Mum of twin baby photographed with his late brother's ashes speaks on her heartbreak

Sarah Carty
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer


A heartbroken mum has said she’s extremely proud the touching photo of her son, Tiger, with the ashes of his late twin brother has won a major award, but the pain of losing her child will never leave her.

New Zealand mum Cherie Ayrton found out at her five-month anatomy scan one of her twin babies, Johnny, has sadly passed away in the womb.

Cherie carried Johnny to term until she had a stillbirth, as if she didn’t, his twin brother Tiger might not have survived.

And last week, a photo of newborn baby, Tiger, lying next to the ashes of his late brother Johnny – with the pair connected by a symbolic umbilical cord of white muslin cloth – won big at an international photography show.

A photo of newborn baby, Tiger, lying next to the ashes of his late brotherJohnny – with the pair connected by a symbolic umbilical cord of white muslin cloth – won big at an international photography show. Photo: Sarah Simmons

Wellington-based photographer, Sarah Simmons, who snapped the incredible shot, took home awards in the newborn, family and grand champion categories at the prestigious 2018 Portrait Masters Awards.

Mum Cherie said while she’s ecstatic for Sarah and is ‘very proud’ of the image, the interest in the photo has brought back a lot of traumatic memories for her.

“It’s been an emotional few days and has brought back a lot of feelings and memories of what I have been through and am still going through,” Cherie told Be.

“I’m also very proud and honored that it’s being shared because of Sarah’s amazing talent. I’m so happy for her and her success.

“I love the fact that my son’s memory might help other families get through their own journeys.”

Cherie found out at 20-weeks that Johnny has passed, with doctors unable to give her a reason why it happened.

“If I wanted to do testing I could have, but it would have risked me going into labour and losing Tiger too. So, we obviously didn’t do any,” she said.

Mum Cherie believes there needs to be more of a conversation around stillbirth and believes her pain will be worth it if her story helps people. Photo: Sarah Simmons

“They couldn’t give us exact dates but they said he was a little smaller then Tiger was as well.”

“I had to carry him around until the birth. It was a very mind-screwing experience, because we had to watch him slowly breaking down over a TV screen at our ultra sounds.

“It was horrible. I felt like a temporary coffin, that’s the only way I can explain it.”

Cherie believes that stillbirths aren’t spoken about enough and said that if her hurt can help others heal, she’ll feel her pain is worth it.

“I’ve been trying to raise awareness for stillborn loss since, so I’m very happy this beautiful picture is being shared,” she said.

“Hopefully my hurt can help others. It’s a lonely journey if no one speaks up.”

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