Sophie’s story: Facing the New Year as a new mum

December 2023

WAY member Sophie was 17 weeks pregnant when her husband Paul died in a traffic accident earlier this year. She shares how she’ll be making this New Year as special as she can for their newborn daughter Poppy …

Man and woman smiling and embracing each other on their wedding day

“This New Year will be my first one without my husband Paul. He died in May this year in an accident on his way to work. We were married in November 2022 so we were only able to celebrate one New Year together married.

We always celebrated New Year with our friends – taking it in turns to throw parties at each other’s houses. Last year was at our house and we had a disco theme. We had the house decorated with balloons and did karaoke – it was great!
This New Year will be very different as obviously we will have the absence of Paul but also because our baby Poppy was born in October. 

It’s difficult to find the balance between still celebrating but also recognising that it will be different and difficult this year. What I have decided to do is book a Christmas Light trail at our local National Trust property with my parents for New Year’s Eve. It will be lovely for Poppy, provided she stays awake!"

"Paul would want me to celebrate the start of every New Year like we always did but it’s undeniably heartbreaking the thought of going into the first year he hasn’t been in."

Sophie recently shared her story with Closer magazine and explained how she was planning to celebrate the festive season without Paul: 

“This Christmas will feel bittersweet but I’ll make it as special as I can for our beautiful girl.” 

Sophie will be spending Christmas with her mum, step dad and brother. 

“I don’t think we will make a big fuss, it will be quite a relaxed day,” she said. “We will have lunch and go for a walk I expect.”

Read more tips from WAY members about how they are facing the festive season this year…

Sophie explained how WAY has helped her 

Sleeping baby with hand on a silver frame with a photo of their dad who has died

“My family and friends were an amazing support but I felt so alone because I didn’t know anyone who’d been through what I was going through,” Sophie told Closer. “Having a baby and giving birth seemed completely terrifying to me but knowing that other people had got through it gave me hope.

WAY has really stopped me from feeling alone. It has given me a community and support network of people who understand that grief and joy can coexist. They help me through the deep moments of grief and also celebrate with me in the joyful times. 

The main difference I’ve noticed since joining WAY is that I’ve realised some of the thoughts and feelings I’ve had are totally normal. So far nothing I’ve felt has been a shock to anyone and at least one other person has felt the same at some point. That really helps me when I’m feeling alone. The subgroup for members who were widowed whilst pregnant and widowed with children have also given me really practical advice and tips on being a new mum.”

Find out more about joining WAY Widowed and Young.

Hear more from WAY members:

A couple with hot drinks and wearing wooly hats stood under a tunnel of Christmas lights

This will be Sarah’s first Christmas and New Year without Glynn, who died on 3 March 2023.

"He was such a fan of Christmas and loved going over the top on decorations and spoiling everyone! He made Christmas magical, and I’ll make it special in his honour.”

Read Sarah's story and how she will be having a 'Glynn-styled' Christmas this year...

Man with arm around woman dressed up smiling

"I suppose I’m facing next year with optimism. I have to get through the first anniversary, but then I have to live my life to the full. I owe him that because he can’t do the same and I owe myself that, because I have a life to live."

WAY member Claire shares how she is facing the Christmas and the New Year with as much optimism as she can since her husband of 20 years died in January…