Member Spotlight: Making an Impact through Grief

One of the best and most beautiful transitions women can go through in life is becoming a mother. Unfortunately, not all motherhood stories are filled with ease or the outcome we hope for.

Heather is one of our most deeply inspiring mothers at Phoebe. The company she works for added Phoebe as an offering when she was pregnant in 2021 with her second baby. “I was planning on utilizing mostly for postpartum support to help with breastfeeding and sleep, and also enjoyed Phoebe’s tips and product recommendations throughout my pregnancy.”

Heather’s postpartum, however, wasn’t what she expected. Soon after her son Liam was born, he was diagnosed with a rare and severe case of epilepsy. Even though he was receiving the best care available and was taking 3 different medications, he tragically passed away from respiratory failure due to unremitting seizures. But in the 3 short weeks he was with her, Liam changed Heather’s heart and life forever.

At Phoebe, we still remember getting the call and the collective heartbreak that followed. Our team, including Heather’s assigned postpartum doula, Alex, did everything we could to provide support and guidance through the shock and trauma. Since then, we have witnessed Heather and her family work through the grief to find peace and connection with Liam by creating a new story of hope. Heather’s family has found growth, beauty, and a way to honor Liam’s legacy by working towards a future where fewer families have to go through what they experienced.
Heather has been working closely with the Epilepsy Neurogenetics Initiative (ENGIN) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), which has the largest epilepsy genetics program and the largest neurogenetics group in the world. Last year, Heather’s family hosted a golf tournament that raised $75k for the program and allowed researchers and team members to see the impact they have on families, and was an enormous morale booster for everyone involved.

Energized by this event, Heather and her family decided to launch their own nonprofit, the Love For, as a means to organize and enhance their efforts to provide hope for the families who need it most. The foundation conducts monthly meetings with the ENGIN Team to better develop its contribution and impact strategy. They have become such integral part of the team that ENGIN shut down their office to allow all 25 of their team members to join the 2nd Annual Liam Johnson Golf Outing and Benefit Dinner, which took place last month and raised $90k for the program.

We asked Heather what her advice to other moms would be, and responded with a beautiful reflection:“Motherhood is our superpower. It gives us both our hardest and our best moments, and I am the strongest version of myself because of this. Most of us have set plans on ideal timing and what our family will look like, but know that we are internally equipped with all of the tools needed to self-heal when things don’t go according to plan. Luckily, there are programs such as Phoebe to give us the additional support when we need it.”

Heather is currently in the third trimester of her third pregnancy, and we are extremely glad that she has chosen to join Phoebe’s program once again. “Motherhood is hard. I returned to Phoebe because I am open to all support and because of the fondness that I have for the Phoebe team. My three babies are results of fertility treatments. I am so grateful for science but I know how hard and lonely the unknown can be. I hope all moms-in-waiting can find the support system to help them through the toughest moments.”

Heather, we are thrilled to have you as part of Phoebe and are honored to share your story. Thank you for your resilience and for letting us continue to be part of your journey. We wish you the very best in this new stage and hope to see how Liam’s legacy lives on through your work in the foundation and the enormous impact it is making in the world.