Even if you're not a football fan, it's common knowledge that NFL stars aren't often praised for their vulnerability or emotional honesty. Football players tend to be portrayed as tough and unflappable, and one can only imagine the pressure athletes face on a daily basis to appear strong. And that's part of the reason why one NFL star's poignant message about losing his premature son is moving a lot of people — it's heartbreaking, and reminds people that even those we admire deal with incredibly difficult experiences behind the scenes. Warning: This article contains an image that might be triggering or graphic to some readers.
On Sunday, Marquise Goodwin, a player for the San Francisco 49ers, took to Instagram to reveal he and his wife lost their son due to pregnancy complications. Goodwin wrote, according to NPR:
It goes without saying that Goodwin didn't have to share his story and pain with the public. The point is, Goodwin chose to share his loss and "hurt" with fans, and that's what's so moving about it. Goodwin's story of loss is important for many reasons, but especially because his honesty has touched a lot of fans and inspired them to share their stories of pregnancy loss. Considering 10-25 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the American Pregnancy Association, one can only imagine how many parents and families Goodwin has made feel a little less alone and a bit more seen with his message.
Goodwin's wife, Morgan Akamomo also took to Instagram to share her perspective on the loss and to discuss her admiration for her husband. Akamomo wrote, according to Instagram:
Following Goodwin and Akamomo's heart-wrenching posts, countless fans took to the pair's comment sections to open up about their own experiences. Fans wrote, according to Instagram:
Anyone who has suffered a loss can probably agree that grief and loneliness often go hand in hand. When you're going through something tough, it can be incredibly isolating — you might struggle to relate to anything or anyone. The phenomenon of feeling isolated in grief is exactly why messages like Goodwin's are so special and important, because people deserve to be reminded that they're not alone. That it's OK to feel hurt and that it's perfectly fine to be upfront about your feelings. Of course, no one who has lost a child or loved one is required to share their story or a detailed account of their suffering. But opening up about loss, especially pregnancy loss, which goes undiscussed despite its frequency, can be powerful and healing to those who feel like they couldn't talk about their pain.
The same day Goodwin shared the message about his son — the same day his son died — he starred in a game against the New York Giants. Goodwin caught a touchdown pass during the game, according to The New York Post, and he broke down on the field after making the catch:
Many viewers of the game probably didn't understand why Goodwin got so emotional in the end zone, and they likely assumed it had to do with scoring a touchdown. The real reason, however, is way more touching and important, and it shows that the people we idolize are often suffering from tragedies and struggles just like the rest of us. Goodwin is incredibly brave for putting his emotions out there for the world to see, and his honesty has likely helped countless parents.