Christin Farmer Kane, founding president and CEO of Birthing Beautiful Communities (BBC), a nonprofit organization based in Cleveland and Akron, is a doula, community leader and advocate for expecting mothers and infants. A birthing doula provides mothers with emotional and physical support before and after childbirth. BBC takes care of 500 births and 300 families a year.
Born and raised in Cleveland, Kane became obsessed with infants at 14 and had her heart set on becoming a midwife.
“TV portrays birth to be this chaotic thing where there are episodes of the mom screaming, and the dad is running around and passing out,” she says. “The first time that I witnessed birth, [it was] very calm, very reassuring. This attracted me to birth.”
Kane graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in communication. After being rejected several times from various certified nursing programs, Kane was advised to seek more experience. She then began to train with Doulas of North America (DONA), based in Ohio, to become a birthing doula.
For Kane, DONA’s model of training tailored to the business and not the people giving birth. Kane realized showing up for the delivery is not enough to care for expecting mothers in distress.
“How we bring the child into this world sets the tone for the child’s environment and development,” she says.
In 2014, Kane posted on Facebook, looking for other doulas. She received six responses, and they formed her first team.
“I had no idea what it would turn into,” she says. “I was just happy to see that there were more black doulas than myself in the city.”
Kane was granted $4,000 from Neighborhood Connections and a $125,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation to staff BBC.
“I remember telling my team to just stick with me because one day, they would be able to leave their jobs and do this full time,” says Kane.
Verna Darby, a birthing worker of 20 years, took an early retirement from her previous job to join Kane and serve her community as a full-time doula.
“Christin formed a sisterhood. She would always say that we, as doulas, are birth workers mothering to mothers, so we are our sister’s keeper,” Darby says.
With a spiritual approach, Kane sets the atmosphere to welcome newborn babies into the world. She believes decreasing infant mortality starts from the mother’s womb.
Briana Johnson-Baldwin, a Detroit native, became a South Euclid resident and BBC client in 2019. During her first pregnancy, she experienced some complications. Giving birth to her second child, her doula helped her.
“My doula is the reason that my birth went the way that I wanted it to go,” Johnson-Baldwin says. “I believe God used her and them in a way that was just so awesome, and it blessed me.”
Five years later, BBC thrives with a staff of 21 people and a sister location opening up soon in Akron. BBC offers a long list of services, including workshops and classes on breastfeeding, stress relief, bonding with a baby and co-parenting, as well as perinatal support training to provide support for labor, delivery and postpartum health, including depression and family, life and personal goal planning.
“I’m so happy to make good on my promises. I have made tons of sacrifices, and I have risked so much.” Kane says. “I believe that this is my sole