Norwich mum opens up about the taboo surrounding baby loss

The Seabrook family at Dylan's grave. Picture: Seabrook family

The Seabrook family at Dylan's grave. Picture: Seabrook family - Credit: Archant

Bryony Seabrook, of Sprowston, Norwich, is an advocate for raising awareness of baby loss. Here she opens up about why more needs to be done to open up conversations:

As we celebrate all of the incredible women around us this International Women's Day, there is still something that isn't celebrated enough.

Our ability to suffer unimaginable loss and sorrow and still provide nurture and hope.

Right now, more than ever after the crazy two years we’ve all had, we need to talk and open up about our mental health. The world feels heavy right now, doesn’t it?

Maybe to our partner. Our family. Our best friend. Or maybe a therapist. For me personally, I’ve come to realise that I need all of these. And there’s absolutely no shame in needing professional help.

The footprints and handprints of Dylan Seabrook, who was stillborn at just 27 weeks, on May 10, 2012

The footprints and handprints of Dylan Seabrook, who was stillborn at just 27 weeks, on May 10, 2012. Picture: Bryony Seabrook - Credit: Bryony Seabrook

My husband and I lost our firstborn son in May 2012. Dylan Benjamin Seabrook, was stillborn and our lives changed inexplicably. The only way I can describe it in all honesty is a before and after. The life we then had afterwards, felt almost like another world. A world where my babies died and I struggled in so many situations. Soon after we lost our second little one, a missed miscarriage, on 24 December 2012.

Happily, our miracle baby, our rainbow (a term used to describe a baby born after a loss) was born in October 2015, Jenson Henry Seabrook. He was five weeks premature and he stopped breathing at six weeks old. I resuscitated him and it probably comes as no surprise to you that I developed PTSD as a result. Ambulance sirens are still a trigger today.

Bryony and Ben Seabrook, with their son nine-week-old Jenson. Bryony works at Savills and the compan

Bryony and Ben Seabrook, with their son nine-week-old Jenson. Bryony works at Savills and the company has raised funds for a fetal heart monitor for the NNUH after Bryony went through a stillbirth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

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In 2020, we finally felt strong enough to try for a sibling for Jenson, but sadly ended in more heartbreak. October 2020 while the world was in the midst of Covid-19, we had to say another goodbye - this time a TFMR (termination for medical reasons). Our third baby was gone too soon and we soon realised that a TFMR loss is even more taboo than other forms of baby loss. A pang of whole new guilt to hold on top of our other babies. The guilt is such a heavy burden.

It got to about September 2021 when I finally crashed and knew I needed to talk to someone other than my best friend or husband.

I started seeing a wonderful lady, a therapist who had experienced baby loss herself.

Ben and Bryony Seabrook with their son Jenson. Picture: Seabrook family

Ben and Bryony Seabrook with their son Jenson. Picture: Seabrook family - Credit: Archant

It’s hard; harder than I thought. She got me to visualise that I was sitting in the chair opposite, telling me her story. Telling me about her three much-loved babies. Asking me if I thought she was to blame, or her body was to blame.

I replied of course not. So why do I hold such guilt? I’m trying so hard to let go of some of this. Maybe I’m turning a corner to try and learn to be a bit kinder to myself.

I need my therapist to help me do this.

I’ll always need those cocktail nights with my best friend too though…

And finally, there are also so many other people who have helped me; the midwife who delivered Dylan and has trained to be a midwife after her own baby was stillborn; my sister who inspired me to start running; one of my best friends living with the damaging effects of throat cancer; and my best friend inspiring me after her own son was stillborn. 

Ben and Bryony Seabrook on holiday in Jamaica. Picture: Sandals

Ben and Bryony Seabrook on holiday in Jamaica. Picture: Sandals - Credit: Archant

  • Bryony Seabrook and her husband Ben have raised over £40,000 for Tommy's, helping families like them through heartbreak and baby loss, as well as funding research into miscarriage and stillbirth. You can follow their journey at www.runyourownmarathon.com or on Instagram via @forget_me_nots_and_rainbows