• Beth Wankiewicz

Christmas without Clay

When Clay died I always knew Christmas was going to be one of the tougher ‘firsts’ we faced, however December has been a lot tougher than I imagined it to be. Clay should be 5 months old now, and as each month passes I try to imagine how he would be, what new skills he would be learning, what his laugh would sound like and how his little personality would be emerging. Even the fact his ‘first day’ face would have changed and I will never know what that will look like, If I spend too long thinking about all these things it can feel like I am losing him all over again.


The 1st December started off with a bang, or I should probably say crash as we heard the news we had been waiting for, 20 weeks after Clay died we finally found out his cause of death. This blog isn’t about Clay’s post-mortem results but is fair to say, as much as you want the results and need them, hearing them for the first time takes everything out of you. It floored us and in those moments as we were told the cause of death, I was back in the theatre room willing them to resuscitate Clay, watching the clock tick by and knowing the outcome wasn’t going to be a good one. For us, with Clay’s cause of death being classified as an unnatural one, it has also started another long journey as we now wait for the coroners inquest.


The first week in December felt like we were walking through treacle, going through the motions of the run up to Christmas without my head or my heart being there with me. Presents being bought (but definitely not wrapped…thank god for gift bags!), plans being made but each moment wondering what our lives should be like now, the Clay shaped void only ever feeling more prominent the further away July becomes and the ‘happiest time of the year’ inches ever closer.


Decorations going up, streams of happy babies and families on Instagram, Christmas movies where 99% of them evolve around a baby or children. Everywhere I look feels a world away from our stark reality. Our festivities have mostly been trying to think of ways we can involve Clay in Christmas, how can we honour our son and parent him through the festive period, hanging baubles on our tree our friends and family have so kindly bought but wishing they didn’t have to be there. Buying a Christmas baby grow I know will never be worn, for it to be hung up in his nursery and destined for his memory box. Giving some money from what we would have spent on Christmas presents for Clay to charity. I’ve not even written any Christmas cards this year, not knowing how to sign them, wanting to include Clay but still being unsure how to do that.


We all know Christmas is all for the children. Having to face that when you know your baby should be here, when we should be creating new traditions with Clay and excitingly seeing him interact with all his cousins on his first Christmas, having photos with him on their knees, the boy cousin that Freddie so eagerly wanted to even up the girl gang that has formed. Instead they had to make do with a picture in front of the tree with ‘Clay bear’ and asking if they could give Clay (his urn) a kiss before they left. This is not the way it should be, but Dan and I are also so grateful for our nieces and nephew who have so bravely and openly embraced their baby cousin in any way they can, its actually the innocent comments from Freddie and Pearl that hit Dan and I the hardiest sometimes. Each cousin of Clay’s I’m sure will grow up to know, love and involve him in anyway we can and the way they have so effortlessly done that so far is a credit to all their parents and our family’s.


We were hoping to end the year on a positive note and be able to share news to family and friends over Christmas that I was pregnant. Unfortunately, on Tuesday 15th December, one day after Clay would have been 5 months old I miscarried at home at 7 and a half weeks pregnant. It feels like some cruel joke to write that, but that is our reality. Christmas without Clay was always going to be incredibly hard, whether I was pregnant or not, but having that news to share was helping us both so much. Our second little bean is now with the tree we planted for Clay in the garden.

After Christmas is over and the New Year begins, a ‘fresh start’ for many people, I know that our love for Clay will never change even when the year does, all it will mean is we will be in a year that Clay, and now little bean, will never be in. 2020 has been a shit year for most of us and I’m sure many will be glad to see the back of it, but 2020 will always be year I gave birth to our first born, the year we got to see his beautiful face and huge toes and got to have those new born cuddles, albeit entirely differently to what we imagined. Part of me will never leave 2020, part of my heart will always be with Clay and in 2020 no matter how hard the year has been.


Let’s just hope 2021 is kinder to us all.


See you in the next one,

Clay’s mummy x



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