Ep #178: Creating Meaning from Loss: A Widows Unfiltered Interview with Pam Baker

The Widowed Mom Podcast Krista St-Germain | Creating Meaning from Loss: A Widows Unfiltered Interview with Pam BakerPam Baker came to coaching worried she no longer had a purpose in life, only to create meaning from her loss by starting a non-profit with a mission to connect female athletes with coaching opportunities, development, and mentorship.

We can all give ourselves the gift of going after a vision, even if we don’t know how right now.

You don’t have to be a special snowflake, or even do it the way Pam did. You just have to be committed to figuring it out, and I hope you feel encouraged and inspired by Pam’s story. 

Listen to the Full Episode:

If you want to create a future you can truly get excited about even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to apply for Mom Goes On.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How Pam was feeling when she initially reached out for coaching.
  • The wisdom Pam has garnered from her grief journey. 
  • Pam’s insights for anyone who has someone in their life who is grieving.
  • The parenting lessons she’s learned from grief. 
  • Some of the lessons that have completely reframed her life and purpose moving forward. 


Featured on the Show:

  • Interested in small-group coaching? Click here for details and next steps.
  • Join my free Facebook group, The Widowed Mom Podcast Community.
  • Follow me on Instagram!
  • If you are a Life Coach School certified coach, I’m working on an Advanced Certification in Grief and Post-Traumatic Growth Coaching just for you. If this sounds like something you would love, email us to let us know you want in on the interest list to be notified when it launches!
  • I send out several pick-me-up emails each week including announcements and details for free live coaching sessions. Enter your email in the pop-up on my home page to sign up.
  • If you’re looking for an easy way to remember the most important memories you shared with your person, you need Memories that Matter, a digital journal with 100 prompts for making documenting your memories simple.
  • Pam Baker: Email | LinkedIn
  • The Women’s Coaching Alliance
  • Dear New Widow

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 178, Widows Unfiltered: An Interview with Pam Baker.

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.

Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I just got done recording this interview with Pam Baker and I am excited for you to meet Pam literally. It’s so humbling to me. It’s just so, it’s humbling, it’s joy inducing. It is skin pinching in the sense that it’s unreal, just what an impact coaching makes and what an impact you as a widowed mom can have in this world. And your impact may be different than Pam’s. She’s going to tell you all about what life has been like for her and what it was like before she lost Doug, and what coaching was like and the non-profit that she’s created.

And you don’t have to do it the way Pam did it. But what I really hope that you’ll pick up from this episode is that you don’t have to know how. You don’t have to know even what your purpose is. You don’t have to know what it’s going to look like. You don’t have to know any of it. You just have to be committed to figuring it out. You just have to be willing to learn by doing. You just have to be willing to feel feelings. And of course, I hope that you’ll come and do that with coaching. But even if you don’t, you can just do so much in this world.

And you really can create meaning if you want to from your loss. You really can love your life again. You do not have to be a special snowflake, or have a certain degree, or any of that. It really is available to all of us. So, I’m going to shut up and I’m going to let you listen to my interview with Pam Baker. I hope you see aspects of yourself. I hope you listen and you feel encouraged and inspired. And I hope that by the end of the episode that you’re thinking, okay, if Pam can do it, I can do it. That’s what I want for you. Alright, let’s get into my interview with Miss Pam Baker.


Krista: Welcome, Pam Baker to the podcast. I’m excited you’re here.

Pam: I’m so glad to be here, Krista, thanks for inviting me.

Krista: It totally is my pleasure. I am excited for listeners to meet you and before the call I was looking through, people love it when I do this. I was looking through your original notes from way back when before you joined. And did you know it was almost a year ago that you had your initial consult call?

Pam: I think that’s right, yeah. And I can remember how I was feeling at the time.

Krista: Can you?

Pam: I can.

Krista: I’ll let you introduce yourself first before we jump into that. But that’s one of the things I’d love for people to hear is how you were feeling at the time. But why don’t you go ahead and start and just kind of tell us a little bit about who you are, how you became a widow, that sort of thing.

