I think today, Giving Tuesday, is an appropriate day to talk about the wonderful doula we used for Brielle’s birth. A Doula is a professional trained in childbirth who supports a woman and her husband during, pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. The word “Doula” comes from the Greek term meaning “servant to mother”. Lauren Bishop, is a woman who is very dear to David and I. I joined an anencephaly support group after Brielle was diagnosed with anencephaly. Lauren, also a member, reached out to me and offered her bereavement services, for free, to be a support to David and I as we went through this journey with Brielle.
Lauren’s son Ethan died on June 19, 2013 from anencephaly. Two years later, Brielle would get her diagnosis of anencephaly as well, on the same day. Sweet Ethan inspired his mother to become a doula to not only help mother’s with healthy pregnancies, but also to help mother’s facing pregnancy and infant loss, to be a support and source of strength to lean on during such a horrible time. Lauren honors Ethan’s life with this service. And she is a wonderful, amazing woman who does a phenomenal job serving other mothers. I cannot even begin to describe what a remarkable woman she is.
Donations to Ethan’s Hope go towards helping other mother’s who face infant loss. Lauren provides not only her time (late hours during the entire pregnancy, the entire delivery time, and after), she also provides memory making materials and services, photography of the entire event, gifts for the baby and the parents, her support, and advocacy. During our c-section, Lauren stood next to David and I during the surgery and helped me through that time, that was a very difficult time and I am so grateful for her support. I could not even think of the funeral during the whole pregnancy or really after Brielle was born either. Lauren contacted multiple funeral homes in Atlanta, talked to them all about options, and gave us her honest opinion of which she thought was the best. She recommended Mayes Ward-Dobbins Funeral Home, after Brielle was born, which was a beautiful wonderful place, filled with wonderful good honest people. Lauren also set up a photographer for us from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, an organization that has photographers donate their services for infant loss. We just received the pictures from that a few days ago and they turned out beautifully.
Lauren did more for us than I’ll ever be able to explain. She does amazing work with Ethan’s Hope. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet Ethan, but I do know he must have been an amazing little boy to have inspired such selfless work from his sweet mommy. And I am forever grateful to him and his mommy. And thankful that Brielle has a sweet friend to play with in Heaven.