Twenty-seven-year-old Brad Kearns is the Australian daddy-blogger behind DaDMuM.
He’s often been known for his brutally honest posts about being a husband, father and human playpen for his two young sons.
Brad recently opened up about something he doesn’t talk much about on his Facebook page—that’s the birth and death of the son who made him a father.
In a touching Facebook post, Brad shares a picture of two little handprints he has tattooed on either side of his neck.
The prints belonged to his firstborn, Buddy, who was a stillborn.
He opens by asking followers if they recall the first time they touched their child’s hand:
“You rubbed your thumb across the top of their fingers as they hold onto yours. You grab their entire hand and hold it in your fist. You give it a little squeeze to let them know that you’re there; and you sit in awe of their vulnerability. And at that moment you make your silent promise. A promise to protect them. To care for them. To give them your all. A promise to be the best parent you can be.”
After reflecting on that precious moment—the one when he first touched his son Buddy’s hand—Brad reveals the meaning of his tattoos, and recalls how he and his wife decided on the name for their “sleeping” son.
“I begin thinking of these handprints around my neck. These tiny little hands that are positioned like an eternal cuddle. These are the hands of our first son. His name was ‘Buddy.’ It wasn’t always going to be his name, but it seemed right at the time. When we met him for the first time and he was peacefully sleeping. It just seemed so right. He was my little Buddy. The handprints serve as my daily reminder.”
Brad says Buddy made him a father. Nothing about their circumstance or devastation could ever take that title away from him after sharing those moments with his first son.
“From that day forward I was a dad. The fact that we couldn’t take him home with us didn’t change a thing. The fact I would never teach him to kick a ball didn’t matter. We held his hands and we called him our own. He was the first little boy I ever made that promise to.”
He closes by encouraging others with a challenge: If you know a dad, stepdad, foster dad or any man who is considered a father in any way, reach out to them today.
“Let them know their promise was real. It will mean the world to them too.”
Brad’s honesty and transparency is inspiring. It’s conversations like these that shed light on the reality of child loss and demolish the stigma that SO many parents are suffering from in silence.
“I think awareness is key,” says Brad. “Awareness validates everything. The more people who talk about it, the more people are able to talk about it. Especially men.”