Pam: Yeah. So, Pam Baker, I live in Northern California, just about 20 minutes south of San Francisco. Been out here for almost 20 years. I grew up on the East Coast originally and my husband and I came out here for a job that I got with a company out here, and figured if we hate it we could always move back and here we were. So, I worked in healthcare for about 25 years and started a company a few years ago. And then in May of 2020 Doug was not feeling great. And as the ever supportive spouse that I was I said, “You’re probably stressed, everybody is stressed from COVID.”

And he had the presence of mind to go see a doctor. It turned out it was stage 4 pancreatic cancer. And he ended up passing away just shy of three months later. So, it was August of 2020, I have twin daughters, we had twin daughters. And they were 12 at the time. And about three weeks before that my mom had passed away who was on the East Coast. So, there were a few grief things that were going on in my world and the girls were home from school doing homeschooling. And so, it was a tricky time I would say of just trying to navigate all of the new stuff that was going on, so yeah.

Krista: Yeah. And so, I don’t remember exactly when it happened but I remember Suzanne, who’s also been on the podcast and is a long time Mom Goes On member. I remember her reaching out to me and saying – I don’t know if she said, “I had a coffee with or I met with someone that lives very close to me and I really think she’d be a great fit for Mom Goes On.” Yeah, how did that happen?

Pam: Yeah. I connected to Suzanne through a mutual friend of ours who since we were both in our early 50s, she said, “I don’t know anybody else who’s a widow. Suzanne is the only person.” So, she connected us. We went for a coffee. And I remember thinking, wow, this woman really has it pretty together for being a widow. Her kids were very young when her husband passed away. And a little time lapsed. She told me a bit about what you do and got me started listening to your podcasts.

And a few months after that we then, we live close enough to each other and we would get together for walks. And have been doing that ever since. So, they’ve just picked up the pace. And there’s so much to share in terms of that common life experience. And then also have lots of opportunities to bring up what’s on our minds and then say, “Well, what would Krista do about this?” What would Krista say about this?” So we channel you early and often.

Krista: I hope that usually works out. No guarantees. No guarantees.

Pam: Well, we never know if it’s right or wrong but it doesn’t seem to matter so much.

Krista: I love it. So, when I was reading back through that, the notes that we keep it looked like at the point where you actually applied for the program. It seems like it was pretty early on in maybe even listening to the podcast because your answer to the question was, “Why do you think Krista’s the right person to help you make these changes?” And you said, “I’m not sure if she is.” So, what were you feeling during that initial reach out?

Pam: Yeah. So, I think the piece for me that really resonated was this idea of when you’re surviving and not thriving. And that was very much the phase that I was at. And what I’ve heard so many of us in Mom Goes On share this idea that people would say, “You’re doing great, you’re so strong.” Which is now my nails on the chalkboard term. And I felt like I was getting up, doing things that I needed to do. But the concept of there can be a life that you look forward to was completely unimaginable. My hesitation honestly was the idea of group coaching.

I had been in a group coaching program in the past and it was not effective at all because I found that everybody’s situation was so different that to listen to the coaching for one person felt completely not applicable to my own. And so, I would often sort of tune out on the conversation. And so that was my one piece of skepticism. And I have found that to absolutely not be the case.

And I’ve actually found the inverse to be the case that in group coaching not only does so much of it apply to me but I also find that people bring things up that I didn’t even know I was struggling with. But when I hear it from somebody else, I have found many times that I go, “Oh, wow, right. Me too.” And not only then did I not have to bring it up on my own but I got the solution dropped in my lap as well so that’s been super powerful.

Krista: I love that. Yeah, it always is a surprise how often I do hear somebody say, “Well, actually I just got so much out of so and so being coached.” I’ll switch over to them and like, “Well, actually I kind of just heard what I needed to hear with the person before even though their circumstances really aren’t the same but some of the issues and the solutions really are.”

So okay, I would love to know since so many women listen to this podcast very early on in their loss, I always like to give the opportunity for other women to benefit from wisdom that you have garnered through your own life experience. So, if you could go back and you could talk to yourself early in your grief, or you could talk to another woman who’s early in her grief, what would you tell yourself or what would you tell her?

Pam: Yeah. I think I would tell myself a few things. If I had had the experience of Mom Goes On much earlier on I would have felt okay feeling all of those feelings. I had the experience I think that so many of us have of having incredibly well intentioned peopled around us just want to feel better. And so, the inclination to stuff all of those emotions down and only let them out when it seems appropriate, when you’re in your bedroom by yourself and nobody can hear you is really powerful.

