old daughter so much we just knew we wanted another.I have an autoimmune disease and it flared on me and I was going to die very likely,had; to choose to terminate at 20 weeks.We don’t have pictures of the moments before but do have ultra sound pictures and a sweet chaplain and caring surgeons made sure that my baby’ remains were baptized and he has a birth/death certificate.I never go a day not thinking of him,and wish I had expressed my pain more because many friends and family act like he wasn’t real or something…ironic though that those who said he wasn’t real are also antiabortion… I let him go knowing I had to stay and live to be a mother to my daughter.I don’t judge her decisions to share pictures at all.Im not a huge fan of hers but this I applaud,her essay spoke to me.
    Condolences to them and thank you for sharing.💗

  22. Mel says:

    Taking photos or posting on line about it is not my thing. I admit that I gave her a little side-eye when I initially saw them, but if this is how she get through it and remembers her son, leave her to it. Everyone is different, people need to remember that .

  23. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t really like Chrissy Teigen, but… My mother had multiple miscarriages and we also lost my second sibling when she was only three days old. It was gruesome and rough. I knew it hurt my mother a lot, but we all never really talked about it. I’ve never wanted to have children myself. We have one picture of one of the miscarried children, named John Peter, as he was the farthest along. It means more than I could express to be able to see him and see a picture.

    There’s a lot of unexpressed grief and pain in women’s lives. To be able to share it and be respected and embraced by your community, and supported, rather than told to repress any suffering or complaint, is best for women’s health.

    So when she shares these pictures, normally I agree that she is all about self-promoting, but this is a lot deeper.

    • Amber says:

      I feel the same way about Chrissy–in general I’m not her biggest fan. But I have so much respect and gratitude for her for sharing her story. It was courageous and honorable for her to share this experience, as it will help other women who have gone through pregnancy loss feel seen/feel less alone. And she’s entitled to grieve however she wants to.

  24. Isa says:

    I posted a photo of my baby and I worried that people would talk crap, but at the end of the day I just wanted to talk about my grief. And talk I did to the women that have been there that reached out to me. I just wanted to talk and talk and talk and it’s hard when you realize your partner is going through their own grief process AND is worried about you. Chrissy also has little ones at home to put on a brave face for that have just learned that their baby brother died. I know that it’s okay to be sad in front of our kids, but the level of despair that I felt, well it took a lot of emotional energy to feel like I wasn’t going to traumatize them. So late at night I would read and cry. And I hope Chrissy is able to get some solace from the women reaching out to her like I was.

  25. EviesMom says:

    I applaud Chrissy & her decision to share her life. I didn’t realize how common miscarriage was until I had my own in my second trimester. Sharing my story was a bonding moment, a normalizing of my families grief. If I’d had pictures I might have shared them. People need to stop policing other people’s grief because it makes them uncomfortable. Look away if you can’t bear witness & keep your opinion to yourself.

  26. You go, girl says:

    She can have it both ways, tbh. There’s no need to project a tough exterior, a “idc about you b-tches” when that’s obviously not true. I mean, she’s one of the thirtiest out there.

    By this I don’t mean her messages is insincere. What I mean is that I’m disappointed that we as a society have to put on tough exteriors and deny emotions, instead of admitting something is hurting us and that emotional pain is very important.

    I don’t believe her when she says she doesn’t care about what people think. I wish we lived in a world where she could say “actually, yes, it bothers me that people write awful things about me as I am processing my grief or doubt my intentions.”

  27. Miss America says:

    My husband and I had a very similar experience with our first baby, having to medically terminate a very wanted baby at 28 weeks for various health/viability reasons. It was the most traumatic experience of my life. It’s been nearly four years, and the grief has changed in expression, but it’s definitely still present. I think about our daughter and my experience all the time. Grief is so nuanced, and no two people will ever express or feel it the same. I wish her nothing but comfort and I applaud her for speaking about such a private topic. The amount of times I heard “you’re still young, you’ll have another one” or similar comments, would make your head spin. But whenever I met someone who’d lost a baby, too – they got it. They just usually hugged me or something. And the amount of babies lost is quite staggering, people just don’t talk about it because it usually makes OTHER people uncomfortable. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t express our grief, just to coddle those it makes uncomfortable.