When Meghan Markle announced she and Prince Harry were expecting their first child in 2018, headlines around the world would be quick to point out that, because she was 37, her pregnancy would be categorised as "geriatric."
While simply the medical term for a woman who falls pregnant over the age of 35, it's an example of terms that are not only offensive but undermine women in the process—something Chrissy Teigen is now wishing to change.
After having been vocal about her own miscarriage, announcing she and husband John Legend had tragically lost their third son, Jack, in 2020, Teigen is teaming up with motherhood app, Peanut, to change the way the world talks about expectant mothers over 35, and the use of other outdated terms, too.
Teigen shared a video on the app of a woman recalling being told by her doctor that her pregnancy was classified as "geriatric", with the woman telling the camera: “I just can’t help but feel really inadequate and guilty right now that I’m lacking as a woman because I decided to pursue the things I love and build my career,” the Peanut user said. “It’s really unfortunate that the term ‘geriatric’ mum doesn’t take into account that a woman’s mental health is just as important as her physical health and I deserve to feel hopeful and empowered and instead I just feel so shitty right now.”
In response, the Cravings By Chrissy founder wrote: “This poor woman. Why are terms like ‘geriatric mom’ still being used in 2021? There is so much language that is not only offensive, but undermines women!”
The tweet sparked a conversation between other women, and the language—whether pregnant or not—that has made them feel shame or judgement.
“Brings back memories of that time I was 42 and pregnant for the first time. My GP was tired of seeing genetic surprises and proceeded to scare the shit out of me. I swear she was relieved after I miscarried. Because, you know, it was all about her," wrote user Laura Tucker in response.
Halle Tecco added, “For the love of god can they please not call miscarriages ‘spontaneous abortions’.”
Inspired by the conversation, Teigen has joined forced with the app to create 'The Renaming Revolution' where women on the Peanut app will join forces with linguists and medical professionals to develop a new glossary of terms to be used when speaking to a woman about motherhood, hoping to replace terms like 'failed' pregnancy' with language that actually reflects modern motherhood.
“A huge reason I have spoken about my personal experiences publicly was the immense need to destigmatize the way we talk about all stages of motherhood,” Chrissy said about the partnership.
“When I saw the woman sharing her own story on Peanut, it made me realise so many women everywhere are made to feel shame or undermined, just like I did, and that has got to stop. I’m so hopeful with this new project we are working on and I can’t wait to see real change come from it.”