Sir Richard Branson Talks About The Horrendous Experience Of Losing The First-Born Baby
Apart from running the Virgin Group (the corporation that controls over 400 companies), Sir Richard Branson is a loving husband and dad to two children, Holly and Sam. And he absolutely enjoys being a granddad to adorable Eva-Deia, Etta, Artie, and Bluey.
Branson thinks that being a father certainly made him a better entrepreneur. The hopes and desires of his children inspired him to chase him dreams. And their fearlessness encouraged him to put himself outside the comfort zone.
Now, the Bransons seem happy. But not everyone knows that the family life of Richard and his wife Joan started with a heartbreak. In 1979, the couple lost their first-born baby, Clare Sarah.
When she was 25 weeks pregnant, Joan thought she was having an attack of appendicitis. As doctors operated on her, it turned out it was just a false alarm. But, unfortunately, it resulted in early labor.
Back in 1979, incubator systems in the country were not as advanced as they are today. And since baby Sarah was only 25 weeks old, it was considered a miscarriage. As Branson opened up:
Although we were told our baby was technically a miscarriage, I was able to hold her hand as she lay in an incubator and it was very human. These are the kind of memories I will keep in my mind forever.
But what hurt Richard and Joan the most was that they could not have a proper burial. Instead, the two held a private service for Clare and put a plague in her name in one of the local Catholic churches.
Clare was buried in a mass grave with other stillborn children. Until 1993, it remained unmarked, but then, a local support group decided to erect a plaque for these babies.
Luckily, the birth of Holly and Sam helped the couple recover from the loss. And Branson did whatever he could to spend more time with his children.
What is Richard’s secret to balancing between work and family?
The key is to work from home. In between emails and calls, the proud dad did school drop offs, attended his kids’ sporting events, and just supported them whenever they needed him.
Although his children are grown-ups now, Branson still prefers working from home and advocates flexible working. By setting an example in his company, Richard encourages other business leaders to allow employees to work from home.
And he doesn’t even plan to retire because such flexibility affords him the great work-life balance.