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Ben Fogle recalls how the stillbirth of son Willem at 33 weeks almost ‘broke’ him

Ben Fogle has told how the stillbirth of son Willem almost ‘broke’ him – but added the anniversary reminds him to be ‘grateful and happy’ for what he’s got. 

The New Lives in the Wild presenter, 47, and his wife Marina, were heartbroken by a miscarriage in 2008 before having their son Ludo in 2009 and daughter Iona in 2011, while their son Willem was then tragically stillborn in 2014 at 33 weeks.    

In a touching Instagram post, the adventurer shared a sweet photo of his wife and their puppy, alongside a poignant caption which read: ‘Every year I dread August 24th. The date looms like a mighty wave that threatens to hold me under with a suffocating pain.’

‘It is the date we lost our son, Willem. It changed us forever. But then the day arrives and it isn’t so bad. We remember. We mourn. We reflect.’

Ben Fogle, 47, has told how the stillbirth of son Willem almost ‘broke’ him and wife Marina – but added the anniversary reminds him to be ‘grateful and happy’ for what they’ve got. Pictured, together at the River Cafe in London on 17 June, 2018

In a touching Instagram post, the adventurer penned: 'Every year I dread August 24th. The date looms like a mighty wave that threatens to hold me under with a suffocating pain' (pictured)

In a touching Instagram post, the adventurer penned: ‘Every year I dread August 24th. The date looms like a mighty wave that threatens to hold me under with a suffocating pain’ (pictured)

Ben goes on to explain that it reminds him to be ‘grateful’ for what they have, and not just mourn what they have lost.

He continued: ‘I have a beautiful, kind, loving wife and two amazing children. The anniversary signifies sadness but it reminds me that I must be grateful and happy for what I have, not just a sadness for what I have lost. It nearly broke us but we are stronger.’

‘Perspective is important in life. It teaches us the values of love and family and friendship. Don’t waste a single day. Don’t forget to tell those close to you how much you love them. Don’t waste a single hug or kiss.’

Ben signed off the post with: ‘Love, peace and puppy licks.’ 

The adventurer shared a sweet photo of his wife Marina and their puppy (pictured) alongside the poignant caption

The adventurer shared a sweet photo of his wife Marina and their puppy (pictured) alongside the poignant caption

Appearing on Loose Women in March, the adventurer revealed how he felt ‘helpless’ as his wife Marina was hospitalised in another country during the stillbirth of their son.

Marina had been visiting Austria with family when she tragically lost her baby son Willem, with Ben having to rush from Canada to be by his wife’s side.

‘It was hard,’ said Ben. ‘I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself being in Canada and being so helpless.

‘But when I finally got to Austria, which was traumatic in itself, going into the hospital with the children we’ve always lived a very open and honest life.

‘We were told at a very early stage to make sure we talked to our children because the fear of the unknown is far worse, so if we suddenly said he disappeared and was taken up into the sky they would take that very literally. So we told them.’

Marina was on holiday in Austria when she began feeling cramps and was advised by her father and sister, both doctors, to go to hospital immediately.

Ben and Marina had already been heartbroken by a miscarriage in 2008 before having their son Ludo in 2009 and daughter Iona in 2011

Ben and Marina had already been heartbroken by a miscarriage in 2008 before having their son Ludo in 2009 and daughter Iona in 2011

In hospital Marina discovered that had experienced a placental abruption, where the placenta detaches from the side of the mother’s uterus and can deprive the baby of oxygen and nutrients and cause heavy bleeding in the mother.

‘It’s something really unusual’, said Marina. ‘Really rare and it does mean that Willem was sadly still born and so Ben was actually in Canada when it happened it was very difficult for him.’

Ben admitted that he struggles to speak about the loss, but continues to speak out to help all other parents who have experienced similar tragedy.

‘One of the reasons we share this with people is to turn what is a taboo subject into something we have conversations about’, said Ben.

He went on: ‘All of those things you don’t think about, how you’re going to bury your son, how you’re going to tell all your friends, how you’re going to tell everyone when they ask “What did you have” when they no longer see the baby bump, all of those things are difficult to wade through

‘I’ve done some difficult things in my life, but I don’t think anything really prepared me for this. I hate talking about this – but I do for Marina and charities we support and for all the other mums and dads out there.’


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