Certified Professional Midwife, Owner, Clinical Director
I began my path to midwifery at the age of 16 after attending the birth of my nephew. When I was supposed to be doing my algebra homework I was reading pregnancy-related books! For Christmas 2000 my dear friend Melanie Copeland gave me a copy of Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. I was immediately hooked and knew that midwifery outside of the hospital was where I belonged.
Soon after, I began my midwifery studies while also completing my bachelor’s degree at Eastern Mennonite University, getting married, and giving birth to my own two children! Those were busy years and so very precious.
My midwifery training has been a reflection of my commitment to caring service: I have worked with 9 different Virginia midwives, volunteered with Medical Ministry International (Dominican Republic), African Birth Collective (Senegal), interned at Casa de Nacimiento (El Paso, TX), and birth assisted at Heartland Health Clinic (Dayton, VA). I have attended over 600 births and thousands of prenatal and postpartum visits.
Certified Professional Midwife, Licensed Midwife
I’ve had an interest in birth since childhood. At the age of nineteen, while browsing through various book titles at a local bookstore, I discovered ‘Spiritual Midwifery’ by Ina May Gaskin. Like others, I was captivated by the images and words written by women fully engaged in the birthing process; welcoming and celebrating the process of childbirth. Several books on childbirth later, I began my midwifery studies at the National College of Midwifery and the Northern New Mexico Women’s Health & Birth Center in Taos, New Mexico. Having graduated and completed my training, I sat for the NARM exam in August of 2003 achieving the Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential. Later that year, I became a mother with the birth of our son, born at home into the hands of a midwife and friend.
In 2006, I opened a small community home birth practice, Rockbridge Midwifery. Over the years I’ve enjoyed caring for women and their families, while also growing my own family with the birth of our second son in 2006 and our daughter in 2012.
Birth is powerful as are women! I believe in the intuition of mothers and that birth works best when a woman is in the environment she feels safest, with the people of her choosing. I’m happy to be working with the families of Brookhaven as we collaborate for the safest and most satisfying birth possible in the birth center or at home.
I am licensed to practice midwifery by the Virginia Board of Medicine, certified in neonatal resuscitation and adult CPR and a member of the Virginia Midwives Alliance.
Certified Professional Midwife
I have been drawn to birth, babies, and healthcare for as long as I can recall. In my teen years, I thought I wanted to be an obstetrician. When I got pregnant with my son I did what my mother had done, I went to the OB practice at our local hospital. This was how she and my older sister had birthed their collective 8 children and I followed suit. I remember feeling disconnected and almost disoriented after the hospital birth. I had always thought birth was going to be a powerful experience. Instead, I felt like an object that things were done to rather than an active participant in my birth, and that the experience was fundamentally very wrong. These feelings stayed with me for years to come and eventually led me to midwifery. I started studying Midwifery as an active member of a local Richmond study group in 2009. There were 10 members in the study group, 7 of whom have attained the CPM credential and one that has become a CNM. The following year, in 2010, I began Midwifery school at The Virginia School of Traditional Midwifery and was offered my first apprenticeship with a homebirth midwife in the Richmond area. I have been actively attending home and birth center births as an apprentice midwife and midwife’s assistant since, attending over 200 births with 12 midwives in 6 practices across Virginia. In December of 2018 I earned my CPM credential and was licensed by the Virginia Board of Medicine in March of 2019. I maintain current certifications in CPR and NRP as well as regularly participating in conferences and workshops to further my knowledge and skills.
Some of my midwifery training was done here at Brookhaven in 2017 and 2018. I enjoyed the relationships with the families I served and the incredible staff here and look forward to working with you all again as a part-time staff midwife.
Office Manager, Billing Specialist
I am a Harrisonburg native and currently live in Rockingham County with my husband and youngest son. I am also a new grandmother to a sweet baby girl! I decided to become a part of Brookhaven Birth Center stemming from my own birth experiences and desire for more natural pregnancy and delivery.
I knew from the moment I discovered I was pregnant with both of my children that I would hire a midwife for my care. After having two natural hospital births I still somehow felt as if something was missing from my experiences. I wanted more options of birthing positions, being able to deliver in water, laboring at my own pace, and generally feeling more freedom. Having those options at Brookhaven, along with many others, are the reasons I feel blessed to have the honor of helping families achieve the birth experiences that they desire.