And again, very well intentioned people saying things like, “You’re so strong.” I think just reinforced that experience of, well, if I am showing up like I’m strong and have my act together then I certainly can’t break down in the middle of an event. I can vividly remember, I went to a friend’s birthday event in November and so this was three months after Doug had passed away. And we were all around a table and talking about some of our favorite stories about my friend who was having a birthday.

And almost all of those stories involved the couple and her, or some element of she brought the couple together. And as I sat there at the table it came to my turn and I just felt like it was all of this pressure that was building up on me. And I almost couldn’t speak. And so, I shared my story and then had to leave the restaurant. And I remember feeling so guilty for walking out and feeling like, oh my gosh, I shouldn’t have done that to my friend.

And I think that’s the other piece that I would have liked to have given myself the gift of, of not feeling the guilt for doing things the way that I was just doing the best I could. And so, I think those are a couple of pieces, feel your feelings, give yourself some grace in the process. And recognize that grief is very much a marathon, it is not a sprint. I had such a tendency to want to sort of figure out, okay, what is next? I was trying to make sense of all of this because it didn’t make any sense.

And it still doesn’t make sense to me but I can look back and at least appreciate some of what I have learned in the process, what I’ve learned about me, what I’ve learned about being a parent, what I’ve learned about grief. And believing that there will be a better time in the future which just so didn’t seem possible at the time. It was so, so hard for me to get my head around.

Krista: Yeah. And I think it’s also so common, to your point, that people really just don’t have the capacity to be with us in what we are honestly feeling. And bless their hearts, they just really want us to feel better so they can feel better. So, to not take their discomfort on and allow ourselves to feel how we feel, man, that’s huge.

Pam: Yeah. There’s so much of like, “Are you okay? Are you okay? Are you doing okay?” And it was never an option to say, “No, I am a total flipping mess”, except to a very small group of people because that felt like, oh my gosh, then I should do something about it. And the few friends who had the ability to say, “I can just sit here. I can just call you and you can just cry.” That was a gift. That was a just incredible value to me in knowing that I wasn’t being judged. They weren’t texting each other behind my back and saying, “Oh my gosh, have you talked to her? She’s a total wreck.”

Krista: Did it surprise you which friends were which?

Pam: It surprised me less than I have heard other people say. There were a few surprises of, one positive, honestly, of some of the people that continue to reach out that I felt like we’re friends but not super close friends but just continue to check in and do really kind things. So, I haven’t had a lot who I’ve been really disappointed in. But yeah, I think surprises come in both directions, for sure, yeah.

Krista: Yeah. So, we’ll take the ratio of positive to negative a little bit higher if we can, that works.

Pam: So, I was just going to share one thing because I think it’s helpful for people maybe who listen to the podcast and have somebody who’s grieving. One friend and I share this with so many people because I loved what she did. Was she would send, she lived across the country and she would send a text roughly every day that was just a heart emoji, or a thinking of you, or something. And it was a way of reaching out that I felt like I could engage when I wanted to, but I didn’t have to engage.

It wasn’t a question. It was just a statement or a recognition of, hey, I’m here for you. And it met me where I was. And I didn’t feel the pressure to respond. Some days I did and some days I didn’t. So, I would offer that to other people who feel like, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to say. You don’t have to say anything. And sometimes just letting people know that you’re there is another real gift.

Krista: Yeah. Doesn’t require anything of the griever, just lets them know they aren’t forgotten. It’s so easy to feel like you are forgotten.

Pam: Yeah, it sure is, it definitely is.

Krista: You mentioned earlier that you learned a lot. And I was curious to know, you said that you’ve learned a lot as a parent. So obviously a lot of our listeners are parents, they’re moms. So, could you share some of the things that you’ve learned as a parent?

Pam: Yeah. So, I’ve got twins, so everybody tends to put them into a single package. And one of the things that I have definitely learned is that this is true of adults and it’s true of kids, is that we all grieve really differently. And of my twins the one who I thought would have a greater tendency to emote, expressed her grief in a much more reserved way than her sister did. And so that was a surprise. And for me it meant I had to interact with them each a bit differently. And for the one I was worried that she wasn’t grieving enough, just the way you’re supposed to grieve.

