Maria Henderson always wanted to be a mom.
Growing up with five siblings in Margaret River, Western Australia, the 34-year-old dreamed of starting her own family one day.
Her wish came true in 2017, when Maria and husband Ash were thrilled to announce to the world that they were expecting their first child together.
But 16 weeks into the pregnancy, Maria began experiencing “intense” cramps and “irritating pains”.
She ignored it at first and thought the cramps weren’t a problem as other mums told her it was just “what happens when you’re pregnant”.
“I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain and my water broke. It was an instant shock and then adrenaline,’ Maria, now 40, told FEMAIL.
Which led to a ‘traumatic’ miscarriage in hospital that shook her to the core.
“It was the most devastating thing that had ever happened to me and I was terrified of trying to conceive again.”
Maria Henderson (pictured) was thrilled to become a first-time mum but suffered a ‘traumatic’ miscarriage in 2017
Maria and her husband Ash (left) ‘cried and cried’ over the loss, and it took Maria 12 months to get her life back on track
Maria’s partner is a FIFO worker and they have no family nearby.
“I went to the local hospital because Ash was away,” she recalls.
“It’s the weirdest feeling – you don’t know what’s going on, you just hope for the best and think it’s gotta be okay.
‘Lied on the hospital bed, the nurse started an exam and started pressing on my belly…then I started seeing this pool of blood everywhere. It was like something out of a horror movie.
Unfortunately her worst fear had come true and the little one had sadly passed away.
Maria described the experience as “intense” and “horrifying”, particularly because she was alone during the ordeal.
“Leaving the hospital without the baby while looking pregnant was one of the hardest parts of it all. I messaged Ash to let him know what happened and a friend drove me home,’ she said.
Ash immediately flew home from work and over the next few months the two felt “so vulnerable”.
Maria said: “We just cried and cried.”
“Leaving the hospital without the baby while looking pregnant was one of the hardest parts of it all. It was the most devastating thing that had ever happened to me and I was terrified of trying to conceive again,’ she said.
However, she got pregnant twice and is now the proud mum of five-year-old Van and three-year-old Mila.
It took Maria 12 months to mourn the loss of what would have been her first child and seeing other women with their children, prams or bassinets would remind her of what would have been.
With her “hunched” shoulders, she often had trouble leaving the house and constantly wanted to be with Ash because he made her feel “safe”.
“I gave everything to get through the difficult days. It was quite an isolating experience and I kind of went into survival mode,” she said.
“Part of my healing process was crying in the shower and then putting on some nice pajamas.”
It was this simple ritual of cleansing and change that helped Maria get her life back on track.
While the thought of conceiving again was ‘terrifying’ at first, Maria became pregnant the following year and then had a baby boy by emergency C-section at 42 weeks.
A few years later, she became pregnant and had her daughter, Mila, now three years old.
‘I said to myself, “what will be will be”. But I was still so worried throughout the whole pregnancy,” she said.
Perhaps a lifetime of money from the whole experience was the development of Maria’s small pajama business, which grew out of her ‘wish’ to help other women go from the front.
Maria started The Vow Sleepwear in November 2020 and since then the hobby has turned into a small business selling stylish pajamas at affordable prices.
“Living through something so horrible has made me so numb. But the pajamas made me feel so beautiful and so feminine. They were so gentle on my skin and made me feel good when I looked at myself in the mirror,’ she said.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the whole experience was the development of Maria’s small pajama business, which stemmed from her “wish” to help other women go from strength to strength. ‘Before.
“Living through something so horrible has made me so numb. But the pajamas made me feel so beautiful and so feminine. They were so gentle on my skin and made me feel good when I looked at myself in the mirror,” she said.
“And I realized that I wanted other women to feel good too, just by wearing pajamas.”
Maria launched The Night Wish in November 2020 and since then the hobby has turned into a small business selling stylish pajamas at affordable prices.
This year the business also won the 2023 Australia Post Local Hero Award, which Maria said was “such an honour”.
Within four hours, the brand sold $5,000 worth of products, which was the biggest sale yet.
The stay-at-home mom operates the brand entirely from home while the kids are sleeping, at school or daycare.
“It’s a real dream come true and I’m so proud of it,” she said.
For 24/7 miscarriages, stillbirths and newborn deaths, please call SANDS on 1300 072 637.
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