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant,
My interest in midwifery was sparked after my first son was born in 2007. My prenatal care and delivery left me with a feeling that I had no control in my care and my wishes and feelings were brushed off by my provider. Once I became pregnant a second time I automatically knew our family would pursue care through a midwife. We had an amazing experience and delivery of our twins. By the time our fourth child came along I was a huge advocate for midwifery care and felt a strong calling to help other women have the same fulfilling experiences I had with my last two pregnancies.
Hand in hand with midwifery I am a strong breastfeeding advocate. The bond between a mother and baby is like no other. I have been working as a breastfeeding counselor since 2014 helping breastfeeding dyads overcome barriers and reach their breastfeeding goals. I have attended Blue Ridge Community College to expand my knowledge in the Health and Sciences field and completed enough lactation education training hours that I am also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. You can learn more about lactation services here.
I am beyond thrilled to begin my midwifery apprenticeship with the amazing staff at Brookhaven!
I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2014 and immediately joined the first class of midwifery students in the Academy of Experiential Midwifery Education in Charlottesville. In 2015, after a year at the academy, I was honored to begin an apprenticeship at Brookhaven. I spent two wonderful years attending birth in the community and learning from these dedicated midwives. For the past year and a half, I spent time traveling and experiencing new things while learning a lot along the way. I’m so thrilled to be back at Brookhaven and starting the role of Primary Midwife Under Supervision. This is a lifelong dream realized for me, as I grew up always wanting to follow in my mother’s footsteps as a midwife and I feel so grateful to be doing that here with you all. As a primary student under supervision I look forward to taking an active role in informed discussions about pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Being able to attend births with the families of Brookhaven has been a life-changing experience and will forever shape the midwife I become.
My passion for healthcare began in high school when I met and shadowed an amazing OB/GYN who inspired me to pursue a career in women’s health. I attended and graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in Public Health and a minor in Medical Humanities. During my time at the University of South Carolina, I had the opportunity to study public health internationally, traveling and working in village clinics and hospitals in countries such as Belize, Nicaragua, and Argentina. I also conducted field research on HIV/AIDS disparities in rural South Carolina. My senior graduation project involved researching and studying disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality, mainly addressing the high cesarean rates found globally. Through this project, I discovered the undeniable evidence that midwives are part of the solution to improving outcomes for women and infants. I became a birth and postpartum doula in 2016. Following my doula training, I also trained to become a childbirth educator. From there, I just knew my next step was to become a midwife in order to support women and their options surrounding birth and healthcare. I enrolled at the National Midwifery Institute in 2018 and gained some experience apprenticing at a water birth center in South Carolina. I am elated to begin my apprentice journey at Brookhaven and to learn from the wonderful midwives that practice here.
Marketing and Social Media
I am currently a junior attending Spotswood High School, and have lived in Harrisonburg-Rockingham area for my entire life. My mother is Misty Ward, one of our midwives here. Although I hope to have a career in psychology in the future, midwifery has been a huge part of my life since childhood. I’ve learned the great struggle committing to midwifery can be but I’ve also witnessed the beautiful outcomes and experiences they come to have. I think that natural birthing is so important, and my goal as the marketing savant is to make sure this message is reached out to the community. So any time you receive a newsletter or see a post on our social media-that will most likely be from me!
Lauren credits her mother, grandmother, and a childhood friends’ mom for teaching her to love and serve other women, children and babies. Being in close relationship with women as they diaper babies, nurse babies, and serve each other in meal preparation, as well as household responsibilities is a time-honored heritage that gave Lauren a solid understanding of motherhood, and the heart of midwifery.
Raising four children along with her husband, Dean, is Lauren’s greatest joy. They welcomed their first granddaughter in January 2019. Their home is a hub and welcome haven for 20 somethings and their significant others, children, and friends. Yummy meals, dance-offs, hide and seek, ice cream before dinner, and lots of silliness and laughing are some of the favorite activities.
Lauren’s formal training in a popular natural childbirth method, teaching childbirth and attending births as a Doula in the home, hospital, and birth center setting, set the stage for a life-long calling to birth work.
Lauren brings her postgraduate work in Education and Curriculum & Instruction to serve you in Childbirth Preparation Classes on a weekly basis, up until your delivery, should you so desire. Please inquire for details.
Lauren is overjoyed to continue her journey to midwifery as a student at Brookhaven. Thank you for entrusting your family and the most precious moments to us!