Mum who waited 13 years to seek help after losing her baby boy urges other to seek the mental health support they need

Nicola Chalice, 40, found help from her colleagues 13 years after losing her baby Ethan, and plans to run the London Marathon for charity. (pictured at Paragon Vets near Wakefield)
Nicola Chalice, 40, found help from her colleagues 13 years after losing her baby Ethan, and plans to run the London Marathon for charity. (pictured at Paragon Vets near Wakefield)

An inspirational woman who waited 13 years to seek help after she made the heart-breaking decision to have her baby’s life support turned off has urged others with mental anguish to get the support they need.

Nicola Challice, a credit controller at Paragon Veterinary Referrals, lost her baby, Ethan, in 2007, when he was just five days old.

Nicola carries this picture of her baby Ethan in her purse.

Nicola carries this picture of her baby Ethan in her purse.

She had been told that her baby had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) and had just a one in 2,000 chance of survival after her 20-week scan.

A CDH is where an absent or partially formed diaphragm results in an abnormal opening that allows the stomach and intestines to crowd the heart and lungs.

Ethan was put on life support immediately after birth. Five days later, Nicola made the decision to turn his life support off.

She said: “The doctors told us there was absolutely nothing they could do for him. I didn’t want my baby suffering. Ethan would have had absolutely no quality of life.”

The hospital offered her grief counselling, but Nicola said it was something she couldn’t even think about at that time. Recently, Nicola realised how much mental damage she was causing herself and sought help from her employers, who put her in touch with BUPA healthcare for counselling.

Nicola is now in training for 2020’s London Marathon, which she will run in aid of Make a Wish Foundation.

She said: “Ethan never got to live any of life’s experiences, so to be able to help a critically ill child experience something they have always dreamed of is something quite amazing.

“Don’t be embarrassed about talking to someone and seeking help. It doesn’t matter if you seek help straight away or, like me, don’t realise just how badly you are dealing with something until years later.”

To sponsor Nicola, visit her fundraising page here.