Why It's So Helpful When Meghan Markle, Chrissy Teigen and Other Stars Talk About Pregnancy Loss

Long believed to be a situation best kept quiet, miscarriages and pregnancy loss are now being openly discussed in Hollywood as stars strive to show others that they're not alone.

By Sarah Grossbart Nov 25, 2020 5:00 PMTags
Meghan MarkleGetty Images

In the history of time, no one has ever accused Chrissy Teigen of being closed off. Or Meghan Markle, for that matter, though the constraints of senior royalty certainly had her trying to maintain a stiff upper lip during times when you could tell she really wanted to shout her truth from the rooftops.

And now they share an experience that belongs to so many but which most suffer through silently.

In a devastating New York Times op-Ed, Meghan revealed Nov. 25 that she had a miscarriage in July while pregnant with her and Prince Harry's second child together, the unmistakable realization dawning on her before she had even made it to the hospital.

While it wasn't an unprecedented revelation for a member of the royal family, Harry's cousin Zara Tindall having lost two pregnancies in past years, the Duchess of Sussex wanted to use her platform to remind people everywhere that you never really know what's going on behind closed doors, even when it comes to the most public of figures—let alone the lone distraught woman you may pass by on the street one day.

"We have learned that when people ask how any of us are doing, and when they really listen to the answer, with an open heart and mind," Meghan wrote, "the load of grief often becomes lighter—for all of us. In being invited to share our pain, together we take the first steps toward healing."

Chrissy Teigen & John Legend's Cutest Family Moments

An oversharer by nature, meanwhile, Teigen has hooked more than 13.4 million dedicated Twitter followers with an unfiltered candor that sometimes has her telling tales from her and husband John Legend's life in Hollywood's innermost circle or just riffing on say, why, 80 percent of her phone's camera roll is images of boobs

So when she learned this summer that she'd become pregnant with her third child, quite unexpectedly, the model and cookbook author long since having given up the dream that one of her monthly tests would yield a positive result, she invited her fans along for the whole intense, chaotic, thrilling journey. 

Even as her updates transitioned from the relatively mundane (how her insatiable cravings for sour candy straws and Blow Pops was actually damaging her tongue) to the decidedly alarming (continued heavy bleeding had forced her into an extreme bed rest), she didn't let up. 

Watch: Chrissy Teigen Pens Powerful Essay on Pregnancy Loss

Admitted to L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in late September, the mom to Luna, 4, and Miles, 2, posted confessionals from her hospital bed explaining that a "really, really weak" placenta meant her growing boy was "the strongest coolest dude in the s--ttiest house. His house is just falling apart." Still, she shared, she was feeling really good and hopeful they could get through this scary stretch. 

Then—in the waning hours of Sept. 30—came the news her followers had been fearing: Teigen and Legend's baby, a son they had named Jack, hadn't survived. "We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions," Teigen shared in a heartbreaking post. "It just wasn't enough."

Some 10 million remarks came pouring in, the responses—disregarding the cruel remarks from those intent on proving what a horrid wasteland the Internet can be—were overwhelmingly filled with gratitude, celebrities and lay people alike noting just how invaluable it was for Teigen to let us all in on something so deeply personal.

Many of her followers were feeling, as Busy Philipps put it, "In awe of your bravery and selflessness in sharing as you have, which is going to help so many women and families."

Because while pregnancy loss is heartbreakingly common—particularly miscarriages that occur in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy—for years it's gone largely undiscussed, parents forced to deal with their grief in private, adding a dose of isolation to an already painful, and often guilt-ridden, time. And so each time a celebrity raises their voice to challenge that stigma, it helps reinforce the notion that you're never truly alone and, perhaps most importantly, you didn't do anything wrong.  


On Oct. 2 it was Kate Beckinsale adding her story to the growing chorus of voices. Horrified that anyone dare challenge how Teigen was grieving ("As if there's some protocol during soul-scouring calamity that, if not observed, emboldens people who do not know her or her family to say how she should be handling the unimaginable") Beckinsale opened up about why she was so moved by Teigen's bravery. 

