I stumbled on to the photo of Chrissy Teigen in the hospital losing her baby. In that vulnerable, raw, real moment, Chrissy Teigen is every mother who suffered a miscarriage and we love her more for bravely showing the world what pregnancy loss really looks and feels like. I felt it. I felt it in my soul. I’ve been there and at that moment, that black and white photo thrust me right back into those horrible moments of the most devastating seconds of my life. The visceral moments that changed me forever.
It instantly transported me to a place of raw emotion and primal pain. To a moment in time where I felt so helpless and vulnerable that I questioned if living was even an option. At that moment, I was so destroyed that I wanted to disappear because the pain was mind, body and soul-shattering. The loss was too big, it was incomprehensible and almost unsurvivable. That photo of Chrissy Tiegen transcended time and space and in that moment, it wasn’t 8 years ago, it was right now. I was back there, begging and pleading for my baby to live for this not to be real. With the photo below, the wound was ripped wide open, all the air in the room was gone and all I could do was cry in commiseration.
There is nothing else you can do for a woman who has lost her child. There is no soothing or salve for our souls. Our entire world has imploded and our precious baby was the collateral damage. The thought of that kind of cruelty is unbearable, innumerable and unrelenting. All we can do as mothers is hold on for dear life and hope we are not too broken to continue because when this happens, absolutely nothing in our lives make any sense. There is no reason and no rationalization, there is only regrets for things to never come. There is mourning for what will never be and that never ends.
READ ALSO: Surviving the Aftermath of a Miscarriage
I broke on that day. May 1, 2012. The breaking started on April 31 at 10:30 am when I laid on the cold examination table in the ultrasound office and saw the expression on the tech’s face. I’ll never forget the blank, pale silence of her face. The “without words” expression that told me all that words would fail. Words made no sense in those following moments. I heard her compassionately give me the worst news of my life but it was too quick, I couldn’t process it.
I played along and held my breath as she silently led me the back way to my obstetrician’s downstairs waiting room. The silence was deafening. I was sure that at any moment, I would collapse to the ground and die myself. I willed it so. I would have preferred anything to the hellish pain I felt in my soul in those moments. I felt hopeless. My body was betraying me and my heart was breaking and there was nothing I could do to save either of us.
We arrived in the doctor’s office, I sat under the bright overhead lights afraid to breathe, move or speak a word…waiting; suspended in time, enveloped in disbelief before I even heard the words spoken aloud. It was like waiting for a bomb to detonate with no way to escape.
I braced myself to be inundated with pain.
My obstetrician came in, donning that same blank poker face as the tech as she spoke to me with pity and compassion on her breath. She said the words I tried my best not to hear. “Debi, I’m so sorry, we couldn’t find your baby’s heartbeat.” I felt trapped in a nightmare. God, please wake me up and let my baby be alive. But, no reprieve came for me on that day.
How could she tell me so calmly that my child didn’t have a heartbeat. The child I was growing and loving inside my body. The baby we had hoped and longed for since Gabi was born. After that, my mind went numb. I just sat there, deflated and defeated. My world was crashing down around me and my only weapon against self-destruction was to be as quiet and as still as possible and to hope the moment passed and this was all a bad dream. But it didn’t.
The only words I could whisper, after being informed that my pregnancy had ended but my baby was refusing to leave my body and there was no idea when it would happen, was,
Please get him out of my body.
I realize that sounds harsh but my mind was breaking and the thought of holding on was too much to bear.
I wanted to run as far and fast away from this day and those events as possible. I know it sounds cruel that my first thought was to get the baby I lost out of my body but the wait and see if my body would do its own thing plan at almost 11 weeks was more than my mind could handle. I was so broken the only thing I could believe in was rebuilding myself. I’m not one to sit in my brokenness. This break could be the one that permanently left me immobile. We scheduled for the next morning at 6 am. In less than 24 hours, the dream would be irrevocably broken.
What came next, was more than my heart could tolerate. My doctor, seeing my state, and knowing that I had come to this “routine” visit alone, informed me that I must call my husband and tell him because she didn’t want me to shoulder the entire burden alone. She was witnessing my undoing and her only mercy was to demand that I let someone help me. But in that trapped moment of unfathomable pain, I felt shame and failure. My mind knew she was right but …
my heart didn’t want to accept it because once I said it aloud, it would be real.
I dialed the phone, in complete silence. I could barely breathe for fear that I’d start sobbing and never stop. That was the hardest phone call I’ve ever had to make. He knew I was at the obstetrician. He answered the phone, “How’s our baby?” The words stuck in my throat. They were choking me. I couldn’t make my mouth betray my heart with the words. My eyes burned with tears that seemed to be never-ending. Finally, I choked out the cruelest words a mother could ever have to say. That was the moment I turned from a mother losing the most precious thing she has to a feral animal. I ran out of the office to my car as fast as I could and sat there and wailed in the most primal way that I have ever cried in my life. It was harder and louder than I knew possible and I didn’t recognize my own voice in those minutes before I had to leave to pick Gabs up from preschool.
Every Mother Who Suffered a Miscarriage knows this moment of restraining yourself from giving yourself over to the pain entirely in order to be stoic for the people you love.
That’s the thing; my world was falling apart but the rest of the world was carrying on and there was no one else to pick her up from school. The only thing I could do was lose my mind in the car, by myself, outside the obstetrician’s office full of round bellies and sob alone, it was the only comfort I was afforded. I changed on that day. I am not the same woman who went into that office morning. She’s gone and will never return. Then, I picked up my daughter and pretended for the 30-minute ride home that I hadn’t just experienced the most devastating moment of my life. It felt like an out of body experience that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
That’s where I went when I saw the photos of Chrissy Teigen. What I’m trying to say is that I know that pain on her face, many women do, and though we cannot take that immeasurable pain away or make it better, we can hold her up in love and commiseration. She will never be alone.
Tonight, John took the stage and sung Never Break and dedicated it to his wife. I can’t imagine how hard singing that song with the weight of what they are going through right now. My heart goes out to her and John because that is the hardest thing a couple can go through. Wishing them both some peace.
I’ll be honest, when I see those pictures, I see myself and I want to protect her and make the world leave her alone because in the end, the burden of this loss falls heaviest on the mother because, as a mother, we wouldn’t have it any other way. No two people experience or process a loss the same but in the end the result is the same, we are changed for the rest of our lives.
I just hope that Chrissy and every woman who has gone through, is going through or will go through a loss, please give yourself grace, allow yourself to grieve for as long as it takes, feel your feelings and take care of you but be willing to let those who love you a little space to get into your crumbling world and remove some of the rubble, at the very least hold you while you cry. It never stops hurting but the pain does get tolerable. The wound grows a scab but there will always be a scar where our babies should be.
The thing about moms and our hearts, even when it breaks, it repairs and replenishes; it grows. But we moms, we don’t actually break, we just bend really, really fucking far. In the end, we survive and live to hold the hand and heart of the next mother whose world gets blown up and through this inexplicable pain, we become salvation and sanctuary for another woman. This is a small blessing that you cannot fathom when you are in the beginning of it but you will become stronger from surviving it; stronger to help someone else. Your pain will not be wasted entirely. You are a warrior, you have survived the hardest thing you’ll ever need to endure.
Chrissy Teigen, We love you. We are you. You are not alone.