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From a Grieving Dad: It’s Okay to Celebrate YOU this Father’s Day

June 18, 2023

Owlet's mission is to empower parents to give care at home. Owlet Cares supports our overall mission through advocacy, charitable and research initiatives that support families and communities. We partner with nonprofits all over the world who share our mission. These groups participate in our 2:1 match program. When they purchase one Owlet product, we match it with two meaning three families are reached.

We also stand with and support parents who have lost children. In honor of Father’s Day this month, we are featuring Shawn West, whose wife is co-founder of the Briggs & Barrett Project - an Owlet Cares partner.

To the outside world, Father’s Day is a perfect, fun, family-filled day celebrating Dad.

For me, and for many other dads, Father’s Day is a little more complicated. It’s a reminder of the silence.

I have been very blessed in my life with a loving wife and four amazing boys with one of my boys; Briggs, being in heaven. While Father’s Day makes me feel very grateful for what I have been blessed with in my life it also brings a dabber to my heart knowing that one of those blessings was only here on this earth for a short amount of time. Briggs was only here for almost 3 months and then passed away at daycare when he was placed on his stomach.

Let’s address the enemy inside of me that I have named “silence”.

Some of you dads I am sure have addressed this enemy inside of you also right?! It tends to overtake my thoughts and feelings, especially as I talk about them out loud and then shut down.

But over the years, that enemy has started to go away thanks in large part to my wife Melissa and another SIDS mother co-founding our nonprofit, the Briggs & Barrett Project. Their foundation has helped the silence in me and many other dads come out, and it’s provided space for healing.

It’s not a natural thing for us dads to talk about our loss of a child but knowing that it’s OK to talk about something that’s so uncomfortable for myself but also for other dads who are listening has helped.

Thank you Briggs & Barrett Project for allowing that enemy inside of me to escape and say Briggs’ name.

For those of you dads who have experienced a loss like mine, I offer you this:

- Say their names.

- Celebrate their lives.

- Celebrate and be proud of the dad that you are today, you were yesterday and you will continue to be.

From one Dad to another: peace be with you dads & Happy Father’s Day.

“You will always have that open space in your soul for that’s where you store the memories.”

*Disclaimer: The quotes, stories, and experiences included here are those of the individuals and are not representative of Owlet's views or claims about our product. Individuals were not paid and did not submit their information as part of any paid promotion by Owlet.

Author Bio

Shawn West

Shawn is husband to Melissa West, co-founder of the Briggs & Barrett Project & dad to his Angel in heaven; Briggs. The Briggs & Barrett Project’s mission is to spread SIDS Awareness in a supportive environment through education, tools and resources; with guidance from two angels in heaven, they strive to provide peace of mind through families.