Christina Perri gets candid about grief a year after daughter's stillbirth: 'This will be the thing that breaks me'

·4 min read

One year after Christina Perri suffered a stillbirth, the singer is memorializing the short life of her daughter Rosie with an album of lullabies and by opening up about her grief.

The 34-year-old singer, who shares a 2-year-old daughter Carmella with her husband Paul Costabile, had already experienced the difficulty of pregnancy loss, announcing that she had suffered a miscarriage during her second pregnancy in early 2020. She later became pregnant a third time before experiencing complications, in Nov. 2020, and on Nov. 24 of that year, she gave birth to a stillborn baby girl who the couple had named Rosie.

"My body was truly, truly broken," Perri told Self magazine while speaking about the heartbreaking loss for the first time, nearly a year after. "One of the hardest parts was having the postpartum body without the baby. Looking like I just had a baby, and not having the baby. I actually would get mad when I looked at myself. It was a reminder, every time, of not having her.”

While Perri had shared her heartbreak about her prior miscarriage, the death of Rosie at 33 weeks led her to a new experience with grief, as she worked to come to terms with the loss of her little girl while continuing to make efforts to keep her memory alive. Through therapy, pet adoption and the creation of an album of lullabies titled Songs for Rosie, the singer has done just that.

"I had to make it almost like my job to heal my body because I had gone through so much, and also my spirit. There wasn’t a day I wasn’t doing a healing thing, whether it was yoga, EMDR [eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy], being in a sauna, eating really healthy. I did a lot of therapy: regular therapy, trauma therapy, couples therapy. I really just did the most I could possibly do," she explained. "I had to integrate the trauma. They say when someone passes away, say their name because you don’t want to lose their memory…. That’s also why I made Songs for Rosie. My heart is broken, but I’m honoring her."

Perri noted that the style of the album copies one that she made after the birth of her daughter Carmella. "I want to make a lullaby record for every baby, so the whole time I was pregnant with Rosie I kept a track list on my phone of songs I planned to [sing to her]. I have Songs for Carmella, and this is the same album cover. It uses the same font. It’s the second volume. Because Rosie is my daughter. And she will remain part of our family forever," she said. 

Still, she questioned if she should go through with making the album after Rosie's loss before recognizing it as a part of her grieving process.

"I’ve been calling grief a house," she said of that process. "When it all happened, I was in one room in the house, and I’ve slowly moved from room to room. The good news is, in my experience, you don’t really go back to a room once you’ve left it, but you’re still in the house. And I’ve been very present in each room, in each phase of grief."

Perri also turned to other parents who have lost babies to feel less alone through the journey, sharing that "their love, and understanding, and compassion, and feeling like I wasn’t alone was a huge part of [my healing]." She addressed the more public conversation that has taken place around loss over the last few years, as celebrities like Meghan Markle and Chrissy Teigen have been outspoken about their own experiences with miscarriage, sharing that it might have helped in Perri's process.

Most notably, the decision to get sober a decade ago has also played a role in Perri's healing.

"I remember thinking, Oh, this will be the thing that breaks me. But then I thought to myself: It wouldn’t take away the pain. I just knew. I think I’d been sober long enough to know it’d be one more problem," she said of the potential to relapse. "When you get sober, that’s your first dose of humility where you’d say, 'Hey, I have a problem.' So I really asked for what I needed and took the time for what I needed. I didn’t realize that being sober this long was giving me some life skills or some tools to get through this. I have to give credit there."

While Perri and her husband have already come up with ways to celebrate Rosie's life on each anniversary of her death — including an annual trip to Disney World to "honor the spirit of a little kid" — the singer ensures that she still has a long road ahead when it comes to healing.

"I’m still sort of in it. It’s only the first year," she said. "We’re just trying to do something beautiful with something really, really sad."

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