Krista: As though there is such a thing.

Pam: Exactly. And so, understanding that each of them are going to go through their own stuff and at different times. I’ve been surprised that things have come up later than I would have expected. That’s been a big one for me. I think the other one is going back to this you’re so strong idea is recognizing that kids take their cues from us. And being okay crying and kind of falling apart.

And in all of the pieces that we don’t want to show our kids because we want them to feel as though everything is under control I think actually was really important for me to be able to occasionally just say, “I am just really sad.” And I found myself having the tendency with my kids to say when I could see something was upsetting them or bugging them, to say, “Are you okay?” And what I realized is that was sending a message to them of they needed to be okay.

And so, I tried to shift my language on that one to say, “Hey, what’s going on?” Or, “Hey, is there anything I can do? Do you want to chat?” And again, they were 12 and 13 in the first year or so after Doug died. And what I think they picked up in terms of the signals from me but also from their friends. I mean we talk about adults being uncomfortable with grief. Well, kids their age are super uncomfortable with grief. And so, if they start to get teary or upset in front of their friends, their friends really don’t know what to do.

And so, I found that just being able to open the door for them and have the conversation, or not even having the conversation, sometimes it was letting them talk about it. And sometimes it was just sitting with them and letting them cry and not trying to fix anything. I think another piece is we were super fortunate where Doug was treated. They had a whole program of social workers there to support the family and taking advantage of that and not being shy about saying, “Yes, I need some help.”

I didn’t know how to grieve for myself, I certainly didn’t know how to navigate grief for kids, was again super important. We had a social worker for each of them that was incredibly talented at working with teenagers. And so, I took advantage of that. And also, just not being shy with letting the teachers know what was going on and saying, “Hey, here’s the whole picture, just so you know, it’s not that I’m asking you to treat them differently, but I just think from a context perspective it’s good for you to understand the situation that they’re in.”

So, I guess the last piece I would say is I think sometimes there can be a tendency to say, “I don’t want to bring up their dad because it’s going to make them sad. And what I’ve realized is, it’s never like he’s going to go away for any of us. We don’t want that. So, I’ve tried to make sure that whenever there is something that we know he would have reacted to or made a joke about, to bring it up and just to put it on the table. And over time increasingly what I’ve seen is that they’ll do the same thing.

And it’s not sad, it’s not the unpleasant awkward silence, he remains a part of our world, and our family, and our traditions, and I think that’s really good and healthy for all of us.

Krista: Yeah. And I think that’s such a great takeaway for people who are looking to support other people in grief. It’s obviously really helped you in terms of you and your children. But there’s always this worry that, well, they’re probably not thinking about the loss so I don’t want to bring it up because if I bring it up then that’ll just make them sad. When really what’s usually happening is that we’re thinking about it. And we’re thinking no one else is thinking about it.

We’re thinking we’re the only ones thinking about it. So, to have someone else bring them up and tell a story, or crack a joke, it’s actually so refreshing because then we know we’re not the only ones and our person is still being remembered. And it’s just, I find it to be so validating.

Pam: Absolutely, I mean it’s so neat when there is a friend of the family that will say, “Remember when Doug did, or Doug was”, or what have you. It’s, yeah, it’s like he is not, not a part of our life, double negative. But he will always be a part of our life. And just because he’s not here, doesn’t make it any less fun to remember all of those great memories, just as we do with the people who are still here.

Krista: Yeah, exactly. I used to make people, when I was still at work because I worked, Hugo and I worked together is I could tell people, they were feeling awkward about it. And so, I just told people, “It’s okay to bring it up.” Just like you did with your children, just bring it up and then it becomes normal eventually. But the first few times it probably is going to be awkward. But you’ve got to let people know that you’re okay to talk about it and then they’ll talk about it more too.

So, thinking back, so it’s been a little over two years, what has been in terms of actually loving your life again and kind of getting past the, you’re so strong, surviving plateau, what has been the most useful to you as you look back?

Pam: So, I remember, I think one of my first, it may have been my very first coaching session with you, and a very teary one was I don’t think I have a purpose anymore. I don’t know what my purpose is.

Krista: That was in your initial notes too that you wrote down, I see that was one of the things. If we could wave a magic wand, that’s what you said is that you [crosstalk] purpose.

