Christina – whose husband Staff Sergeant Olaf ‘Oz’ Schmid died in Afghanistan in 2009 – and her partner of three years Mark Clarke welcomed daughter Isabelle Rose four weeks ago. And in an exclusive interview and photoshoot with the magazine, Christina says the birth of Isabelle Rose just 11 days before the fifth anniversary of her late husband’s death was especially poignant.
Christina's daughter Isabelle was born 11 days before the anniversary of Oz's death
"Anniversaries are tough," she told HELLO! "No matter how many you have, they are always raw and you always feel different on that day and in the days just before and afterwards. Then, almost straight afterwards, we have Remembrance Day and it's there again, that heaviness in your heart.
"But this year, for the first time, I've felt less overwhelmed because I've had something so wonderful to focus on. It's no longer a time of year that I'll approach with dread because now I'll be thinking, 'It's Isabelle's birthday on the 20th'. There's something positive to celebrate that balances out the grief."
And Christina says she received an overwhelmingly positive reaction that she has found love and happiness again with Mark.
"You are never going to please everyone, but 99 per cent of the correspondence we got was encouraging. Widows and widowers from all walks of life got in touch to say 'Thank you for showing me that it is ok for my life to carry on and that I can find love again'.
"Old friends of Oz have been in touch to say they're happy for me. They loved him and want to see the cycle of life continue. "If you find someone special, you have to harness that and live in the moment. Otherwise the grief will choke you and you’ll go down with it. It's so important to grab life's positives.
"When I look at Mark with Isabelle, I feel so emotional, like my heart could burst with love. If losing Oz taught me anything it’s to cherish what’s precious to you and live in the moment."
SEE THE FULL EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE IN HELLO! MAGAZINE, OUT NOW.