February 12, 2020
Mention mothers and babies in the Southeast, and one name is sure to come up in conversation: Cecilia Pearson, the founder and CEO of Lifestages Media Inc. and creator of the Babypalooza brand. Since 2005, Cecilia, or CC as she is known to friends, has overseen a successful, multi-platform business that provides a unique media community for “new, expectant and hopeful moms.”
Through premier parenting conferences and baby expos, magazines, and a thriving digital network, Babypalooza serves as a guide for new and growing families on a wide range of topics, everything from breastfeeding and car seat installation to infant play and CPR instruction. The recently launched Babypalooza app allows parents to connect to products, resources, and each other. (More details may be found at Babypalooza.com).
Among causes that Ms. Pearson has always championed are doulas, trained, non-medical, pregnancy and birth support professionals for pre-and post-partum needs. This year, in fact, Ms. Pearson has committed to donating $1200 to cover a “work-study position” for a doula trainee at BirthWell Partners Community Doula Project (BWP) (https://www.birthwellpartners.org/), a local not-for-profit that seeks to improve the health of low-resource families and their infants in Central Alabama.
Her voice, reach, and dedication to the health and welfare of women and children make Ms. Pearson a natural person to receive BWP’s first annual “It Takes a Village Award,” says Dalia Abrams,who is Executive Director of Program Operations at BWP in Birmingham, AL. “CC has created a variety of ways to lift up doula work and breastfeeding support by inviting BWP to exhibit at Babypalooza, creating a space specifically for holistic services to highlight what we do, promoting our non-profit work in her magazine and more. She has also invited BirthWell Partners to present about doulas (birth and postpartum) at recent Babypalooza events. Her heart is in helping women find the support and services they need: Building a village through today’s media, events, and technology. And she was among the first persons locally to recognize the need for this!”
In 2011, Ms. Abrams, who holds an M.A. and M.P.H., co-founded BirthWell Partners along with another professional childbirth educator and doula, Susan Petrus, to provide childbirth education, doula training and support to at-risk moms. For a long time, health and welfare issues related to motherhood did not garner much attention outside of the birthing community, says Ms. Petrus. In recent years, however, “champions” have emerged, which is why BirthWell Partners has created two annual awards to recognize leaders in the better birthing and family wellness movement.
Explains Ms. Petrus: “Cecilia recognizes the loss of village due to modern ways of doing things, and she is working hard to use her skills in advertising and marketing to connect women to what they need. For example, she encourages moms to blog for her to bring a variety of voices, opinions and support to her readers (online and in the magazine). She holds a lunch for her bloggers and professionals to talk about what we can do together to help moms. She has also organized other amazing events, such as the Big Latch at Regions Field in 2018 during world breastfeeding week. She’s a true champion for healthy families.”
A native of Birmingham, Ms. Pearson says her entrepreneurial days go back to a lemonade stand that she had when she was 9 years old. “But I didn’t just have a stand. It was a lemonade franchise, with me organizing kickball games so I could sell more lemonade and recruiting other kids to work the stands. Before that, it was a backyard circus. I was born to be an event girl and an entrepreneur,” she recently told Bronze Valley, a non-profit incubator (https://bronzevalley.com/for-babypaloozas-pearson-birmingham-is-part-of-the-formula-for-success/.)
Ms. Pearson earned college degrees at two Alabama institutions, with a B.S. in marketing from Jacksonville State University followed by a Master’s in counseling from the University of Montevallo. In addition to her work at Babypalooza, she is a frequent contributor to newspapers and daytime television news, sharing valuable information and resources for families.
Ms. Pearson will receive her award during the annual Earthy Birthy Fair & Family Wellness Expo Saturday, Feb. 22, from noon to 4p.m. at Innovation Depot in downtown Birmingham (https://www.birthwellpartners.org/the-earthy-birthy-family-wellness-expo/expo-2020/).
The Fair, which is free, is sponsored by both BirthWell Parnters and Babypalooza. It offers attendees an afternoon stroll through an array of holistic and natural family services from local vendors, professional presenters, and representatives of health organizations. Vendors include BirthWise in Birmingham, Alabama Tongue-Tie Center, SweetKiss Fertility, Villager Yoga, Mothers Milk Bank of AL, BHM|Borndoula group, Forge Chiropractic, Ingrid LaShawn‘s handmade baby products,CMD Snaps, Children and family photographer Crystal Dorothy, and Alabama Regional Medical Services , among many others. Click here to register and buy advanced raffle tickets (to be eligible for more special prizes!)
“Don’t miss the awards ceremony at 1 p.m.”, says Ms. Abrams. “We will be honoring two exceptional women this year: Cecilia with the ‘It Takes a Village Award,” and investigative reporter, Anna Claire Vollers, with the “Advocate of the Year Award” (https://www.birthwellpartners.org/home/press/anna-claire-vollers-of-reckon-al-com-wins-advocacy-award-for-motherhood-in-alabama-series/.)”
After the Awards Ceremony, BirthWell Partners will host four “don’t-miss” educational sessions, she adds:
Anna Claire Vollers of AL.com talks about “7 things I learned from spending a year reporting on
mothers in AL”
2 p.m.: Birth photographer Crystal Dorothy of CMD photography talks about “Documenting the Birth of Your Baby”
2:30 p.m.: Panel Discussion on “Assembling Your Birth Support Team” with an OB, a CNM, a CPM, a birth doula a postpartum doula and a representative from ICAN, the International Cesarean Awareness Network
3 p.m.: Baby Wearing “Demonstration and Fashion Show”
BirthWell Partners Community Doula Project was founded in Birmingham, AL, in 2011, to improve the health of low-resource families and their infants in Central Alabama. Unique in the state, the organization offers free and reduced-cost childbirth education, breastfeeding assistance, and non-medical labor support provided by birth doulas. (A doula is a trained, non-medical, pregnancy and birth support professional). Since its founding, BirthWell Partners has trained over 250 doulas, attended more than 400 births, and provided childbirth classes and pregnancy support for more than 500 women in central Alabama. Research shows BWP doula-supported clients are 10 times more likely to breastfeed their babies, compared to local averages for similar births. Additionally, these moms are significantly less likely to have a cesarean birth or to need an epidural. And their babies are more likely to be born full term, with a higher birthweight. For more information about BirthWell Partners, see https://www.birthwellpartners.org/. Check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BirthWellPartners/.
Who: Cecilia Pearson, Founder, Babypalooza, Recipient, “It Takes A Village Award”
What: Award Ceremony by BirthWell Partners Community Doula Project
When: 1-1:30 p.m. (Fair runs from noon to 4 p.m.)
Where: Earthy Birthy Fair & Family Wellness Expo, Innovation Depot
How: Free & open to the public; to register for the Fair in advance, click here.