I couldn’t fully understand the words my wife was saying when she got home from the hospital and told me we had ‘lost our baby’. I slumped against the wall and cried with her for ages as our 3 year-old son, Idrees, slept.
A scan the next day confirmed the devastating news
In the morning, we dropped Idrees off at the nursery and returned to the hospital for another scan.
Even after 2 initial scans, I was still hoping someone had got it wrong and the sonographer would tell us he could see a faint heartbeat.
The scan confirmed that our baby’s heart had stopped beating at around 18 weeks and there was no blood flowing through their body. We looked vacantly at the image of our child on the screen as the sonographer pointed to the cavity where we should have been able to see a flickering heart.
We had to make some decisions
Over the next few days of our hospital stay, I held Shana’s hand tightly as different medical professionals came to talk to us about what would happen next.
We agreed that I would look after things at home and take care of our little boy whilst Shana prepared to give birth at the hospital. It was the first time she had had spent time away from Idrees and they both found it hard.
I would spend the day with my wife watching her on the phone to funeral directors, Imams and other organisations. I brought food and tried to give her the support she needed. We held each other a lot.
Before the birth we prayed together and asked for strength. The loss of our baby was a chance to strengthen and bond with each other, and with God.
We dealt with our loss differently
We were different in the way we grieved and the way we approached things. Shana wanted to take lots of pictures and spend lots of time with our daughter, who we named Shafia, whereas it was too heart-breaking for me.
When we got home, my wife wanted to talk about it, but I took comfort in moments of distraction. I was the chef in the house, and I found I was most at ease when I made her nourishing food like chicken soup to help her body recover.
Our son helped us through
We played with our son together and found it healing to love and play with him. Idrees could tell his mummy and daddy were sad but didn’t fully understand why. He knew that mummy had lost the baby in her tummy and often asked us if we were happy. His cuddles and kisses were healing, and he certainly kept us busy.
The grief we feel will never disappear
The day of the funeral was the hardest.
Shafia’s coffin was light, but it felt like the heaviest object I’d ever carried as I walked the short distance to her grave. Every shovel of earth that covered her was a burden on my heart and was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
The loss of our daughter is a grief that we will never get over – but, day by day, my wife and I are learning how to be stronger.
Read Shana's story here.