A Father’s Love ~ Baby Owen

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He stood beside his wife, feeding her ice chips, tenderly. Sometimes using humor to soften the heaviness of weary moments as they waited to meet their son. Because, if he can make her laugh…then all is still right with the world…even when nothing seems right at all. Humor is a wonderful diffuser for the most painful moments. A man who can make you laugh in any circumstance. That’s a treasure.

I know. I married a man with that priceless gift.

They planned every detail, as they waited for Owen’s arrival.

Beautiful outfits, a Cuddle Cot, how they would spend their time, what pictures they wanted captured, support through SGM.

I had the privilege of walking with them a bit, during the months of planning. As baby Owen’s mother labored. And, as he was welcomed earthside.

His mother planned every moment…beginning his legacy, even before his birth, through Owen’s Gift. I’ve never met a mother who was already planning a way to help others, while still walking her own agonizing and beautiful path as she soaked in the moments with her son.

As Owen’s heart slowed on the monitor before his delivery, it was his father’s hands searching along mother’s belly to find their son’s sweet last kicks. He took her hand and gently led her to the spot where they could feel their son’s goodbye together, as she clung tightly to her Comfort Bear.

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Owen’s father wanted to give him his bath. And, so he did.

His father helped us do the footprinting, and the foot molds. His father helped to dress him. Not only his mother, but his father held him lovingly in his strong arms….arms that protect and provide for those he loves.

A builder by trade and a problem solver by nature, he used ingenuity to help us maneuver the mementos and dressing time.

Both mother and father were able to parent in the sacred moments they spent with their son.

I am so in awe of their courage and strength…and most of all, the great beauty of their love. Love can sustain a family pushed beyond the brink more than once. Love can enable a father to stand and care for his tiny son, born silently. Love can help a mother plan for a brief life. Love can carry them both through the moments and years to come.

As we are often concerned with many mothers walking through loss, let us never forget the sacred love of a father…and the deep and real grief he carries in his strong daddy heart. Not all dads are able to stand so boldly in love and protection of their families, even speaking bold truth in moments when it is needed.

For the dads carrying this weight quietly, you are not alone. Your part in your child’s life and your family’s life are so important and valid….and so is your grief.

A poem shared in the Walking With You for Fathers Booklet:

It must be very difficult

To be a man in grief,
Since “men don’t cry”
and “men are strong”
No tears can bring relief.

It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test,
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.

They always ask if she’s all right
And what she’s going through.
But seldom take his hand and ask,
“My friend, but how are you?”

He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
But “stays strong” for her sake.

It must be very difficult
To start each day anew.
And try to be so very brave-
He lost his baby too.

Eileen Knight Hagemeister

If you are a father walking through loss, and would like a copy of Walking With You for Fathers, please email sgm dot shipping at gmail dot com and we will send you a copy free of charge.

To request a Dreams of You package, click here. To learn more about birth and bereavement doula support or perinatal hospice services through SGM, click here.

*Photos by SGM/SBD Birth and Bereavement Doula and Remembrance Photographer, Kelly Gerken

Comments

  1. I saw this posted on Facebook as Owen’s daddy is my cousin. We live on opposite sides of the state so do not know each other well…however my heart broke when I heard what was going to happen as I to have lost a son a couple hours prior to birth. This was such a beautiful tribute for lack of a better word. I’m so blessed to have Owen as part of my family. I struggled with tears as I read this….and wish I could wrap my arms around and give you a huge hug. Much love…..

  2. Clare Fisher says:

    I nursed an elderly lady who when she saw on my identity badge that I was also a midwife told me and she had a son.
    We had previously thought she was childless.. When I asked her about him she shared that he had been stillborn. With tears pricking my eyes I told her that I was sorry for her loss.
    She replied that she was happy to have known what it was like to carry and birth a child and that she would always be grateful for that. She had been a mother.
    I was stunned….
    I have never forgotten what she said about her precious child.

  3. I am in awe and so very proud of my nephew and his lovely wife. God has blessed them in so many ways, even through their trials, their love has flourished and grown stronger.

  4. We lost our 18 month old grandson back in April. it was so hard. My daughter and I can talk about him but the men in our family just bury it inside.Hopefully time will help and God is always there.

  5. :’-)

  6. Jodie Caulfield says:

    the father of my two beautiful girls now aged 18 & 10, im blessed with but between them I had the awkward task of delivering out baby Jordan, my ex was wonderful and supported me through everything, we tjrn had our 10 yr old then had our little girl then we had Jake.
    Unfortunately Jake passed whilst giving birth and a again M, ( his initials for his privacy), was there not just for me our baby boy Jake, myself and pir two girls.
    Yes, he cried in his own time s t but he held our boys and with out his strengjt o couldn’t have got through it…

    My love and Prayers go out to you…
    You may have had the tiniest a out of tone but those precious moments will be with you both forever…
    Good luck

    Thoughts are with you and your family. Jodie xxx

  7. So sorry for your loss, I also have had a loss, I had twin boys who were given their wings at Birth, my husband is of the old school, men don’t cry, don’t show emotions, I know his heart is tearing apart, but he wont let it out, hopefully he will with time, will never get over the loss just through it, they will always be in our hearts and never be forgotten. May you both find strength with each other.

  8. Sonia Burgess says:

    This life story touched a very broken part inside me…My partner and I lost our first child our precious baby girl, Ella Grace. We had no warning, labour happened on the exact predicted day, a joyous day with phone calls to the parents to let them know they would soon have a new grandchild! The labour was long and difficult and eventually it came to a time when the experts were getting worried. This baby needed to bought into this world immediately, we persisted and I tried harder and eventually our baby girl was laid on my chest and tears of joy were shared between my partner and I but as they tried to clear her lungs the problems were realised she was whisked away. At first I thought this was all fairly normal until I heard them ask for adrenaline and many more people came into the room. I turned to my partner and said “she isn’t going to make it” he shushed me thinking that the long difficult labour had affected my mental state…the second ml was requested and I looked at him and said “baby she really hasn’t made it” he waited patiently for word from the paediatrician while I lay numb with the obstetrician still doing his thing to me. The next words were so crass and so perfect from the paediatrician who said to the obgyn “Derek we are in deep shit here”. The next thing the paediatrician was at my side apologising for his words, and explaining she hadn’t made it. I told him your words were perfect there’s no nice way to say this…the next sound I heard was a guttural primal howl…like a wounded animal….my mind went into turmoil…what was that noise…I looked around the room (this moment was like slow motion) and I realised it was my partner. I instantly went into shock and shutdown wanting to ease his pain but having no words. The shut down and auto pilot seemed to last for years for me as I dealt with the loss the only way I could. My partner retreated to the shed for days and hand made her coffin. Sanding wood for days to make the most magical rustic coffin. Several years later and when our next child was 2 we were living together but so far apart. We were arguing and he lashed out at what ever I had said to hurt him (which I have obviously blocked out) the word he said cut me deep “I don’t even think about her anymore why can’t you let it go”. We separated not long after that. He ended up taking his life…I know now the words were the only way he could break through and hurt me as much as he was hurting. So now half my family is in heaven and half here on earth. My partner is with our daughter and I am here with our son. People forget how profoundly such a loss touches a Dad. Dads who may feel like they have failed to protect their family, who may feel at a loss as to how to fix it. I have many regrets in my life, and my heart aches for the thee half of my family but particularly for the father of my children. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and excuse me for my long post, but I wanted to reinforce the message of your story…please don’t forget about the Dads of these Angels…Bless you Owen for staying and being a partner in the journey for better or worse xxx

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