Widowed at 40 with 2 young children


I was widowed in March 2013. I had not long turned 40. My wife was 39.

It was supposed to be another defining moment in our lives. The start of a new chapter that would see us further prioritise family life over careers and all the trappings of modern day life.

I had taken my wife to hospital at around 10am when she was 40 weeks and 1 day into the pregnancy. Our second son was born by c-section just after 7pm that evening. Within an hour of his birth my wife was rushed to theatre and she died within 6 hours of giving birth. She suffered an abruption, which is when the placenta comes away before giving birth. Things then went from bad to worse and eventually she died from an amniotic fluid embolism which had caused her to have a cardiac arrest that she never recovered from.

So I was a dad again and a widower all at the same time. I had to deal with my own grief and that of my then 3 year old. While still trying to stay sane enough to look after both him and my newborn. This was something I could never have envisaged.

A certain amount of clarity came really early on in the process for me though. I knew that if I didn’t get the relevant help & support in place as soon as possible, then things could start to unravel very quickly. An amazing set of friends, family and in some cases virtually complete strangers all helped me to put in place what was needed.

In seeking professional help, I couldn’t find a single place online that pointed me to the various different organisations out there that could potentially help me with all the challenges that I now faced. It wasn’t that there was a lack of organisations, it was just that the information was spread across a number of organisations or duplicated across them or just not quite I needed.

Several years down the line and it’s clear that there are many organisations both at a national & regional level providing various types of support to young widowers & their children.

For many young widowers asking for help or even understanding the type of help that you might need can be difficult. Especially in the immediate aftermath of being widowed suddenly & having to deal with looking after children. Also, for those friends & family members around us who might provide some help, it can be and is hard for them to know exactly what to do. Some people are very practical and will just get on with what’s immediately in front of them but many others don’t feel comfortable in doing this.

For those who are widowed with dependent children, there are many challenges that they will face as an only parent. Some are the same challenges that families with 2 parents face and some are unique to their specific circumstances.

Thus I wanted to provide a single place where information about all of the above could be found. The hope is that young widowers, their friends & family, their children’s schools/colleges, their places of work and other communal groups could have somewhere to go to and be signposted to the relevant information.


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