For the Spring 2019 Doula Maternal Support Practitioner Program Scholarship at bebo mia inc we had some amazing applicants and are thrilled to present our winners’ submissions. With the help of some incredible sponsors like Olivia Scobie & community partners, we were able to offer 8 full Scholarships and 8 partial Scholarships to our combined fertility, birth and postpartum doula training – all hand-selected by our very own Scholarship Committee!
We are pleased to announce, Khessia Rachelle Jean-Baptiste, as the winner of the 2019 Philanthropy Scholarship. The Philanthropy Award recognizes an applicant whose project, personal goals, or business plan includes a component of paying it forward. The recipient will demonstrate a spirit of altruism and exhibit a dedication to generosity and will have a solid plan around how they will use their doula training to give back to their local community or to underserved populations.
My name is Khessia Rachelle Jean-Baptiste. I am a 33-year-old New York-born, Haitian raised, full-time educator in an elementary school. My most current fixation is learning to slow down while I grow. The hashtags for my journey are #DeliberateSlowness and #ContinuousGrowth, which helps me stay accountable. Watching others transform motivates and inspires me, which is why I serve as a consultant with Transform Coaching & Consulting in the areas of racial equity, education, and self-care. Living in Florida makes my newest passion for plants incredibly satisfying. For now, plant parenting is my jam until I’m blessed to parent little humans. I have been super active in the Seventh-Day Adventist Christian church community for about 20 years, which helped prepare me to serve.
I knew that I wanted to further my education after earning my bachelor’s degree in a super traditional higher learning institution. However, I was committed to going back to school in a way that aligned with my values and honored my passions. I also believed that there was a scholarship with my name on it, out in the universe. When I found out about the scholarship (I stumbled on it while doing research on bebo mia) and I read the descriptions, I felt tied to so many of them. It seemed like the scholarships were waiting for me. I trusted that the timing was right and my experiences set me up to take the leap and trust in the potential. One mantra I had been repeating was “Good things are going to happen”. I repeated and believed it even as I responded to the application questions.
bebo mia seems like a no brainer now, but I actually looked at two other doula education organizations before setting my sights on my best match. A couple of months ago, I committed to starting on my doula journey without clear scientific evidence that I could afford it. Feelings and intuition have guided me to beautiful opportunities, so I began spending a little time each day investing in career growth. I started reading a chapter or two on birthing, talked to mothers about their pregnancies and listened to doulas share their experiences. One doula of color (@cocodoula) had so much excitement sharing her perspective of bebo mia, and her energy was contagious! I began poking around and discovered that bebo mia reflected so many of my beliefs about the respect and inclusivity of all people. I loved that bebo mia also shared posts about the devastatingly disproportionate rate at which black mothers and babies die when compared to their white counterparts in the United States of America.
I have wanted to help mothers through their birth since I was in high school. I want to be a MSP Doula because I want to help women heal. Birthing is painted as a terrifying experience and I want to begin by helping women heal their mindsets. Trauma can damage the process and make it even more burdensome. I believe that conception, pregnancy, birth, and parenting were originally intended to be beautiful bonding processes. I have found, by simply being, that I attract women in search of healing. My fascination with the process, coupled with my experiences processing my own healing from abuse, helps me help others.
Therapy, reading, self-reflection, meditation, prayer, journaling, sharing, facilitating communities of practice and listening have brought me to a place where I want to share the peace I’ve experienced by moving through my healing process. The work I’ve been doing in exploring racial inequities in education have pointed me to the historical systemic racial inequities that currently exist for black women in the United States of America. I have to be a doula because I want to educate all women. Especially marginalized groups, such as women of color, about their bodies and the way it’s been designed to make, grow and deliver babies.
As a doula, I want to work one on one with clients, teach small group classes, speak to large groups, provide online resources, and consultation for those who are placed on my path. My plan is to continue teaching in schools during the school year for a year or two while I teach childbirth classes during the summer or after school hours. During that time, I also plan to do presentations for large groups. Atlanta has the 2nd largest black population in the U.S.A. and many still go to churches. I will work through church networks to spread knowledge and build awareness about the accessibility of maternal support. My experience as a teacher and consultant will help me to deliver engaging presentations that effectively communicate principles of health and advocacy. I’ll continue marketing my availability as a personal maternal support practitioner and build a clientele for my own doula business. I believe that while I’m working in different capacities I’ll find the space where I can best serve women. I want to become a fertility specialist, a childbirth educator and provide postpartum support for people. I intend to travel to other West Indian countries to learn and experience the culturally specific ways in which “wise women”, or femme sage, take other women through the process of fertility and childbirth and the days after. I plan to commit my life to this profession.
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