This time last year, Ben Fogle was on a flight home from Canada, not knowing if his wife would be alive or dead by the time he landed. He already knew his unborn son had died. But after Willem was stillborn, his wife Marina’s life hung in the balance.
What followed his son’s death and Marina’s near-death experience was 12 months of heartache. Now, in the week of the one-year anniversary since that devastating day, Ben, 41, who has two children Ludo, 6, and Iona, 4, has opened up about how it’s affected him for the first time.
“It’s obviously hard,” he told the Daily Mirror. “The one year anniversary means you start thinking… ‘Well, that would be the first birthday’. And you can imagine what he’d look like, because we’ve got yardsticks with our other kids, remembering what they were like then.”
The trauma has left Ben more anxious about being away from his family. “It was a life-changing experience but the worst part for me was the helplessness – because I was on the other side of the Atlantic when it happened.
“I was over in Canada for my grandmother’s 100th and had to get on a plane and come back and was effectively told that Marina would die.
“That was the worst part about it, the helplessness and not knowing when the plane landed whether Marina would be alive or not.
“Knowing already I had lost my unborn son and not knowing how she would be… that definitely affected me deeply for six months.
“I couldn’t be around people, I didn’t want to be social. I became uber-controlling, I just wanted to control everything around me because that was something I had no control over.
“It probably was elements of depression but you get through it, you work through it.”
Both Ben and Marina have opened up about the sudden death of their third child at 33 weeks to raise awareness of the devastating effect child bereavement can have on a family.