'My wife died in childbirth – writing about grief saved my life'

After the death of his ‘soulmate’ wife during childbirth, Ric Hart struggled to see how he could carry on.

The 39-year-old was also left to raise their newborn son, Hugo, alone – but says he thought about suicide several times following Jade’s death in July 2018.

An inquest into her death later found that Jade’s umbilical cord had been ‘pulled at least four times by a doctor when her placenta had not separated’ – which resulted in the mum’s uterus being turned inside out.

She also suffered multiple cardiac arrests, brain damage and organ failure, with her care described as ‘truly exceptionally bad’ by the coroner.

After she passed away, Ric – from Doncaster, South Yorks – was forced to give up his job to become a full-time dad to little Hugo, but started to spiral into grief.

The dad said: ‘Two days after Jade died I was holding my son and driving the car back home on my own. How does a man come back from that?

‘There were points in August and October 2018 where I didn’t want to live any more.

‘But I had to find a way. I started running 10 or 12 kilometres on two or three hours’ sleep but I was just running away from my grief.

‘At the start I didn’t have a clue how to look after Hugo and my only focus was giving him milk every two hours.

‘I literally didn’t care about anything apart from Hugo’s sleep and milk.

‘It was pure survival mode. I was staring at him sh*tting myself thinking “is he okay? Is he breathing?”‘

It wasn’t until the dad started writing books in March 2020 that he found an outlet for this pain. It was also an unexpected pastime for Ric, who received a grade C in his English GCSE at school and was diagnosed with dyslexia in 2022.

‘I find it hard to read, understand words and write well so it’s not my strength at all. But the words just flowed out of me,’ he added.

Now Ric has five children’s and two adult books to his name – the second of which, Growth Through Grief, is out on July 8.

He said: ‘Now I can stand tall and call myself a widowed warrior.

‘My new book Growth Through Grief came together in September and October 2022. It was a horrific year because of Jade’s inquest.

‘It is a 50-month snapshot of my grief journey that has monthly portraits of my thoughts, feelings and how I processed something that should not have happened.’

What’s more, all proceeds are going to Widowed and Young, a charity that supports people aged 50 and below who have been bereaved.

Ric adds that rather than being bitter about the nature of Jade’s death, his books are an outlet for ‘healing and self-therapy.’

He said: ‘I feel so fortunate to be a full-time dad for Hugo. It’s important to find a way to be a kid again when you’re a dad and to be present in the moment.

‘Your life literally becomes all about their laughter. For any father in any circumstance, nothing else should matter.’

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