In 1990 I had everything that I had ever dreamed of. I had two beautiful children, a home, a husband, a career that I loved, a cat, a lush garden, friends… and yet something was missing. Three weeks later, my daughter died. She was 5 months old when she went down for a nap and never woke up. They called it Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). At autopsy they found brain damage in the breathing center in her brain. She was a big baby (8 pounds, 12 ounces) and this little woman was unable to deliver her the usual way. Her head was caught up on my pelvis and the doctor used forceps in an attempt to deliver her vaginally instead of doing a C-section. That attempt was unsuccessful and I had the C-section anyway. My little baby girl had black eyes for 3 weeks, and although nobody would confirm this, I believe that the forceps caused the brain damage and ultimately took her life. She had no risk factors for SIDS and we were both healthy.

From this experience I reevaluated my life, made major changes and went on to thrive. And this is what I want to talk about today. My daughter’s death was devastating to me, and yet it was also a wake up call. I was living the life that my parents and my husband chose for me and I had never stopped to find out what I wanted out of life. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up! The gift that Mandy gave me with her death, that I’m not sure she could have given me with her life is this: Life is short. Live it out loud and make the best of it.

My life has been filled with challenges. Part of what I determined my purpose to is is to inspire others to thrive despite the conditions of their life. The Gift in Adversity is the result of that purpose. It is because of this adversity that I am where I am today. I have grown and received many gifts from seemingly negative experiences. Others have experienced similar events and managed to come out the other side of them in a positive fashion. If you or someone you know has been given “lemons” in life and made “lemonade” instead of curling up in a ball and giving up, please let me know.

I believe that we all have a mission to do with this life that nobody else on the planet can do. I have found that mission and am now living it. I am so very grateful to my daughter for this gift. Please feel free to contact me personally with your story. My email is

Author's Bio: 

Pam Hauser, RN, LMBT is a massage therapist in private practice in Asheville, NC. After over 20 years as a registered nurse, she changed course and began her massaage therapy practice. Although she does do some relaxation massage, Pam's primary focus is utilizing NeuroMuscular Therapy and CranioSacral Therapy to restore function and balance to the body and relieve pain.