René Marsh is relieved to once again hear the laughter and squeals of a kid in her house, two years after the tragic loss of her 2-year-old son.
The CNN National Correspondent and her husband Kedric Payne just became parents to a daughter, Siena Marsh Payne, whom Marsh says has and always will be a source of inspiration throughout her pregnancy and beyond. Siena was born last month.
Marsh, whose son Blake died of juvenile brain cancer in April 2021, adds, “It’s been great to just have this role of mother in the physical sense, in the present sense, again, to this little person.” We are overjoyed to once again hear the sweet cries of a little child in our home and cannot express how thankful we are for this wonderful addition to our family.
“The silence of a home that had a 2-year-old and then to come home to that child no longer being here, that silence was really striking,” she says. That’s why we sought to restore a feeling of togetherness among us.
Marsh’s pregnancy with Siena and her ongoing grief over Blake made for a difficult emotional moment.
A perpetual back-and-forth between happiness and sadness, hope and despair, she says.
“I was expecting my daughter with great anticipation even though I was still grieving the loss of my son every day,” she says. “Through the tears, her gentle and sometimes not-so-gentle kicks in the womb reminded me more was on the horizon. One day, I will tell her how her kicks gave me hope in a time of great heartbreak.”
“I felt happy to be able to have this chance again to be a mom again,” she says. The fact that I was expecting again gave me a reason to believe that our dreams could come true. It offered me something hopeful to anticipate. My hope was restored by this pregnancy.
Related: Gia Giudice on ‘Rhonj’: Zio Joe Can ‘do Better’ After Melissa Gorga’s Infidelity Rumors Surface!
Marsh says she pictured her sorrow before Siena was born as a seesaw. To quote the speaker: “It was just grief and I was just flying up in the air and I had nothing kind of holding me, grounding me to the day-to-day.”
“But I knew that if I could get to the day she was born, I’d have something to balance it out,” she says. I’ll never get over losing my son, but my daughter’s love has restored some kind of equilibrium in my life.
Marsh cried for several reasons on the day Siena was born.
Marsh tells PEOPLE, “I felt like I had accomplished something huge” by overcoming her loss and becoming a mother once more. “I think that’s where the tears were coming from,” she said. “There were tears of relief, tears of happiness, and there were tears of reflection of just all the battered, bruised journey that I had taken to get to this point.”
Throughout her time of mourning, Marsh has found it helpful to remind herself of her hardships and to be gentle with herself.
“It’s important to take a self-assessment of what you’ve been able to endure so far, even if you’re still enduring it, and give yourself a pat on the back, that reflection is crucial,” she says.
Additionally, Marsh emphasizes “listening to the soul and not the mind.”
Related: Hoda Kotb States that Her Daughter Hope Is ‘Doing Much Better’ After a Health Scare, but That the Road Ahead Will Be Longer!
When your head tells you, “There’s no way you can survive this,” listen instead to the voice of your soul, which will tell you to keep going.
Besides working to end childhood cancer, Marsh’s other goal is to make sure his daughter Siena “feels that she knows him.” The journalist has also authored a children’s book in memory of her son, with all earnings going toward finding a cure for childhood brain cancer.
“I plan on raising my daughter the way most mothers raise their children,” she said, “in the physical sense.” “But I plan on raising Blake the way most mothers raise their children, by continuing with my work, by joining forces with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.”