Karabo Mokoena
3 minute read
2 Oct 2020
3:30 pm

Chrissy Teigen’s miscarriage shines a light on the 1 in 4 women that never get to take their babies home

Karabo Mokoena

October marks Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, and families everywhere are resonating with one family's loss.

1 in 4 women experience child loss. Picture: Instagram

On Thursday, millions of people from across the world were mourning with a couple they usually only listen to and see on their social media feeds.

Prayers and condolences continue to pour in for John Legend and Chrissy Teigen after the loss of their baby, Jack. 

After being rushed to the hospital for excessive bleeding in the middle of her third pregnancy, Chrissy unfortunately miscarried.

Receiving almost 10 million likes, hundreds of women commented on her Instagram post, sharing their stories of child loss. 

The reality is that miscarriage is a common phenomenon amongst women, with 1 of 4 pregnancies ending in miscarriage.

According to Mayo Clinic, “the actual number is likely higher because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that a woman doesn’t realise she’s pregnant.”

Yonela Rasi is a mother of three children in heaven, and she has made it her personal mission to raise awareness on child loss. She also shares stories of women who have lost children, in addition to her own. 

On 2 June 2018, Yonela’s son, Aviwe-Lakhanya’s heart stopped beating in utero. Yonela had to get a c-section. 

One story Yonela covered is that of Phumela Guma who has had seven miscarriages, experiencing her first one in 2011. Her first pregnancy ended at 20 weeks, her second at 35 weeks, her third at 8 weeks, her fourth at 11 weeks, her fifth before her first scan, her sixth at 21-22 weeks, and her seventh 2 weeks after discovering she is pregnant. 

Phumela’s pregnancies did not all end in excessive bleeding like Chrissy. Her last one did as she started bleeding two weeks after finding out she was expecting. Others ended with her holding her dead baby in her hands after pushing her out unaided. 

She was not advised to see her first baby as he had died in utero a few days or weeks before admission. Her son who she had named Mpho (Gift) had changed colour due to being dead in utero for too long. 

Also Read: My son was stillborn, but he still had to have a name

Bleeding in pregnancy is usually the first sign of miscarriage, which usually happens before 12-weeks of gestation, according to Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms of a miscarriage include:

  • Cramping and pain in the lower abdomen and back 
  • Fluid or tissue passing through the vagina

Like Phumela, women who have experienced prior miscarriages are at higher risk of experiencing it again. Age, weight, drug use and chronic conditions also pose as risk factors for miscarrying. 

Also Read: When should you be concerned about cramps during pregnancy?

According to gynaecologist Dr. Hang Tang, some patients will require an operation to manage the miscarriage.

“The operation following a miscarriage is sometimes called a “curette” or a “D&C” (which stands for a dilatation and curettage)” according to Dr. Tang. 

Other doctors either “wait it out” or induce the labour. Phumela’s first miscarriage required an induction, but she was in labour for almost three days before baby Mpho was stillborn. 

Also Read: Covid-19 is forcing women to miscarry from home

Yonela’s Lakhanya Foundation, through the I am 1in4 Instagram page shares stories of women who share similar stories of child loss. Her Instagram page currently has over 100 stories of South African women who have miscarried or given birth to stillborns. 

Karabo Mokoena

Karabo Mokoena is a wife, a girl mom, a writer and content creator. She is the Resident Contributor for Parenty and a Mommy Blogger, creating relatable parenting content for her blog Black Mom Chronicles. You can engage with her on her Instagram and Facebook pages. She is a Political Science graduate, who has worked in Human Resources for most of her professional career. She loves engaging with people, thus her choice to specialise in recruitment. She loves telling stories and sharing her life’s journey to

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