Mom Creates a Heartbreaking Newborn Photo of Her Son and His Twin’s Ashes
“I will always have an empty space in my heart for him."
A year ago, Cherie and Hayden Ayrton were planning the arrival of their twin boys. However, a few months later, the couple headed home from the hospital with just one baby boy. After the tragedy of losing one of her twins, Cherie said her life was forever changed. She chose to honor both boys in a dramatic and heartbreaking photo shoot that has touched thousands of parents who suffered the same loss.
According to Cherie, a sonogram in December of last year showed that one twin no longer had a heartbeat but the other twin was thriving. Doctors told the Cherie and Hayden that to ensure the safety of the surviving twin, she would need to carry both to full term. "My worst nightmare had become my reality,'' Cherie wrote on Love What Matters. "I will always have an empty space in my heart for him."
In early May, she gave birth to both boys. With her husband and three other children by her side, she named the little boy that survived Tiger and the little boy they lost Johnny. The family said their goodbyes to Johnny, and soon after, his remains were sent away to be cremated.
Cherie had already planned a newborn photoshoot with the boys before she learned that Johnny did not survive, so after her delivery rather than cancel the shoot, she used it to honor both boys. “Sarah Simmons of Charlie Horse Photography messaged me with an idea to capture an image of the boys together, and asked whether I was okay to bring Johnny’s ashes,” she wrote.
The setting for the photo that Sarah created is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. She used two bowls to represent the womb, with Tiger in one and Johnny’s ashes in the other, and a blanket to represent the umbilical cord the boys shared. “Her idea was to show they are still connected, even after his passing, as they shared the same womb,” she added.
After sharing the picture online, it immediately went viral, and parents who have lost babies to miscarriages and stillbirths have shared their grief and sent healing messages of hope and support to the parents.
To the response of the photos, Cherie wrote, “Now her image is being shared all over the world. I’m so proud and honored to see my son’s picture everywhere. The more we can all talk about stillbirth and child loss, the more others will share their journeys, and, in turn, more people will have support in the future.”