"Years ago, I lost a baby at 20 weeks," she revealed. "I had managed to keep my pregnancy quiet and I absolutely collapsed inside and no one would have known. There is grief, shame and shock so often that come with an experience like this, plus the heartbreak of your body continuing, after the loss, to act as if it had a child to nurture."

At the time, that overwhelming mix of emotions led her to stay quiet. "It can be the loneliest, most soul destroying period of time," Beckinsale wrote. "I think it's an honour to be allowed into another persons grief, especially with a subject like this which so often puts a woman into that hall of mirrors state of life continuing as if the world hasn't, for you, come to a bloody and terrible halt."

And while this isn't a misery loves company situation, another person's burden not necessarily helping to alleviate your own, sometimes it helps to know, quite simply, that you're not alone. As Claire Holt, now a mom of two, noted after her 2018 miscarriage: "Support is everything." 

Whitney Port

In January 2021, The Hills: New Beginnings star and podcaster revealed she recently suffered a pregnancy loss—her second in less than two years. 

"Timmy and I weren't sure if we still wanted to put this out there," Whitney shared on social media. "I wasn't sure I wanted to relive the pain. However, this time around, I felt differently about the situation. Last time, I don't think I was ready to have another child, and I had different feelings about the miscarriage. This time, I really connected. I was actually excited and enjoying the pregnancy. I envisioned it all. I'm sad but I'm ok and we will try again."

Meghan Markle

In a raw op-ed published Nov. 25, 2020, by the New York Times, the Duchess of Sussex revealed that she had suffered a miscarriage in July, realizing that something was wrong when she experienced a sudden, devastating cramp one morning.

"I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second," Meghan wrote.

Identified in her byline as a "mother, feminist and advocate," the 39-year-old, who along with husband Prince Harry withdrew from senior royal life earlier this year and moved with son Archie Harrison to Southern California, reflected on how the simple question of "Are you OK?"—which a journalist memorably inquired of her on camera during a September 2019 interview—was more important than ever these days.

Meghan reflected, "Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband's heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realized that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, 'Are you OK?'"

Christina Perri

Barely 11 months after opening up about a previous miscarriage, the "Jar of Hearts" singer, pregnant again, candidly shared in November 2020 that she had been hospitalized because the baby was "having an issue." Sadly, two weeks later she revealed that she had lost the child.

"she was born silent after fighting so hard to make it to our world. she is at peace now and will live forever in our hearts," Perri, who's also mom to daughter Carmella Costabile with husband Paul Costabile, wrote Nov. 24 on Instagram.

Hilaria Baldwin

Sharing her April 2019 miscarriage as it happened wasn't easy for the mom of four, but, as she explained on Today, "I wanted to come out and speak about it because it's something that so many people deal with and, as women, we're trained to deal with it silently." That simply wasn't an option for her, the yogi noted in a Glamour essay: "Critics say something so personal should stay quiet. But I want woman to know if that's not serving you, if that's not the way that you'll feel better, you don't have to do that." 

She followed her own advice after suffering a second pregnancy loss in November 2019. "We are very sad to share that today we learned that our baby passed away at 4 months," she wrote on social media. "We also want you to know that even though we are not OK right now, we will be." In September, the mom to Carmen, 7, Rafael, 5, Leo, 4, and Romeo, 2, gave birth to her and husband Alec Baldwin's fifth child, son Eduardo. "He is perfect," she shared in the announcement, "and we couldn't be happier." 

Jana Kramer

Now a mom to daughter Jolie, 4, and son Jace, 22 months, the singer-actress revealed she debated sharing the story of her 2017 miscarriage "for the exact reason why it's a silent struggle. I don't want I'm sorry or sympathy. I just don't want to feel alone." More importantly, though, she didn't want others to feel adrift: "For the women out there who have miscarried in the past and need support and a place to grieve their little one lost or to those in the thick of it like me who are currently grieving and in pain, let us all be there for each other."

