Chrissy Teigen is currently in an indescribable state of pain.
After being hospitalised with pregnancy complications, the 34-year-old model and entrepreneur has suffered a devastating pregnancy loss.
In a gut-wrenching Instagram post, Teigen shared a number of poignant black and white photos, including one of her and husband, John Legend, cradling their tiny baby.
"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before," she wrote in the caption.
"We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough."
The expression on her face says it all. She is completely heartbroken. It's a feeling that countless women will be all too familiar with.
I know, because I am one of them.
For many of us, the pain of loss is compounded by the many miscarriage myths that have persisted. In one study from the US, 22 per cent of respondents thought that miscarriage is caused by lifestyle choices such as drinking and smoking and 74 per cent believed that miscarriage is caused by stress.
Another myth is that miscarriage is rare. In fact, it is very common. One in four pregnancies will end before 20 weeks, and one in three women will experience a miscarriage at some point in their life. In Australia 282 women report a miscarriage every day. So why is it still surrounded by secrecy?
Perhaps, in part, it's because it's hard to talk about grief. Friends and family might not feel equipped to deal with the profound sadness of a loved one. On top of this, the secrecy around early pregnancy (many couples still wait till 12 weeks to share pregnancy news) means that it's easier to keep pregnancy loss private.
The problem with this is that when a pregnancy loss occurs, couples can be left feeling isolated. Worse, many women start to blame themselves, and experience feelings of guilt and shame.
If more women open up about miscarriage and pregnancy loss then we can start to break down the damaging myths and instead create a culture of support and empathy.
The Pink Elephants Support Network, one of Australia's leading early pregnancy loss charities, is hoping to do just that. They are currently on a mission to change the narrative around miscarriage.
"It's not always easy to speak up, but we're never going to smash the stigma that is driven by out-dated opinions and based on a lack of evidence, if we're not brave enough to have these conversations and use our voices to be heard," explains CEO Samantha Payne.
Payne also notes that as many as one in six women will experience long-term post-traumatic stress following miscarriage.
"When people don't know what to say, they don't say anything, which leads to a cascade of subsequent problems for those suffering. If you can't find the words, we will give them to you. We have resources for partners, friends, even workplaces to make sure a woman does not have to grieve alone," she says.
What Chrissy Teiegn may not have yet realised, is that today is October 1st - the first day of Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month. The first day of a month-long campaign to #RightTheStory of miscarriage and better support the women going through it.
While she is undoubtedly shattered right now, by going public with her miscarriage, Teigen has just helped smash the stigma.
Her post has already been liked over 8.5 million times. There has been a outpouring of love and support worldwide, including from high-profile celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Gabrielle Union, Paris Hilton and Channing Tatum.
The heartbreaking news of Chrissy Teigen's miscarriage comes at the start of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. So many parents - whether in public or in private - grieve the death of a child gone too soon. Let us pray for their comfort and strength.— Catherine Hadro (@CatSzeltner) October 1, 2020
And from other parents, like me, who know how she feels.
"Oh, mumma. It hurts. I've been there. My Maya's birthday is Monday, stillborn at 21 weeks. Breathe, hug Miles and Luna, lean on your people. Sending you love and healing," said one.
Teigen's brave words won't take away the pain other women have experienced (and will experience) – but they will make them feel less alone.
We're so very sorry for your loss Chrissy, and we thank you for sharing it so publicly.
If you need immediate help, please call Lifeline on 131 114