Like everyone else in the world, I am a huge fan of Chrissy Teigen. I love her fashion sense, her unabashed love of food, her sweet relationship with John Legend and her general ballsy attitude. I love watching her get into fights on Twitter and I love watching her glammed up for an awards show but most of all I love that both these things seem to come equally naturally to Chrissy. She is an incredibly beautiful woman who is also smart, open, feisty and funny as hell.
In October 2015 Chrissy Teigen announced that she was pregnant. I found out I was pregnant two weeks later. I was equal parts excited and intimidated to share my pregnancy with Chrissy: eager to see her hilarious and honest take on this new life stage and confident I could never live up to her beautiful, hilarious, glowing pregnancy. But I did not expect that Chrissy’s pregnancy would help me through my own.
Lesson 1: It’s about you and your family.
When I found out I was pregnant I was excited and scared and, as anyone who knows me can tell you, unable to keep a secret. My mind was buzzing: who would I tell? When? How? I constantly ran through announcement scenarios in my head.
On the 13th of October Chrissy Teigen announced her pregnancy with this beautiful photo of her and John Legend:
John and I are so happy to announce that we are pregnant 🙂 As many of you know, we've been trying to have a baby for a while now. It hasn't been easy, but we kept trying because we can't wait to bring our first child into the world and grow our family. We're so excited that it's finally happening. Thank you for all your love and well wishes. I look forward to all the belly touching! Xx
There’s no gimmick, no joke, just a candid picture of the couple looking excited and happy and a heartfelt caption about the couple’s fertility struggle.
So I took a leaf out of Chrissy’s book and realised that my pregnancy was about me and my partner and our growing family. I didn’t do any sort of announcement, instead I visited the people who were most important to me and told them in person
Lesson 2: Your pregnant body is not up for discussion.
At what was probably the 3-4-month mark, Chrissy posted this photo of her baby bump:
People all over started weighing in on her body, insisting that she must be having twins. She responded in true Chrissy Teigen fashion:
Then was forced to respond again:
And finally gave up:
When you’re pregnant it seems that everyone has an opinion. You’re big, you’re small, you’re glowing, you look tired – everyone has something to say. Luckily for me, I am not a celebrity and so my exposure to crazy members of the general public was minimalised but, like Chrissy, I learned to be firm about shutting people down. It is none of anyone’s business what size my stomach is and, no, you may not touch it.
Lesson 3: Eat what you want.
Not long after that, Chrissy posted this photo of her sugary cereal craving:
Everyone decided this was somehow their business and started food shaming Chrissy about her “unhealthy” pregnancy diet. She responded with a series of hilarious tweets:
As a vegetarian, I spent lots of time researching and then freaking out about pregnancy nutrition. I even saw a dietician. Then I kept on eating white food anyway because no amount of advice could make me start craving fresh salad instead of plain pasta. It’s easy to feel guilty in the face of Instagram pictures captioned #healthypregnancy but, as Chrissy proves, you have to trust your body and realise that it’s ok give into your cravings some (all) of the time.
Lesson 4: Wanting a girl doesn’t make you a monster.
The next public outcry came when Chrissy revealed to People Magazine that she and John Legend had chosen to have a girl. Vogue looks at the process here.
Chrissy was forced to defend her choice with facts, honesty and, eventually, sarcasm:
This was a big one for me because I also really wanted a girl. And I was pretty open about it. The most common response was, “As long as they’re healthy it doesn’t matter!” Others insisted that I’d love a boy just as much – ummm, I never said that I wouldn’t. In general, people seemed uncomfortable about my having a preference. Unlike Chrissy, I didn’t have a choice but if I had, I might have done the same thing. It made me examine my reasons for wanting a girl. I realised I wanted to share my experiences of being a woman, which are so crucial to who I am, with my child. I felt better for exploring this and, strangely, less concerned about my baby’s sex after thinking it through.
Lesson 5: take whatever help you can get.
Towards the end of her pregnancy Chrissy mentioned to Us Weekly that she and John planned to hire a night nurse. Naturally people got critical, telling Chrissy she was spoiled, uncaring and would miss out on bonding with her child.
Chrissy hit back at the publication for using a throwaway answer as a clickbait-y headline:
Women are praised when they seem to be managing everything. Everyone wants to be a supermum. But new motherhood is hard and tiring and requires you to quickly master things you’ve never done before. Many people offered to help and my instinct was always to turn it down with a breezy “We’re fine, thanks!”
But there’s no prize for doing everything alone and caring for a new baby can be incredibly isolating. So say yes! Yes to the offer of food, the offer to watch the baby while you have a shower, the offer of anything at all. Think about what you need and then ask for it. There’s no shame in getting help and, as Chrissy says of night nurses, they’re “helpers and teachers” and we all need more of those.
On the 14th of April 2016 Luna Simone Stephens was born. It was not, by any means, the end of the outrage (of course not!) but Chrissy’s honest and funny tweets, instagrams and interviews kept me going till the birth of my daughter at the end of May. It’s comforting to know that the experience of pregnancy and motherhood is something we all share, whether we’re millionaires, supermodels or just regular ladies, sitting on the couch eating pizza for breakfast.