Georgina Hayden

Cook, food writer and stylist, and author. This is Georgina.

This is Georgina's story 

'He’s not here and it’s just not right.'

When we fell pregnant really quickly we were over the moon and I had a seemingly perfect pregnancy.

We had a great hospital, I was monitored really well but then, one day, our world shattered. At 38+4 weeks, we found out our son had died. We still don’t really know why.

It sounds so stupid, but we didn’t know this could happen, that a baby could die at the end of a pregnancy for no reason, none of the books, the classes, explain it. I don’t think we’ll ever make sense of it.

Archie was born on May 30th and it was genuinely the worst thing we will ever go through. I now think about my life in two stages, pre-Archie and post-Archie.
Everything was sort of before him and after him.

I didn’t leave the house for a long time.

Everyone told me I should get out, get some fresh air for my own good, but I didn’t want to go outside, I didn’t want to do anything.

You have to do what you need to do. I’d say you have to be selfish, look after yourself in those early days, talk to your partner and find strength in whoever you can.

When you’re grieving, something that seems trivial can upset you, but it doesn’t matter, feel it. You’ve got to be so kind to yourself.

There were people, pregnant or friends with kids, who I just couldn’t see for quite a while but you have to put yourself first. One friend had her 12 week scan on the day I had Archie, in the same hospital. I just couldn’t see her but she totally got it and was there for me when I was ready.

I struggled with feeling angry, bitter and jealous but it really doesn’t make you a bad person. You lost your kid, you didn’t get to bring your baby home.

It’s classic grief, anger, sadness, but more than that.

He would have been four this year and it hits even now, this overwhelming sadness.

I just miss him terribly, and some people don’t understand that because he was never earth side, but he had a personality, he was a little person. It’s also the loss of hope, of dreams.

Our daughter’s first Christmas was amazing but I remember the lead up there was this struggle because you’re still missing your son.

The early stages of grief are constantly up-down, it’s always there but those waves do lessen, time does help.

I talk about Archie and I’m aware that makes people uncomfortable but I don’t care.

My GP called the day after I came home from hospital. As we chatted she said, ‘You’re going to lose friends’, which seemed a mad thing to say at the time but she was right.

I remember in the early days back at work, catching someone cross the road when they saw me. I think baby loss is so unthinkably sad, people just don’t want to talk about it because it makes them so uncomfortable.

I’ve found the baby loss network through social media really positive. I found an online forum where I’ve made some amazing friends. The people who’ve been through it often understand the most.

You have this real urge, this need, empty arms. It’s not replacing the child you lost but you have this part of your life that is missing.

I got pregnant nine months after Archie was born and I was terrified, we didn’t tell a soul. I didn’t have any signs of being pregnant, I was hearing alarm bells then, at an early scan around 10 weeks, we found out we’d lost that baby.

I only told a few family and close friends because I didn’t want people to pity me, I’d lost my son, which was awful, but equally I was still me.

I shut down, felt really angry and bitter. I just couldn’t bring myself to talk about it because I felt people would feel like they couldn’t speak to me. You stop opening up because you don’t want to be seen as miserable and that’s the worst thing you can do.

When I got pregnant, having experienced both early and late loss, it was hell.

I did have complications getting pregnant, we went through several rounds of IVF, and when I got that positive test it was terrifying.

The hospital were fantastic but I’d advise anyone to push for help if they need it. I had 17 or 18 scans with our rainbow, that’s what I needed and that’s okay.

It’s so important to surround yourself with the people that have got your back and do what you have to do to get through.

Having laboured Archie naturally, I really gave myself a hard time about my daughter. I knew she had to come at 37 weeks because Archie had passed away and I really wanted to have her naturally, but I was scared. We settled on a caesarean at the last minute. All that mattered was her safety and I’ve no regrets.

After my son died I remember searching online for anything, anything to cling to because I felt so utterly lost.

That’s why Tommy’s work is so important, helping people to speak up and helping make this taboo subject, which is actually horribly common, more open.

Six months after Archie was born I took part in a photo project which I found really cathartic. It gave me the chance to be creative and talk about him in a positive way and, at the end, I put all my pictures and words together in a book for him.

We had Archie cremated which meant there was no headstone, his name wasn’t written in the world and I really wanted it written somewhere.

We’ve got a memorial bench in a lovely garden in central London next to the tree where my husband proposed and it’s beautiful. We’ve done many things over the years, I wrote a book and dedicated it to him, but his bench is one of the most special things. It’s a place where he is named in the world and that provides me with loads of comfort.