The baby on the back seat by Kenny and Berenice Smith

Dearest Billie Bean,

We first knew of you ten years ago. Just imagine, if we had taken that extra round of IVF that year, you may have been with us buying your school uniform and starting secondary school this year.

We met you in more detail than most couples do for an embryo. You were in a canister on the back seat of our car as we transferred you from one clinic to the other with the hope that a different drug regime would get allow us to meet you. So we said we had the baby on the back seat. 

When we bought out house, 25 years ago, we made sure we had room for you and your brothers or sisters because, on our second date, we talked about how many children we wanted and decided on 4. Your dad is the eldest of 4 and you would have been one of many in your mum’s family.

In our home, we have your granddad’s clock and his certificate, your dad’s clogs which his grandad made, photos and memories for you. There’s a box of cine films that you’d scoff at but want to watch because your mum is on them, along with your uncle and your grandparents. We’d show you Granchester and Saffron Walden, take you up the church tower on the market square and walk you around the town and gown of Cambridge. We’d also take you to beloved Cornwall and share the history we have there. Molly, our rescue dog would adore you because she, ironically, loves children and we think she misses you too. There’s always been space on the back seat for you.

Your sibling made it to 6 weeks before passing away and your mum miscarried. You stayed in the freezer, waiting. And we longed for you, baby on the back seat.

But this year we had to say goodbye to you, and about now as World Childless Week starts, you will have perished little one. We really wanted one last chance but we'd had twenty years of hopes and dreams and they've taken their toll on your mum's mental and physical health. We realised that there is time to say goodbye but we still feel guilt and sorrow. 

We never allowed ourselves to name you out loud but we like to think that you know what we would have called you. You nick name, Billie Bean, is what your grandad called your mum throughout her life and it’s the best we can do.

Goodbye little one.

With all our love 

Mum and Dad xxx