First Year Cleveland

First Year Cleveland

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Biomedical Research Building
11000 Cedar Avenue - 4th Floor Cleveland, OH 44106

Phone 216-368-4837
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Jazzmine P.

Jazzmine P. has witnessed firsthand the impact Birthing Beautiful Communities (BBC) is having throughout Cleveland — first as a client, and now as one of their perinatal support professionals. BBC’s model improves health outcomes for both mother and baby by providing women with doulas to assist them throughout their pregnancy and their child’s first year of life. Since 2014, the organization has grown from serving a handful of women to more than 500 in Cuyahoga County. Here, Jazzmine talks about her experience on both sides of the program.

I have two daughters, an eight-year-old and a one-year-old. With both children, I went through the CenteringPregnancy program for my prenatal care. The founder of Birthing Beautiful Communities, Christin Farmer, came to talk to my group and tell us about the program. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it sounded like something I needed.

With my second pregnancy, my daughter’s father wasn’t around at all. I was really struggling with feeling alone and stressed before I started going to the classes at BBC.

But once I started going, it was incredible just being around other women and realizing that I wasn’t the only one going through what I was going through. Even if the other women didn’t have the exact same background, I realized we were all dealing with something, and the support made it easier.

"The connections I made were so strong. I actually met one of my best friends, Mya, in the program — we talk all the time and it’s great because our kids are the same age."

Prior to BBC I felt like I had isolated myself. I felt maybe I was ashamed about being pregnant; but the classes really helped me let that go.

The connections I made were so strong. I actually met one of my best friends, Mya, in the program — we talk all the time and it’s great because our kids are the same age.

The biggest benefit is that the staff helped me notice how stressed I was. I didn’t notice I was yelling for no reason. I didn’t realize that I was angry and sad. I thought the way I was feeling was normal. They helped me notice the way I was maneuvering wasn’t healthy for me or my unborn child.

After I recognized it, I was able to talk about it. At the time, I was a private person. I kept my problems, my emotions and my feelings to myself. Having a place where I didn’t feel judged, where someone wouldn’t look down on me, was a blessing.

Before working at BBC, I was working as a state tested nursing aide (STNA). One day, my doula called me and told me that I should apply to BBC. They knew I had taken the classes seriously and would be a good fit as a doula with them. It fell in my lap at the right time.

Because I was a client myself at BBC, I feel like I can empathize with our clients on a different level. I try to be there any way that I can for someone who I know really needs it. I know what it’s like to want to do something and not having the means to do it. I get a natural high off helping people.

Even though I had a doula myself, being on the other side has given me a different perspective and I can see how thankful our clients are for even the smallest gestures. It’s incredibly rewarding.

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