A Scots mum said her world came crashing down after she lost her unborn baby at 35 weeks.
Julia Hale, from Edinburgh, has told of the devastation she felt after finding out her son’s heart had stopped beating at her last scan.
The 39-year-old said she and her partner Chris’ life simply “crumbled” before she spiraled into “anxiety and denial”.
Heartbroken Julie said it wasn’t until she got counseling that she finally ‘cried for the first time’.
She is now encouraging other bereaved parents to speak up about their struggles after receiving crucial one-to-one advice from capital-based charity Held in our Hearts, reports Edinburgh Live.
However, she said the feeling of ‘helplessness’ at her situation in 2016 will always be carried with her following the traumatic experience.
Julia recalled: “After a quick and intense labour, our perfect boy was placed into my arms in a room full of silent tears.
“At 35 weeks pregnant, we heard those dreadful words: ‘I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat’.
“My world crashed around me as I began to process the fact that our baby wouldn’t be coming home.”
The mum, who recently switched from working in retail to a career in early years education, said she had to “swallow her tears” before reaching out.
She also recalled the heartbreaking impact the tragic death had on the rest of her family.
“The first few weeks, I was heavily in denial,” she said.
“I spoke of Caius and the birth so factually, the depth of my loss was too big to bear.
“I had a three year old who had just lost the brother he was so excited to meet, who was so proud of him and wanted to tell everyone about his baby who is dead.
“I held it together and swallowed the tears, time and time again, but eventually, I broke.”
Julia contacted Held in our Hearts having previously attended several support groups with the organization.
The capital charity works with both hospital and community support professionals to bridge the isolation gap between bereaved families and provide critical care for coming to terms with their loss.
“I began suffering from severe anxiety, I didn’t recognize myself anymore,” Julia recalled.
“I was nervous the first time I walked through the door, but my counselor was amazing.
“She listened to me and I felt so validated for the first time. It took some weeks for me to let the barriers down fully, eventually I let myself cry, and the tears didn’t stop.”
She added: “Grief had changed me, and I didn’t know how to be me anymore, but with the counsellor’s support, I put myself back together.”
Julia admitted she thinks about little Caius ‘every day’ but now says she is “immensely proud” of the ‘legacy’ he has helped leave.
The family has since signed up to the charity’s ‘It Takes 2, It Takes You’ campaign – which challenges couples to perform daily yoga poses and post the results on social media in an effort to raise money to support their vital work.
Julia said: “I will always miss Caius, but I am now accepting of the life I have and I feel immense pride in the family I have and the legacy Caius leaves with us.
“I have a new career, which I don’t know if I would have embarked on without the confidence that I gained in my abilities through counselling.”
She added: “Held In Our Hearts helped me rebuild my life brick by brick, and their support has helped my marriage, my self-belief as a mother, my career and my relationship with myself.”
A fundraising campaign for the charity can be found here.
Don’t miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond – Sign up to our daily newsletter here .
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.