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A Soul-Crushing Sisterhood

My heart dropped when I saw the news. With Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s loss of their baby, our loss and infertility sisterhood grew. Chrissy has been very open about her journey with in vitro fertilization (IVF) and assisted reproductive technology (ART). And now a loss. If you look at the photos she has shared,  you can see the devastation in her face. I recognize it. I, too, have experienced the soul-crushing loss of a pregnancy.

One in eight couples experience infertility and a staggering one in four recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. Stillbirth affects about 1 in 100 pregnancies each year in the United States, usually before a woman goes into labor. These experiences are incredibly common, and yet our friends and family don’t know what to do. How do you offer comfort? What do you say?  

First, understand your loved one needs the time and space to grieve. Now is the time to send a note of support, and be prepared to listen and to comfort. Call, leave a voice mail, send a text and/or a note of support through social media. Help your loved ones understand they need time to recover – physically and mentally.

When they are ready, help them go back to daily life. Every experience is unique, and everyone’s rate of recovery is different. Sometimes we need the help of qualified mental health professionals to help us process the trauma. Be available to help your loved ones get help if they need and want it. There are many resources available to help those struggling through infertility and loss. Look online and ask trusted sources for recommendations. Help those you love to find the resources they need.

I’ll be following Chrissy’s recovery just as closely as I’ve followed her parenthood journey. She and John will recover with the help of their families, their doctors, and the more than eight million people, including me, who have reached out online to them to offer support. 

Teresa Barbosa is the founder and chief executive officer of Philadelphia-based Gift of Parenthood, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families and individuals struggling with infertility achieve their dreams of becoming parents through fertility assistance grants and education.

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