I have discussed many times how parenthood can change your perspective on life; on your career and your aspirations. However, there is another side of parenthood that can have an even greater impact on life. Bereavement.
With 1 in 4 people experiencing miscarriage, and nine still births a day, it is, unfortunately, an experience many people have. During the annual Baby Loss Awareness Week (9th – 15th October), we see lots of stories shared about loss and grief. Today, I wanted to include something more hopeful and positive. That even in the depths of tragedy, life can move in unexpected ways.
This month’s inspiring parent is Lucy Goodway, someone I met through my connection with Edward’s Trust, the charity that helped me and my family through a really dark time.
Over to you Lucy!
My name is Lucy Goodway, I am the Engagement Coordinator at Edward’s Trust; A bereavement charity that supports children & families who are facing loss and surviving bereavement. Prior to this, I worked as a PE teacher in a secondary school for 12 years as the ‘Head of Girls PE.’ Sadly in 2014 my life changed dramatically when I lost my second son; Jack (stillbirth at 37 weeks).
I was supported by Edward’s Trust after the loss of my beautiful boy Jack, and now I am really proud to say I took the huge leap to leave teaching and become a member of the team at Edward’s Trust. A big decision but most definitely the right one for me! I absolutely love my job, supporting other families going through a similar journey but seeing how they rebuild their lives and learn to live again.
Obviously, my life has taken on a new role, not only am I a wife and a Mommy, but I am also now a bereaved Mommy! I am very fortunate in my role as the Engagement Coordinator at Edward’s Trust in that I am the link between our bereaved families and the fundraising team. I am able to walk alongside these families on their difficult journey and give hope for the future.
When they feel ready they can join our ‘like-minded’ community and join our ‘Friends of Edward’s Trust Supporter Group’ in order to continue their journey and raise awareness of such invaluable services at Edward’s Trust. I can engage with, not only bereaved families but anyone who wants to support us, be it corporates, small business, schools, churches, leisure centres, rotaries, probus groups, individual supporters and those wanting to take part in challenge events.
Every day is different at Edward’s Trust, we are unique in the services we offer. I have received training from Child Bereavement UK, and BVSC in terms of working with volunteers, befriender training, as well as corporate partnerships and fundraising workshops.
What existing skills have you used from your old career to now?
My 12 years in teaching has allowed me to work with an efficient attitude, it has made me organised and I have a great ability to work with other adults and show the caring side of my personality (much needed when working alongside bereaved families). It has also allowed me to deliver staff training, present the work of Edward’s Trust across the West Midlands. I am able to show both empathy and sympathy with all who I meet and remain professional. The constraints and pressure I was under as a teacher allows me to work at a more healthy rate now and enjoy every minute!
What has been a challenge? How have you overcome it?
The biggest challenge in the change of career from being a teacher to becoming the Engagement Coordinator at Edward’s Trust is simply the financial side of things, but when you get to a point in your life when your happiness is far more important, money doesn’t matter! No amount of money would bring Jack back into my life, I am now able to cherish my family and my babies so much more now with a much healthier work-life balance!
What has surprised you?
How extremely unhappy I was in my last few years of teaching, mainly because of losing Jack, but also because I lost my passion and enthusiasm for teaching. I had my own emotional battles to deal with and I felt so extremely lonely with 30 students all day, every day. I needed adult company in my life!
The nicest surprise about joining Edward’s Trust is that I don’t see it as a job, I love working here, every day is really rewarding, I feel I am finally making a difference to others and I am the happiest I have been in a long time! I get to meet some wonderful people and supporters and get to go to some wonderful places. I can dedicate each day to Jack, he’s not here every day (like my two other gorgeous children are) so I am able to talk and think about him every day at Edward’s Trust.
He motivates me to carry out a job I absolutely love! I do feel very lucky that I found Edward’s Trust and they found me!
What advice would you give to a parent in the same position?
You must do what makes you happy! Don’t get stuck in a career that makes you miserable, no matter how much it pays. Your quality of life and your own health and wellbeing is so much more important, you learn to manage and budget because you will be in a happier place to do so. When your alarm goes off on a work morning, consider the following:
- Are you excited about heading into work today? Do you just dread heading there but then it isn’t that bad once you arrive?
- Do you feel you are making a difference?
- Would you recommend your role to someone else?
- Does it feel like a chore/negative experience to get into work today?
- Do you experience that ‘Sunday blues’ feeling?
We spend so much time at work, you need to be happy whilst you are there! If you have a good rewarding day at work, you will come home to be a much happier wife, partner, Mommy and enjoy that quality time more so with the important people in your life!
You will have learned and experienced so much from your previous role, consider applying it something that makes you happy! It is such a massive part of your life… and we only get one of those!
So much of what Lucy has shared resonates with me. I have so much respect for what she is doing, and so privileged that we have gotten to know each other; even though we connected due to such sad circumstances. Jack’s legacy lives on through her work.
I wanted to close with an amazing quote that will hopefully motivate and encourage you as much as it does me:
“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” Henry Ellis
To find out more about Edwards Trust and their work, you can find them their site or follow them on Facebook. To contact Lucy about any of the issues she has mentioned in the blog, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org