'How I Came To Hold You' describes the grief, the gut-wrenching heartache; but the underlying theme tries to make sense of the feelings, emotions and challenges that parents face when they discover they are pregnant again after losing a previous child.
I was struck, and still am, about the fragility of life. You just cannot possibly know what is going to happen to you tomorrow. I wrote about this on my parenting blog (excuse the blog name...!). But listening to and reading about how other people's lives have been completely turned upside down has affected me profoundly. Take, as just one example in a million, the tragedy that befell Chad, who writes the blog 'Sad and Chara'. Chad and his wife, Sara, were expecting a baby in early 2011. In a post written on 31st January 2011 he writes:
Well, here we are...officially in the last month...and there's a huge snow storm on the way. Let's all cross our fingers and say a prayer and encourage the Lil' Shrimp to wait this one out.
Just a few days later, in near white-out conditions, a truck collided with their van and killed Sara. Their baby, Miranda, was born but passed away after a short time. In the space of a few short days, Chad's life had changed irrevocably. Nobody can know what tomorrow brings, so make the most of today.
Writing this book affected me in another way, too. Not long after I'd written the last page my wife and I discovered that we were expecting our third child - a cause for much celebration. But, unlike our previous two pregnancies - through which I coasted, excited, and oblivious to what could go wrong - I spent the entire nine months on tenterhooks. I found that I was restraining myself, reining in my excitement just in case the unthinkable happened. My wife became increasingly annoyed at my constant questioning, especially when I asked ten times a day whether baby was moving.
Fortunately, everything turned out fine. Again, I count ourselves lucky: for many parents the nightmare of baby loss comes back to haunt them.
As I said at the start, I am one of the lucky ones. But what I have learnt whilst writing this book - and the strength of those I have met so far along the way - will stay with me forever.