A picture tells a thousand words, photos tell a story.

I still remember the day we met you.

Photographs Henry photographs of my childhood, photos of me wearing my Dads cowboy hat, photos by the Christmas tree with my brother and one of my sisters, school photos, school formal photos, photos of the years working in childcare, photos much like writing they document my childhood, they show how I have grown, they tell a story, a story of my life….. Bittersweet seeing these photographs they hold some memories, however they remind me, they remind me I never get to document your story in this way, you never got to be here for us to take all those photos, we will never be able to sit and compare a photo of you from one year to the next, to see your changes, we never get to look at a photograph and say ‘remember when Henry’…….. we don’t get to tell your story in that way, instead I sit and I type, I type letters to you, I sit and I cry, trying desperately to remember every detail of my pregnancy, every detail of you after I gave birth to you, every detail of your face your fingers, your toes as I held you. I sit and I feel this excruciating all-consuming pain in wanting to tell your story and hoping you’ll never be forgotten.

Saturday Henry I had to look for some documents and I came across some of those photographs from my childhood and growing up, your Dad and I talked about some of them, we looked changes as I grew, my hair colour over my adult years as we did there was some small laughs and smiles, but there was that sadness in both our eyes, I could tell we were thinking the same thoughts about never getting to watch you grow and take photos. When I was pregnant with you your Dad talked often how he wanted to upgrade his camera, not only for his surf photography but he said to me “I want to get a new camera so we can take really good photos of the little fella” so when I was about 71/2 months pregnant I kept searching and searching and as a surprise for him I bought him a new/second-hand camera that he had always wanted, we had so looked forward to capturing memories with you.

The small amount of photos we do have of you, they do tell thier own story, a story of a love so great, a love that will last forever, our love for you.

Saturday Henry was your Dad’s birthday, another reason it was a bit of a hard day… I woke up on Saturday saying to myself, hold yourself together, hold it together for him. It was his day and despite knowing it would be hard I wanted to make sure I was there for him, making his day the best I could. I fought and held in tears that morning until I got in the shower letting them out, all because before you were born I had planned your Dads birthday already, in my mind I had it all sorted and those plans involved you! Except you are not here and we can’t change that. We had a quiet day at home your Dad spent time working on the car, I spent time planting seeds to grow for the veggie patch, we spent time on the lounge together. Your Dad cooked dinner and then I cried it all came out “I’m so sorry” I cried to him “That you are cooking dinner on your birthday, that’s two years in a row” I cried some more as last year I had been so sick with morning sickness that I was unable to do much then too, the guilt I feel over that… I always make a big deal of your Dad’s birthday and the last two years I haven’t been able to, one because I was sick with you and now because we are grieving you.

The past week was a struggle Henry, but now which one isn’t. I had moments where I felt I could move and keep going and moments where the grief and pain held me hostage. This past week I helped a friend out a little bit with a few things and minded their little boy on the Thursday, we watched ninja turtles, we played Lego, we read stories, he laughed as we read mr tickle. He spent the whole day negotiating with me about a Mario game he wanted and we laughed. It was good to be able to do that spend time there and help them out. There is always that thought of how I would have read to you, I would’ve played lego with you, would you have liked ninja turtles?

Thursday night your Dad was out for a while once he came home, we were both tired, we were both upset, we have both been running on empty.. I still don’t sleep well from the flashbacks, the nightmares, the not wanting to lie in bed as my mind goes over it, it remembers. I got upset with your Dad for having been out so long, but it wasn’t that, I was just exhausted, tired, missing you and wanting you here, wanting us to go back to when we supposed to bring you home with us, I wanted to change our lives to where we had you here and were living as a happy family, not living this life where we wonder how we move though each day. Your Dad he stopped he fell apart, tears streamed down his face and he held on to me, I hugged him tighter. We sat together on the bed “I don’t want to do this anymore” I said to him “I don’t want to do this pain” .. “I don’t either” he replied “we could go together” he then said. It’s so hard Henry we are often in moments keeping the other going and together, but what happens when we both fall apart at the same time.

I woke up yesterday morning Henry and as I opened my eyes, my heart sunk, it’s just another day, another day of living without you here, I never want to get up anymore, if it wasn’t for your Dad I possibly wouldn’t, I do things, I have moments to look after myself but some days I feel like I could just sleep, but what type of life is that. I haven’t been great at eating lately, I try to tell myself to keep moving, keep doing for you, but in reality my broken heart just wants you here.

Last night your Dad was at work, as the night went on my thoughts ran away with me, I could feel that physical ache that comes with missing you, it consumes my whole body, my arms long to hold you, my lips long to kiss you on your cheeks, my fingers long to brush through all that hair of yours, my whole body aches to do the things mums do. I still had to give birth to you, I still had to go through the pain of labour of a full term baby, so my body wants to know where that baby is. I lay on the lounge crying and crying the tears wouldn’t stop ‘I don’t want to hurt anymore’ I messaged your Dad ‘I know that’s why we are going to be there to pick one another up’ he replied.. ‘I’m scared of feeling this way forever’ I said back to him ‘I understand’ he said ‘but we will keep going and it will get easier no need to be scared’, ‘it doesn’t feel like it’ I said back to him ‘it won’t as its still new’ your Dad said ‘I just want our little boy I just want him here with us I don’t want to do it without him’ I typed back through the tears. I lay in bed last night unable to sleep with my whole soul is exhausted.

