Henry is born in the Land Without Magic in Phoenix, Arizona, where his mother is imprisoned at for stealing watches on August 15, 2001. However, Emma
believing she is not fit to be a mother, gives Henry up for adoption to give him his best chance ("Heart of the Truest Believer").
Because of the void in her heart, Regina has nothing after killing her father to enact the Dark Curse. Instead, Mr. Gold due to his power, is able to procure a child for Regina, a son located in Boston. Regina adopts the baby boy, but has trouble raising her son. A three weeks old Henry is difficult to raise, as Regina can never soothe her son, or find out what he wanted from her. She then realizes that the birth mother can soothe him. After immediately giving Mary Margaret Henry the boy starts calming down, which gets Regina suspicious. Eventually, Sydney Glass gives away the identity of Henry’s birth mother as Emma Swan. Regina, furious at Gold, threatens to send the boy back to Boston. However, after thinking it through, Regina changes her mind. Also, Henry’s adoption is lost through John and Michael Darling. Regina, worries that one day that Henry’s birth mother will want him back so she makes a position to make her forget her worries and focus more on raising Henry ("Going Home").
While Emma realizes she can't keep Henry, she kidnaps him and tries to drive out of Storybrooke, but Henry does not want her to go, so Emma drops him back off at Regina's house. Henry, desperate to make his mother believe in him, bites the apple turnover that Regina made for Emma and falls asleep under the sleeping curse.
Throughout the years, Henry is raised by Regina, but he feels unwanted and has no friends, preferring to be alone. One day while sitting alone during recess, Miss Blanchard approaches Henry and gives him a book called Once Upon a Time to give Henry hope. While looking through the book, Henry now knows the name of his mother: Emma Swan. He later steals Mary Margaret’s credit card in order to find his real mother.
While talking back with Henry, he learns that his mother will be leaving storybrooke. Now realizing his adoptive mother's ruse, Henry urges Emma not to believe Regina, as the deal was a lie, but Emma refuses to believe him. To prove the curse isn't real, she goes and bite, it but Henry bites it instead, with Emma calling his name desperately (“An Apple as Red as Blood")
Henry, still under the sleeping curse, is rushed to the hospital, where a frantic Emma tries to convince the doctors the turnover that Henry bit out of was poisoned. Emma then believes everything Henry told her and grows mad at Regina and begins throwing her around the room,. The two mothers are forced to work together for the very first time. However, they are two late, as Henry died. Emma goes to her sleeping son and gives him true love’s kiss. Henry awakens, knowing his mother now believes.