Pam: Is that right? Yeah, I felt so lost, like there was really no purpose for me anymore. And what you shared and what you have shared many times is the fallacy of I don’t know. And digging deep and recognizing you actually do know or if you did know, what would the first couple of steps be that you would take? And I found that so incredibly freeing of I don’t have to have it all figured out but I can just take the first couple of steps.

The other piece is that fear and discomfort is the cost of forward movement or success that helped me completely reframe how I thought about oh my gosh, I’m so scared to do this. That that’s actually kind of a good thing, not necessarily a bad thing. As I started the work that I’m now doing, one of your podcasts focused on are you committed or just interested? And I found that super helpful to say, “I am really committed to this.” That doesn’t mean I have figured it all out or I have the full plan. But I am committed to this succeeding.

And therefore, I’m going to, come hell or high water, it might not be perfect but we are going to move it forward, that was super helpful.

Krista: Can you talk about that, I’d love for people to hear more about what it is that you’re talking about when you say what you are working on.

Pam: Yeah. So, when Doug passed away we had set up a fund within our Local Parks and Rec Foundation, designed to do two things. One was give every kid the chance to play sports. And two, was to get a great coach in the process. So, he was a guy who was an athlete, he was a coach, and sports was the place where he really became the person that he was. He came into his own, not tons of validation at home or at school. And so, the first piece around giving every kid the chance to play sports was pretty straightforward with scholarships and that sort of thing.

But the second piece around great coaching took some time to figure out. And he was a real advocate of bringing women off the sidelines to help him coach because he was coaching girls’ sports, he would coach our daughters. And he recognized, I don’t understand, the girls experience of playing sports. So, he was an advocate of women with all girls, all females in the household. And so that initial idea became this new non-profit that I founded a few months ago which is called The Women’s Coaching Alliance.

And our focus is on growing the number of women coaching youth sports, and we focus on female athletes. So, we focus on roughly, high school, college and recently graduated female athletes who understand the sport and have the chance to give the experience of playing sports back to younger kids, all of those great life lessons that they learn in the process. And then we pair them with mentors who not only support them in being successful coaches, but then help them connect the dots between the coaching skills they are learning in coaching youth sports and leadership.

Because ultimately there’s this incredibly strong link between coaching and leadership. Great coaches do many of the same things as great leaders. So, in short our focus is grow the women, number of women who are coaching youth sports by connecting them with coaching opportunities, mentorship and development. And preparing them to be leaders both on and off the court.

Krista: And as you articulate it, it is just so amazing to me that there was ever even a point, but you say it with such clarity and confidence that there was ever even a point where you didn’t exactly know. If you can just not believe the I don’t know in your brain, and just stay committed to something, look what happens, look what you can do.

Pam: Yeah. I mean it’s amazing to me because I think that coaching call was probably back in December. And we’re now early October and so thank you. I’m glad it sounds clear. I will admit there it has been a little bit of a pinball machine sort of experience of is it this or is it that? And that again, I come back to I was committed to using the person that Doug was to make a difference for all of these other young women. And it wasn’t clear how that was going to happen but leaning into I’ve never done a non-profit before. I don’t know how to build a board.

I don’t know how to do this paperwork. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. But there are lots of people out there who do and the ability to really believe that it doesn’t matter if you don’t know, you can figure out the how once you are committed to the ultimate outcome, yeah.

Krista: Yeah. And if we could all give ourselves that gift of not limiting what it is we create in life just because we don’t know the how. If we just expect that it’s totally okay that we don’t know the how. We’re not supposed to know the how yet, we’re going to figure out the how along the way. But like you, you have a vision for something and you get committed to it. And you let yourself feel uncomfortable and you ask questions and you just keep figuring it out as you go. And you don’t believe the I don’t knows in your brain.

Then here we are in October and there’s an actual non-profit that exists with a board that is making a difference in the community.

Pam: Yeah. I mean we’ve got young women out there coaching already. We’ve got parents giving us this great feedback unsolicited about the impact of having their daughters and sons by the way, being coached by these young women. And I firmly believe Doug has had a big hand in all of this. But it’s just amazing to see what can happen when we bump along and we say, “We’ll figure it out.” And yeah, have a clear vision of what it needs to be.

