When Chrissy Teigen shared on social media Wednesday that she and John Legend suffered a miscarriage, more than 7 million people responded on Instagram. In replies, stars and fans alike shared their condolences and echoed Teigen’s heartbreak, but some also used the comments section of her post to grieve their own losses and share their stories with the woman they feel they’ve come to know and relate to.
“It’s one of the most horrendous experiences a human being can go through… The grieving and the sadness is unmeasurable,” echoes Dr. Janelle Luk, Medical Director of Generation Next Fertility in New York City and a former OBGYN.
“Not many people want to talk about loss. It’s amazing for someone with (Teigen’s) status to talk about, ‘Hey, it happens to me, too.'”
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More: Chrissy Teigen suffers a miscarriage, mourns loss of baby boy
Teigen, often described as the unofficial Queen of Twitter, had kept fans up-to-date in real-time on her difficult and scary third pregnancy, which landed her on bed rest and in the hospital earlier this week.
It has been nearly 20 years since Patricia Walters-Fischer suffered a miscarriage at 19 weeks, but Teigen’s post still offered her some comfort.
“It’s not just today that the loss happens,” Walters-Fischer told USA TODAY. “She will remember the birthday … We plan that child’s life to the age of 18… Those moments continue to mentally happen.”
She said Teigen’s story will help women who are struggling with blaming themselves after a devastating loss.
“It opens the conversation of heartbreak,” said Walters-Fischer, a 52-year-old romance writer and former trauma nurse based in San Antonio. She and her husband have four children between the ages of 17 and 10, two of whom were adopted after they experienced a second miscarriage years later.
“I would like to believe that this will actually open the door for some women to give themselves peace, because we’ll second guess ourselves for the rest of our lives.”
Video: Chrissy Teigen Reveals Miscarriage of Her Baby Boy: ‘The Kind of Pain We’ve Never Felt Before’ (Health.com)
Teigen has long been a public figure many women turn to in difficult times due to her candor about issues related to pregnancy. She has previously detailed her IVF journey as well as her struggle with postpartum depression.
More: Chrissy Teigen opens up about anxiety, postpartum depression struggles: ‘It was a sad existence’
The raw photos and details Teigen chose to share with her 31 million followers are serving as a source of strength and empowerment for women going through similar struggles with infertility, pregnancy complications and miscarriages, said reproductive justice advocate Renee Bracey Sherman.
“I think that it’s just so beautiful and heartbreaking that Chrissy is deciding to take this moment to let others know that they’re not alone and to grieve publicly,” notes Bracey Sherman. “I commend her so much.”
Teigen and Legend now share two children, Luna, 4 and Miles, 2. The star has been open about how she became pregnant with both via IVF. But even after welcoming her children, she faced more trials.
She shared a longtime struggle with anxiety in an interview with Glamour earlier this year, but said it wasn’t until giving birth to Luna that postpartum depression hit and she realized she needed help.
“It was a sad existence. There were no highs,” Teigen said. “It was a flatline of life for a few months. You hear these horrific stories of people not seeing their child as theirs, or wanting to hurt them, and I never felt that way. That’s why I put off getting it checked as I hated myself, not my child… John was there when the doctor gave the diagnosis and, of course, he already knew. I didn’t know it could sneak up so late or that it could happen to someone like me, where I have all the resources.”
Wednesday also marks the first day of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
“Find a moment to grieve and address the sadness,” Luk says, adding that grief is a natural part of the devastating process. “Just have time to be sad. Use this time to rest, journal, express yourself… Share your experience with a support group. Don’t forget the grief.”
Teigen concluded her post Wednesday with a similar message: “On this darkest of days, we will grieve, we will cry our eyes out. But we will hug and love each other harder and get through it.”
Contributing: Amy Haneline, Cara Kelly
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chrissy Teigen’s openness about miscarriage gives strength to women in similar situations