MSP Fall 2017 Scholarship Winner: Tarina Jackson


For the Fall 2017 Maternal Support Practitioner Program at bebo mia inc we had a record number of scholarship applications submitted! Choosing our winners was incredibly difficult and in the end, we ended up selecting 6 winners. Two of the scholarships were sponsored by amazing female-owned businesses, Hip Mommies & SleepBelt. The other four were sponsored by us because we truly could not pick just one winner for the #bebobabes Bursary. We are so honoured and excited that we are able to provide scholarships to incredibly strong, motivated, kind and passionate women from all over the world who would otherwise not be able to afford a doula training program. When a scholarship recipient is chosen they must submit a blog entry introducing themselves and their “why”.

We are pleased to introduce you to another one of our Fall 2017 MSP #bebobabes Bursary recipients, Tarina Jackson…

The hardest part when talking about yourself is the introduction so let’s just get that awkward bit out of the way; my name is Tarina, I’m 23, and I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. There. Like a bandaid.

Once, when I was around 7 years old I watched a show on Discovery Health about a woman in India who had been “pregnant” for decades. There’s no plot twist here, it was an ectopic pregnancy that had managed to remain undetected (and thankfully not fatal) her entire life. The point of this story is that I was captivated. I was always watching things about the human body, birth in particular, so later when my dad came home from work I bombarded him.

“Daddy I watched this show about this lady who had a baby but it got stuck in the fallopian tube and it burst and attached to her liver and it stayed there until she was 73!!”

To which my dad replied, “Tarina… Do you know where babies come from?”


“Oh. Okay.”

So, obviously, when I was 10, I decided to be an architect. I studied design and enrolled in the architecture program at Morgan State University when I was 18. Long story short; I dropped out. Oops!

My best friend had a baby and I began studying infant care and development in order to answer all of the questions she seemed to expect me to be able to answer while I was sitting with her after work everyday. I tapped right back into that old interest in the human body I’d always had as a child and I read every article, blog, study that I could find in order to answer her questions and satisfy my own curiosity. A year later I watched my sister give birth and I felt worse than useless.

I watched the snowball of interventions, and I realized that I knew just enough to know that I didn’t know enough.

You can follow Tarina on Instagram @barefootbaltimore

I knew I should be asking questions but I didn’t know what questions to ask. I knew I should be offering my sister support but I didn’t even know where to begin when it came to comforting a labouring woman. I knew the nurses were being rude and disrespectful to my sister and her wishes but I had no idea what to do about it (besides yell at one of them, which I did!).

So I studied some more. I researched evidence based birth practices. I learned about newborn care. I learned about the horrifying maternal mortality rate in our country (and my city in particular). I learned how to answer to all of the questions I had the day my sister gave birth and one day, while reading up on infant sleep I realized I was a doula. Just like that. I wanted to learn as much as I could and I wanted to do whatever I could to make sure as many women as possible benefitted from my knowledge. 

I wanted to go into delivery rooms and know how to be of use.

That sounds like an “Ah-ha!” movie moment doesn’t it? I assure you it wasn’t. I didn’t see the word “doula” and suddenly clouds parted and a voice inside began to sing. It was more like “Oh so that’s what I am!” And everyone around me went “Duh.”

I read once that people don’t decide to become birth workers, they just are. I just am.

That is why this scholarship is so important for me. I cried, actually bursted into tears, when I won; I never could have afforded the education I desired to become a certified doula. I live in a low income area in Baltimore; I “get by”. The women I want to work with are the women who also “get by”. We are the women most at risk due to misinformation and lack of evidence based care. We are the women least likely to breastfeed due to lack of support. We are the women who need other women who understand us, who look like us standing in our corner. We have to help ourselves and each other but without this scholarship, the training I needed to realize my goals and dreams would have been out priced.

With this education I will be able to confidently offer my services as a doula to women in my city.

I will have the training needed to begin work with the Department of Health as a postpartum doula through the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, either in paid or voluntary capacity. I know I need to learn more about running a business before I can make a more solid plan; that’s part of the reason I’m here with bebo mia inc after all, but I want to do as much low cost or pro bono work as I can afford. bebo mia is giving me the tools I need to give back, and I am not going to take this for granted.

I can’t wait to begin this journey. I can’t wait to see what I can do with this opportunity.


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