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Mary Katharine Ham Talks About Giving Birth, Parenting After Loss, And Mini Quiches

Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham talks about life after her husband’s death in a recent episode of the podcast ‘Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend.’


Federalist senior writer Mary Katharine Ham talks about life in the wake of her husband’s death in a recent episode of the podcast, “Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend.”

Mary Katharine’s late husband Jake Brewer, a White House staffer, died last September while participating in a bike race to raise money for a charity that works to combat cancer.

As an extrovert, speaking about Jake in public was an important part of the grieving process, Mary Katharine explained.

“It turned out that the way I deal with grief is to public speak about it,” she said. “But that helped me, it was like, ‘This is the way that I tell the story of this awful thing that happened.'”

“It helps me to feel like there’s a narrative here,” she said.

Having a two-year-old daughter and another baby on the way forced Mary Katharine to grieve in a healthy way in order to protect her children.

“For one thing, I wasn’t able to sneak into the bottom of a bottle,” she said. “That might’ve been my impulse had I not been pregnant. . . Something really huge happened, we are keeping this baby to term, like everything that is required to keep this baby to term, we will do.”

She was concerned her young daughter may not remember her father, and put photos around the house to reenforce her memories, but several months after Jake’s death, her daughter recalled a memory of her father that Mary Katharine had no idea she had.

Her daughter remembered waking up in the mornings and opening the bathroom door to exchange a “Hi” with father while he was showering in the morning.

“There’s hope she will have a real memory that I didn’t create for her,” she said.

Mary Katharine shared the secret to an easy birth: mini quiches. When delivering her second child, she brought mini quiches with her to the birthing center to feed all the midwives caring for her.

“The myth is that if you bring a bunch of food, then you’ll have a short birth,” Mary Katharine explained. “So I brought a ton of food and had a fairly short birth.”

Although he is gone, Mary Katharine says Jake is still a part of her life. While taking a nap with her daughters recently, she had a dream that she was going through an airport security line with her two kids and saw Jake when she looked back at the beginning of the line. He was smiling at her — almost as if he was saying, “I’m right behind ya.”

“In a very real way he has stayed with us,” she said.

You can listen to the full episode here, and subscribe to Alison Rosen’s podcast on iTunes.