I woke up this morning when your Dad got home from his night shift, he got in to bed and snuggled in to me and we went back to sleep, I woke a little later quiet silent tears started I didn’t want to wake your Dad, I don’t want to get up I thought to myself, I don’t want to do this anymore, the pain it hurts so much Henry I just lay there, I lay there in tears until Missy decided she would bark and bark for me to get up, not wanting her to wake your Dad I got up got her biscuits put them outside, then I climbed back in to bed thinking I didn’t want to do the day. I eventually got up because I had to, I had a PT appointment for 11am I got up showered… as I drove to the gym tears just streamed down my face, I couldn’t stop them they just kept coming, grief had a hold of me and was determined to not let up.

I pulled in to the car park and dried my face, meeting my PT outside we went in, she started me on the bike I was going to ride 4km, I started trying to stay at the reps she had said tried again, my body, me I was just tired “You are really struggling today aren’t you whats going on?” she asked the tears started again, “C’mon” she said let’s go in the little room and do some tabata instead I stopped peddling and we moved to the small room “Have you eaten this morning” she asked I shook my head “Kristy” she said to me as we had discussed the week before how I had not had breakfast “You need to eat” she said to me “I know” I replied “but I just don’t see the point I just feel awful either way, each day I wake up with the same feeling and its so damn hard and I don’t want to hurt anymore” tears in my eyes. I got through the work out only just as I had felt sick Henry towards the end, afterwards we talked quickly “You need to give your body the best you can right now” she said to me “you need fuel you didn’t have a great pregnancy as you were so sick now you have been dealing with this, your body hasn’t got all it needed for a long time you want to be pregnant again you need to be the best you can with nutrition and food” “I do know” I replied softly “Its just getting harder to feel this hurt”. She hugged me and had to go to her next client.

I left and went to get something to eat as I still had another appointment to attend later that day, I sat at a cafe in the sun trying to soak up the rays I ordered a coffee and a roast broccoli salad with brown rice, baby beets, chicken, pumpkin and asparagus it was nice Henry to be in the sun, to eat something good, afterwards I left and I sat on a big patch of grass by the edge of ocean taking my shoes off and feeling the blades of grass under my feet, trying to ground myself, trying to ground myself when I feel like I am swept up in a hurricane, trying to ground myself when I feel like the wind won’t let my feet touch the ground.

I enjoyed as much sun as I could then off to a psychologist appointment, As soon as I walked in more tears, “I don’t want to hurt anymore” I said, we talked, we talked about so much “You need to take your stick down” she said to me “The one you are holding to yourself be kinder to yourself more gentle” It’s so hard Henry, I always have put a lot of pressure on myself even before you and I still continue to now. We talked some more about your Dad about his grief, we discussed the fact how we both have our own grief, then there’s our grief together as Henry’s parents, then theres both of us trying to work out how to support the other in their grief “Thats very complicated” she said. It is Henry it really is, we talk your dad and I all the time, we are open with one another about exactly how we feel, but it can be so incredibly hard to see the other hurting and to not be able to help, to not be able to fix it, as this can’t be fixed only carried. It can be difficult I told her as your Dad is the only one who can truly know the pain I feel. I sat with her talking and coming to the conclusion that your Dad and I, both of us need to let our friends know more of what we need, that we need company, we need to be included, we need to feel supported and looking at how they can do that. Our friends may not understand, but they don’t have to understand to offer support, if we can somehow communicate the support we need.

I thought as I made my way home Henry, I thought about how could your Dad and I do that, how can we ease the heaviness of this? how can we let others know what we need. We both used to love cooking, maybe it would help if we started having people over for dinner more often, it might mean we will be more inclined to cook, maybe it means sending out more messages to let ask friends if they have time during the week to pop by,  It is hard to know, its hard to tell but we need to do something Henry, your Dad and I need to continue to work our way, we need to ask for help to carry the load where we can even if its only for a short while.

We continue trying to conceive a sibling for you Henry, we continue doing everything that we absolutely can, I am trying to hold on to the hope that it might happen, I try to hold on to hope things will get lighter, I try to hold on to hope that we can do this, but its a juggling act Henry, because this grief we carry is already heavy, so heavy we often bow under its weight and its as though with this we have to hold on to the love, the aspects of hope and I feel like we are not allowed to drop them on the ground, so we are constantly in this state of trying to rearrange them and where they fit so we can keep walking. its such a delicate balance that can fall at any time, and I guess in those moments it does we have to dust everything off and try to work out how to carry it all again.


Author: Letters to Henry

My husband and I live on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia. We are currently learning to rebuild and navigate through life after the loss of our son Henry to stillbirth due to medical negligence in April 2018 and learning to parent after loss with Henry's little sister born in August 2019..

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