MMA fighter, wife on how new baby helped them heal after toddler's death

by Rheana Murray / / Source: Today

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More than a year after the death of their 15-month-old son, an MMA fighter and his wife are opening up about how they've managed to cope with their grief — and the birth of a new son.

Marcus Kowal and Mishel Eder introduced 4-month-old son Nico, their second child, on a recent episode of "The Doctors."

"He's been a blessing and he has really helped us on this healing journey," Eder said.

The couple's first son, Liam, was killed by a drunk driver last September near Los Angeles, California. The 72-year-old woman found guilty of his death was sentenced to prison in August, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Kowal and Eder have since embarked on a mission to prevent drunk driving, and have been open about the heartbreak that followed after Liam's death. Kowal, who is originally from Sweden and now owns a training center in Los Angeles, often writes about Liam on his blog.

He said on "The Doctors" that he wants Nico to grow up knowing about his older brother.

"It's important for him to know that he's his own person and he never feels that he lives in the shadow of his brother, but he's proud of his older brother and knows of his older brother," Kowal said.

He also explained the significance of Liam's name, all the more poignant after the boy's death.

"The reason we chose Liam was it means 'the people's protector,'" Kowal said. "And this was not the way we had hoped for him to be a protector, but he's already saved lives directly by donating his organs (and) also from the people who reached out to us around the world pledging to never drink and drive again."

Nico's name means "the people's victory," they said.

Kowal announced his birth on Instagram in July, writing a sweet message to Liam.

"He was born in the same room as you were, by the same doctor, who remembers you very much," he wrote. "He looks a lot like you but has more hair. One day, when he's old enough, he will learn about his older brother and he will be proud of you, just like I'm sure you will be proud of him. Your mommy is doing fine. Look after him, will you?"

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