Lauren Burnham

Having so easily fallen pregnant with now-15-month-old daughter Alessi, Burnham and husband Arie Luyendyk Jr. assumed their journey to baby number two would be equally as amazing. "A little over a month ago, we got the most exciting news and we found out that we were pregnant with our second baby," they shared in a caption for a YouTube video this past May. "We made so many plans. We bought a new house with more space, we planned how we wanted to tell you all and we envisioned our future with Alessi's little brother/sister. We were planning to share our journey through pregnancy with you, but unfortunately we didn't get the happy story we had hoped for." Crushed by the turn of events, they decided to open up in the hopes that others can feel a "little less lonely." 

Brittany Lutz

Entirely thrilled to discover she and actor husband Kellan Lutz were expecting again this summer, the surprise hasn't full dulled the pain from losing her first child when she was six months along this past February. "You know, obviously it was a surprise losing our daughter at the beginning of the year," she shared in an Instagram video. "That was tough, and still is. There still are hard moments. We definitely went through a lot and I still would like to share my journey in some way that I can in the future."

Lauren Sorrentino

After husband Mike Sorrentino was released from prison in September 2019, the Jersey Shore couple was thisclose to having all of their dreams come true. "The night he came home we actually conceived," she shared on a Nov. 18 episode of Strahan, Sara & Keke. "When I found out we were pregnant, I felt like this is why we went through all these challenges for years and that it was our time and it was our blessing." 

Then, "at about six-and-a-half, seven weeks, I miscarried," she shared. Having kept fans apprised of their journey from their wedding to Mike's jail sentence for tax evasion, "I wanted to share it for other people going through it and, you know, just be honest so that I can kind of heal through the process."

Claire Holt

When she miscarried in early 2018, the actress found herself spending hours scouring the Internet looking for other women who understood her pain: "Someone to tell me that the depression and hopelessness were normal. That it wasn't my fault. That I wasn't broken forever," she shared in an Instagram post. Finding a community of people who could tell her just that inspired her to go public with her story. "It breaks my heart to think that losing a baby feels like something we have to keep to ourselves," continued the star, now mom to 18-month-old son James and weeks-old daughter Elle. "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."

Katie Lowes

Though the Scandal alum calls the loss of her first pregnancy "a very painful, triggering topic," she notes, "like so many triggering and painful topics in motherhood, they really, really need to be talked about." When she initially learned there was no heartbeat, her reaction, the mom to 3-year-old Albee recalled on her podcast, Katie's Crib, "Was like, 'Okay, let's Olivia Pope the situation—let's fix it. Let's make the schedule. Let's get to the hospital....When can I start trying again?'" But after her dilation and curettage procedure, she shared, "What happens is you have a major hormonal drop-off. And I think I was massively sad for about three months and I was only pregnant for three months." 

Nicole Kidman

"The loss of a miscarriage is not talked about enough," Kidman offered as reason for opening up about both the miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy she endured during her nearly decade-long marriage to Tom Cruise. "That's massive grief to certain women. There's an enormous amount of pain and an enormous amount of joy on the other side of it." 

Carrie Underwood

Three miscarriages separated the arrivals of Underwood's sons Isaiah, 5, and Jacob, 20 months. "In the beginning it was like, 'Okay, God, we know this is, just wasn't Your timing. And that is all right. We will bounce back and figure our way through it," she shared in a revealing 2018 interview with CBS Sunday Morning, but she soon found herself struggling to cope as the losses continued. "I have this amazing life. Like, really, what can I complain about? I can't," she reasoned of her successful career and happy 10-year marriage to hockey player Mike Fisher. "Can I be mad? No. And I got mad." 

Michelle Obama

When the former First Lady suffered a miscarriage before welcoming her first daughter Malia Obama in 1998, "I felt lost and alone and I felt like I failed because I didn't know how common miscarriages were because we don't talk about them," she shared in an ABC News interview last year. "We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we're broken." In an effort to do away with that misnomer, she wrote about her struggle and her experience using IVF to have Malia and 19-year-old Sasha Obama. "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."

