Our son Henry was stillborn on 2nd May 2014 at 38 weeks. We found out two days earlier that he had passed away. So for the last three (and a bit) years, we’ve been navigating a very different experience from the one we had imagined as first time parents.
We went from having a nursery all set up, excited and ready for our son’s arrival, to being completely broken, our lives ripped apart in the time it takes you to click your fingers. It’s difficult to put into words what the change of life’s path does to you, or how you keep going – but I’m going to give it a try.
One thing I knew very quickly, even in our darkest days immediately after Henry died, was that this was not going to break us. We would come through it, we would emerge stronger, and we would throw our energy into making sure that less parents have to walk the path we’re walking – and making sure that the parents that did have to walk it would be given the best support available to them. A big part of that is helping the professionals caring for them to do so as effectively as possible.
Our son Henry is buried under a pine tree, and pine cones have become our symbol for him. Hence this blog is called ‘Pine Cones and Study Days’. I believe that name captures the two strands of the journey of grief that we’re on – as parents to our son (the most unconventional type of parenting, parenting when your child isn’t with you) AND as volunteers (activists, warriors, mouthpieces, call it what you will) striving to raise awareness of the devastation of baby loss and to push society to learn to deal with it better. So I have ‘Pine Cones’ to talk about one aspect of our journey and ‘Study Days’ to record the other.
Over the next few weeks I’ll try and share aspects of our journey up to this point, things we’ve done, lessons we’ve learnt, and people we’ve met along the way. Then I’ll keep going, because the work that needs doing in this cause will never be finished. In amongst all that, I am sure our perspective will change and our lives will continue to change, and I’ll try and record all of that along the way.