Brianna Bee Philanthropy Award Winner Spring 2020

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Hello, friends! My name is Brianna. I am a 27 year old single woman living in South Florida with my adorable dog, Freddie. I am currently studying to become a licensed massage therapist alongside starting the training to become a doula. Prior to starting this journey, I’ve been a bartender, a food truck manager, an ice cream girl, an office administrator, and a salesperson. In other words, it took me a long time to realize what I wanted to be when I grew up.

 

When I think about how I came to this point, all I see are a series of happy little accidents. An offhand comment led me to looking into massage. Tours of massage schools led to me discovering infant massage. Researching infant massage led me to finding pregnancy and postpartum massage. A birth worker friend suggested I go one step further and train as a doula. At first I brushed it off, mainly because I didn’t actually understand what a doula does and it just sounded impractical, but that suggestion really stuck with me. I began researching doulas – what they do, how to certify, who do I know that used one for their birth or postpartum period? The more I learned, the more I realized that becoming a doula would not only support my goals, but would expand my ability to reach and positively affect families in my community and beyond.

 

Once I started researching doulas, I couldn’t stop, but the more I learned, the more questions I had.This seemed like a great career choice, but why are there so many certifying organizations? And why do the classes all look so differently? Is a weekend course best? Why are there separate courses for different areas of birth work? What if I don’t actually know what exactly I want to specialize in? I mean, postpartum sounds great now, but what if I spend all of this money upfront to pursue it and then realize it’s really not for me? When I was about to throw in the towel and look for a different path, I stumbled upon bebo mia. bebo mia created a course that has all aspects of doula work involved. Instead of being a single weekend course, it’s an online weekly course, and it’s flexible to do. There is business support – instead of just being taught the necessary practical skills involved in doula work, the nuts and bolts of running a business are also covered, and there’s an entire community that’s also available to give support. Their mission of inclusive and accessible education already spoke towards the business plan I wanted to create, and inspired me to think bigger. And, even better, this company has scholarship opportunities.

 

I knew before I won The Philanthropy Award that I would be choosing bebo mia as my certifying organization. I chose to apply for this scholarship in order to be able to jumpstart my career in birth work. Because I am already a full-time massage therapy student with a very tight budget, there is no way I would be able to afford the Maternal Support Practitioner course at this point. My original plan was to wait until I was working as an LMT and received certifications in pregnancy massage and as an Educator of Infant Massage and be able to save up for the course, and then do the certification at that point, most likely a year from now. Instead, with receiving this scholarship, I am able to study both at the same time, and I’ll complete both educations around the same time as well. Instead of having to use my massage business to support my doula education, then eventually combining the two, I’ll be able to start a cohesive business right off the bat and incorporate my other prospective certifications more easily. 

 

My first experience with birth was when one of my closest friends gave birth to her beautiful daughter, and I became Auntie Bee. I met my niece the day she came home from the birth center. My friend had never looked more beautiful in my eyes, and I marvelled at the teeny tiny fingers and toes of this new, wriggling human being. I heard about the birth, which had been difficult (and lasted TWO DAYS!), but mom and baby were doing great, and dad was beaming proudly at both his favorite girls. It was such a beautiful day, and the photos and memories we have of it are some of my favorites. I remember feeling so much love and joy, but also a tinge of sadness. I had done so much and gone through so much with this friend, and yet, had I been there, I would have been entirely useless during her actual birth. It took me a few more years of maturing to really become interested in birth work, but I definitely credit that day with planting the seed for wanting to support women during such an intimate and transformative time.

 

When it comes to the future, I am so happy and excited to look forward. I believe that birth is a time of transition and growth, and that everyone deserves a happy, healthy, and safe birth experience. I want to be able to hold classes and support groups for parents – like Mommy and Me or Daddy and Me courses – in infant massage, and to be able to create a safe space for parents to talk about the joys and struggles of parenthood, and to hopefully be able to open up about things like postpartum depression. I want to create more than just a massage doula business. I plan on expanding my business to not just be private massage and doula clients, but to begin creating outreach programs in the community. After a few years of gaining experience, making connections, and building a successful, stable business of my own, I am going to create a non-profit organization that teams up with other doulas in the local community in order to educate people on the benefits of doula care, provide a large, reliable network of birth workers to potential clients, and to provide pro bono doulas and infant massage courses to families in need.

 

My focus for right now is on growing my own skills and building a stable foundation for myself in order to be able to start giving back as soon as possible. I am so beyond thankful to bebo mia and it’s community for this opportunity. It is not only changing my life, it will be transforming the lives of every life I get the opportunity to support from now on. Thank you bebo mia, thank you to the sponsors, and thank you to the community. I can’t wait to be a contributor.

-Brianna Bee


bebo mia’s live & exclusively online doula certification has been built on four foundational pillars. They are: teaching excellence, cultivating community, ongoing mentorship and holistic & unwavering advocacy. Our mission is to connect womxn* to their intrinsic value & power. One of the ways we aim to do this is by offering the most comprehensive combined fertility, birth & postpartum doula training! Our team of instructors are diverse, interesting, committed to social justice & super funny.

Collectively we are committed to changing the landscape of birth experiences across the globe. 

*We use the term ‘womxn’ in our mission and throughout some of our values work. We define womxn as womxn-identified, femme-presenting, two-spirited, genderqueer, trans-inclusive, gender-non-conforming, androgynous, agender, intersex, bigender, gender questioning, gender fluid, butch, non-binary, queer positive or any person that would like to be included in this definition.

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