Beverley Mitchell

"I talk about it often," the actress wrote on Instagram of her experience losing twins in 2018, "because I don't want to hide the fact that it happened, I had a miscarriage. I am not looking for sympathy just the acknowledgment that it happened, because what hurts the most is the dismissal of it." Mom to daughter Kenzie, 7, and son Hutton, 5, she is "incredibly grateful" for her family with husband Michael Cameron, she continued in her March 2019 post, but she's learned to let herself grieve for what could have been: "In my heart I know we are not complete, I so strongly feel there is another little soul waiting to join our family." She wasn't wrong. The actress gave birth to her third child, daughter Mayzel, this summer. 

Kate Mara

No doubt the actress was thrilled when she learned once again she was carrying husband Jamie Bell's baby—a daughter they welcomed in May 2019—but having miscarried once before, she found the experience nerve-wracking and bittersweet. "I was so excited," she shared in June 2019 on Dr. Berlin's Informed Pregnancy podcast, "but also sad that we weren't as excited as we were the first time, because that was clear that it was a very different dynamic."

Joy-Anna Duggar

Experiencing the loss of her second pregnancy when she was midway through meant the reality star had to deliver the stillborn baby girl she and husband Austin Forsyth named Annabell Elise. "We only had her for 20 weeks, Life is fragile and precious," she wrote in an Instagram post. "So thankful the Lord gave her to us for that short time! She will be in our hearts forever!" This past August, the parents to 2-year-old Gideon welcomed daughter Evelyn

Shay Mitchell

The Pretty Little Liars alum used her 2018 loss as a teaching moment for her nearly 29 million Instagram followers. After revealing in a New Year's Day 2019 post that she had "lost the child of my hopes and dreams," she called on others to show empathy. "In the spirt of the new year, I think that we need to remember that we are all on this journey together—in good times and in bad—and to remind ourselves that we seldom really know or understand the struggles and hardships that other people are going through. So, for 2019, let's all try to be a little more compassionate, empathetic, patient and thoughtful with each other." The year turned out all right for the Béis Travel founder, she and boyfriend Matte Babel welcoming daughter Atlas last October. 

Meghan McCain

In the earliest stages of her grief, The View cohost blamed her 2019 miscarriage on herself. "Perhaps it was wrong of me to choose to be a professional woman, working in a high-pressure, high-visibility, high-stress field," she wrote in a New York Times Magazine story. "I blamed my age, I blamed my personality, I blamed everything and anything a person could think of, and what followed was a deep opening of shame." She realized eventually, however, there was nothing she could have done: "Life and death are beyond our power." She and husband Ben Domenech, are now parents to newborn daughter Liberty

Whitney Port

Having decided to ditch her birth control and see what happened in early 2019, The Hills: New Beginnings star was still nervous when she learned she was expecting again, having undergone a a tough first pregnancy and struggling through her first year as a mom to 3-year-old Sonny. That anxiety soon gave way to sadness when she learned there was no heartbeat. "The amount of various emotions I felt in the past couple weeks have been extreme," she wrote on Instagram in July 2019, "from shock to sadness to relief, which then led to guilt for feeing that relief." Now, she continued, "I'm currently in the process of learning to accept that my feelings are valid no matter what they are." 

Shawn Johnson

As a gold medal-winning athlete, the gymnast was used to putting on a brave face, but she felt compelled to share the pain of her 2017 miscarriage, after hearing from others. "I would just sit in front of the computer for hours, reading comments and stories," the Olympian, who welcomed daughter Drew in October 2019, told E! News, "and piece by piece, I kind of built this community that helped me get back on my feet." After witnessing her recovery, husband Andrew East agreed they should open up: "Since our community helped us so much, it's like a way for us to help them."

(Originally published Oct. 5, 2020, at 1 p.m. PT)