Can We Let Parents Grieve Without Judgment?

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This morning as I scrolled through social media, I saw multiple sites sharing the news of Chrissy Teigen’s and John Legend’s “pregnancy loss.” There was comment after comment and judgment after judgment about how they were wrong to be sharing something so “personal” with others and how they were selfish to take and post photos of themselves grieving with their baby.

Those attitudes, those statements, and those judgments are exactly what is wrong with our society and our understanding of grief.

Can we please stop minimizing the pain felt from a miscarriage and infant loss? Can we please give space for people to grieve openly about it? Can we please stop sanitizing death, grief, and sadness to make it more palatable for others? Can we please stop denying that the death that Chrissy and John just experienced is something that couples across the world face every single day?

Something awful has happened. A parent’s worst nightmare has come true. Their baby died. The baby they named, felt move, dreamed about, envisioned a future for, and talked about with their other children has died. It is real. It is grief. They are allowed to talk about it and express it — yes, even publicly and yes, even though it is difficult to see.

When someone, celebrity or not, loses an aging parent we don’t say they should keep it quiet or private. We don’t balk at them for sharing photos. We don’t mock them for their sadness or grief. We don’t minimize their pain. Why can’t we show that same grace to couples after they lose a child?

The answer is simple — because such a loss isn’t supposed to happen. We don’t want to think about it. We don’t want it to be real. We don’t want to bear witness to such pain. But, we need to do just that.

Grief is grief.

Loss is loss

Death is death

These are the things that remind us we all are the same — celebrity or not, rich or poor — we all lose someone close to us at some point and for a lot of people, that someone close is a child, an infant, or a baby that never gets to live outside of the body.

Please, before you roll your eyes or say “Ew. Keep that private” consider the people around you — your friends, your family, your neighbors, your colleagues. I promise there are people in your life right now who have experienced similar loss and have kept their pain inside because people have told them sadness like this must be kept a secret. I sit with those people in my grief sessions and see the impact that the inability to grieve openly has on them. We need to do better for them.

My heart breaks for Chrissy and John and every other parent that has felt what they are feeling right now — and there are a lot of them out there. I am so thankful to them for being willing to be brave in their pain and to demand space for their open grief.

I hope that some day we all can afford all grievers that same kind of space — the space they need and deserve.

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