And I think that has been the best piece is I can use him as our barometer to say, “Does this fit with who Doug was and what he would be proud of or does it not?” And that makes it a very easy yes, no decision process about yes, this is a partner for us or no, it’s not a great fit.

Krista: Amazing. What’s your kind of long term vision for the organization as you think about it now? I’m sure it will evolve over time.

Pam: Yeah. So, I’ve talked about the fact that we’re in Silicon Valley and so we’re beta testing or we’re incubating, to use all the lingo of this area. And we really are trying to figure out how do we create a model that can scale? I’m really fortunate to live in an area where even we don’t have enough coaches for our kids but we can generally find our way to get there.

But what I really care about is how can we offer this model to communities that have a greater need, lower socioeconomic communities where there are not enough kids playing out there. Because there are not enough coaches and there aren’t enough opportunities for young women in terms of connecting coaching to leadership.

So ultimately we are working on figuring out how do we make sure that we deliver a really tight program that we can offer to any community out there so that women across the country down the line across the world quite frankly can tap into a model like this. So that more kids are out there are playing. They’re having fun. They’re learning skills. They continue playing and more young women have the support, and the mentorship, and the opportunity to go on to lead.

And I think that has incredible impact as we look across the world because in the United States there aren’t enough young women out there leading. And certainly, that’s even more true in other parts of the world, so down the line that’s what I really want. I’m sure my board would not be happy for me to say that quite yet because we’re not ready, but I’ll tell you.

Krista: And we’ve got to have big visions. We’ve got to have big visions. And I think also, I’m always imagining what listeners are thinking and I know that so many of us have this little inner critic that’s like, wow, that lady’s impressive, I could never do that. And I think it’s important to normalize that we all have that little voice. And then I also think it’s really important to normalize that it’s not like you came to Mom Goes On saying, “Hey, would you help me start a non-profit because I’m pretty clear on what I want?”

You came wanting us to help you figure out what your purpose was which by the way I never tell anybody because like you said, if we can just get past the I don’t know it’s in there. It’s there, we’ve just got to remove the roadblocks. And what can happen when we let ourselves do that, who knows, non-profits everywhere.

Pam: Well, absolutely and I have to give a shout out to the Mom Goes On community because in my walks with Suzanne I remember saying exactly that to her. I was like, “I don’t know how to do this. I’m not an athlete. I am not a coach. I am not a huge sports person. That’s not me.” And I said, “I don’t know how to do any of this.” And she looked at me and she said, “I didn’t know how to start a school for boys either.”

And so those are the kinds of reinforcements and support that I have felt again and again from women in Mom Goes On who are just there to support each other and celebrate each other’s victories. I think it’s a really neat community that you’ve developed of not women who are trying to one up each other and prove that they’re doing more better. It’s about we were all dealt a tough hand. And we are all there to celebrate and support each other. And getting up every day with a little bit more excitement for what the day’s going to hold.

Krista: Yeah. And I don’t think that sounds like such a big deal until you’ve been through a life experience where you genuinely struggle to imagine getting up and feeling excited. It seems like, of course, why wouldn’t anybody get up and just feel excited? But when your husband dies of pancreatic cancer and he only had three months and hello.

Pam: Right. I think so many of us talk about it was supposed to be different. It was supposed to, but that wasn’t the plan. That wasn’t what we were going to do. And that sense of wow, all of those plans that I had are now suddenly turned on their heads. It’s difficult for a while to say, “Yeah, I’m super excited to get out there and face the day. I just can’t wait.” It’s not how it feels certainly at the beginning.

Krista: Well, was there anything else that you wanted to share that I didn’t ask you about?

Pam: I do think that whether it’s Mom Goes On or a different community I just think for widowed moms especially there’s a tendency for women to feel like we just have to figure it out. We have to do it on our own. We should just muscle through. And there are people out there and resources that can help and make a difference. And don’t suffer in silence. Don’t feel as though you are the only one. I think anything that you can do to give yourself the gift of people who get and people who understand, it is truly the gift that keeps on giving and about the best one that you can give yourself.

So, you have this great book that you’ve put together of letters from widows. And I just, I met someone who’s a new widow just a couple of weeks ago, and I got, there is no better gift that I can give her than that book to let her know that she is not alone. That there are other women out there. There are other people to provide support and it doesn’t fix it. It doesn’t make the pain go away. But I think it does at least provide a sense of community and understanding that is invaluable at a time when it can feel really isolating.

