On Sunday 7th April, Petals client Michelle will be taking on the London Landmarks Half Marathon in memory of her daughter, Millie and in aid of Petals.  We are so grateful for her support and encourage you all to read her story – it’s heartbreaking but full of hope and show just how significant Petals specialist support can be.

My name is Michelle and I’m 32 years old. I live in Hertfordshire with my husband, Ben, and son, George. George is 9 months old – so I’m currently on maternity leave.

In December 2022, my world changed forever.  I was at my 12 week scan – we were excited to see our much-wanted baby on the screen. I had been very sick in this pregnancy, which gave me somewhat naive reassurance that all was well.  The sonographer spent what felt like forever going from one side of my tummy to another.  Up and down, left to right. And repeat.  There was an uncomfortable silence.  She then turned to me and said: “There are two in there!” I bolted upright and simply shouted: “You are joking!” She wasn’t joking. Ben knew she wasn’t joking either – his beady eye had spotted our two babies on the screen long before it was announced.

That day is, and always will be, one of the happiest and proudest days of our lives.

Sadly just over halfway through the pregnancy, “Twin A”, aka our daughter, Millie died.

I can only describe the rest of my pregnancy as a blur. I felt totally detached from my body. My Twin B, aka our son, George was growing and looking healthy. We couldn’t have been more relieved and grateful for that. However, at the same time, I was carrying my other baby who was no longer alive. I was preparing for a birth and a funeral. I was grieving a devastating and traumatic loss, whilst also trying to look ahead to having my son. A painfully impossible situation.

I carried my babies until I delivered both of them at the same time, pre-term, last May. It was a difficult and traumatic birth. Millie was taken to the “butterfly room” and George straight to NICU.

I came across Petals soon after Millie died. I knew I needed counselling but I felt my situation was so unique, it required a special someone to help me, who was an expert in baby loss.  I found an incredible counsellor through Petals who has given me the space and opportunity to grieve Millie, whilst also celebrating my son.  Ben has also received support from Petals; men are often overlooked in baby loss, so this has been hugely important to both of us.

Sadly our mental health support was limited on the NHS and so charities like Petals need to exist so that those who suffer baby loss can get the crucial help required.

It’s been over a year since my first counselling session and I can say that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I honestly thought I would be stuck in my grief and trauma forever, but I am living my life and I am happy again.  I miss Millie every single day and my heart breaks that George hasn’t got his sidekick with him.  But, I am healing, and that is down to the support of my counsellor as well as my family and friends.

I’ll be running the London Landmarks Half Marathon in memory of Millie.  I am not a runner by any stretch of the imagination and training hasn’t been easy with George to also look after but I am determined to raise as much money as I can so more people can access the help they deserve after suffering baby loss. It’s the least I can do for Millie, as well as for others who have also experienced similar grief.

Running has given me dedicated Millie time. Every run I do is for her. It has also given me a new found appreciation for my body. After my loss, I never thought I could appreciate my body ever again, but my love for Millie has made me run, and I’m so pleased it has.