Krista: Yeah. And you can kind of tend to because of that isolation assume that some of what you’re experiencing is your fault or somehow a flaw as opposed to just a normal part of grief because it hasn’t been normalized. We’ll link to that in the show notes. It’s called Dear New Widow, I’ve talked about it before. And one of the things I really want to do with that is keep building on it, just keep as more women go through Mom Goes On, continue to let them add on to that so that it becomes even more valuable because I love it as I read it.

And I was also thinking as you were talking, something that my coach, my teacher, Brooke Castillo told me a long time ago, which was, she said, “It’s like you’re riding a tricycle.” And she said, “And you’re riding so hard. You’re pedaling so fast. And you’re working so hard. And you’re getting somewhere.” She’s like, “But I come up to you and I’m in my Tesla”, because that’s what she drove at the time, she’s like, “And I’m in my Tesla and I’m like, “Get in my Tesla, I can help you go faster.””

And she’s like, “But you look at me and you’re like, “No, I’m riding my tricycle. I’m doing fine.”” And it just resonated with me so much as that’s what we kind of do. We do put it on ourselves to do it ourselves. And yes, we do make progress but if somebody can let you in their Tesla and you can go faster, and you don’t have to work so hard, can we give ourselves that gift?

Pam: Yeah. And there’s nothing bad about it. It doesn’t make it more impressive.

Krista: Or some sign of weakness.

Pam: We’re not better people because we have stayed with the tricycle.

Krista: Right, it’s just exhausting.

Pam: Exactly, right. And I think that’s a great analogy because if we don’t exhaust ourselves struggling through it, we have that energy available for other things that we want to do and other people in our lives. And that can make a huge difference just in how we’re able to show up for others and for ourselves in other ways that kind of fill our emotional tanks.

Krista: So true. If people want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way?

Pam: Yeah. Email is pam@womenscoachingalliance.org. And also on LinkedIn, Pam Baker, Women’s Coaching Alliance.

Krista: And so, is that the website then, womenscoachingalliance.org if they want to just go to the website?

Pam: womenscoachingalliance.org, yeah, absolutely, yeah.

Krista: Amazing. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast and sharing your story, it’s one of my favorites.

Pam: Thank you for having me. Thank you for helping me push through the, I have no purpose, what do I do with my life?

Krista: You’re so welcome but you know what I’m about to say, right?

Pam: Yeah, I do.

Krista: I just give the tools and everybody, it’s up to them to apply it. And so, you give yourself the credit because you’re the one that applied it and you’re the one that asked for coaching. Not everybody, just because people join doesn’t mean they actually participate and use the tools. And so, you take the credit for that. But I’m happy to be part of the journey. And honestly, as I think about Suzanne and the school that she started and I mean Annette, another Mom Goes On messaged me the other day, she’s working in women’s prisons now coaching. What?

All of these powerful things that women are doing as a result of just getting their own support and figuring out what they want to do and the ripple impact that that makes on the world. It’s just bananas.

Pam: You’re allowed to cry, Krista.

Krista: I know, but if I cry too much I won’t be able to talk. But it’s just, yeah, it’s so good.

Pam: It is, it’s incredibly powerful to see what people do with the grief process. And I don’t want to sound overly Pollyanna ish about it because there’s no two ways about it, it is really awful and yet there is another side of the river.

Krista: Yeah, there is the opportunity to make meaning and to truly bounce forward, that exists for everyone. And it’s not just the special snowflakes. And it’s not just the people who create non-profits and write books. It is different for every person. I think what’s most important is that we just realize that it is possible in whatever way that we want that to be in our own lives. So, so good. Thank you so much.

Pam: Yes. Thank you Krista.

Krista: Alright, I’ll see you soon, take care, bye bye.

Pam: Bye.


If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so that you can move forward with confidence.

Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click work with me for details and the next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.

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About your coach

I created a new life using small, manageable steps and techniques that made sense. The changes I experienced were so profound I became a Master Certified Life Coach and created a group coaching program for widows like us called Mom Goes On. It’s now my mission to show widowed moms exactly how to do what I’ve done and create a future they can look forward to.

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