We had the good fortune of connecting with Kathryn Keener and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kathryn, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
I think in general, a lot of people just aren’t clear what a postpartum doula actually is! Some are more familiar with the support a birth doula provides during labor and delivery. Postpartum doulas begin their support in the home after the baby has arrived. Their role is broad and comprehensive in that they can check in on the healing or adjusting parent/s, answer the inevitable questions that come up early on, fix a home cooked meal and tidy up. They can help a sibling process the change, and provide hands on help with the newborn so that the parents can get a break to catch up on sleep or have an uninterrupted shower! These shifts can happen during the day, or overnight. They are there to provide tools and strategies for dealing with challenges such as sleep deprivation, establishing a feeding relationship, or recognizing postpartum mood or mental health issues. Because of their specialized training and their scope that incorporates supporting the whole family in this critical transition, there is more breadth and depth than the role of a nanny. They usually concentrate their support during those vulnerable first few weeks and months, and usually visit a family a few times a week for the first 6-12 weeks, depending on what the family needs.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
When I was working privately as a doula, I kept hearing from families how hard it was to know what they would need for postpartum support and to be able to find it without becoming totally overwhelmed. In their searches they would come across a wide range of advice, a wide variety of how services were described and delivered… and honestly a wide range of professionalism and reliability. In a field with no licensing or uniform credentialing, we think what sets us a part is a thorough and rigorous vetting and accountability process that puts parents’ minds at ease, and allows us to streamline the process so that by the time they are meeting a potential doula match, we’ve already narrowed it down for them based on availability, qualifications, and even personality match. We also want to set our doulas up for success, by supporting them with camaraderie, professional development, and constructive feedback. You ask was it easy… well no, on the one hand I don’t think running any business can be considered easy! On the other hand, we’ve had great success reaching families, providing the services we set out to provide, and staying on a growth trajectory. One of the main ways I’ve overcome the challenges is to hire well – if something isn’t my strength, or a good use of my skills, I shouldn’t be doing it, and it stops me from doing the things that helped me create this vision and bring it to fruition in the first place (and also, from enjoying it). If it means there’s less of a profit margin but everyone is playing to their strengths, I think it will mean we’re able to do a better job and become stronger as a company as a result – and therefore, be around longer and help more people.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oooh… this is such a great area. Having moved here from the east coast, there’s so much about Southern California that I appreciate! I think the tour would have to include San Diego’s beaches, breweries, and baseball! Petco is a great park and we’re a big baseball family. Cardiff’s beaches are some of my favorite places to visit – alone for a quiet walk, or with friends and family. I love the vibe of San Diego’s breweries and I’m partial to a local IPA every once in a while. They offer so much great outdoor dining in great settings – whether it’s Viewpoint in Del Mar, or Stone Brewery in Escondido, it’s a great way to explore the area!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Starting a business with two small children is no small feat! Since I took some time off from full time work when they were little, returning to working more meant something had to give. Whenever there is a shift like this in a family’s life or dynamic, it’s so critical to have a partner who is open to reexamining whatever the current balance of responsibilities is, and brainstorming possible adjustments. Whether that’s hiring a little extra babysitting to have some uninterrupted time to focus, or deciding that his hours need to be altered somewhat to make time for picking up groceries during the week… I’m so grateful that I have a husband that understands roles are not fixed, and supporting each others’ goals benefits all of us. I can also give credit to those who’ve gone before me in growing businesses. For example, about two years ago, I read Scale or Fail by Alison Maslan. It had such a user-friendly way of breaking down the stages of a business’s health and growth. It affirmed for me a lot of what I instinctually knew about good business strategy, but also opened my eyes to other critical components I hadn’t given enough attention to. I highly recommend it!

Website: www.onemoondoula.com

Instagram: instagram.com/onemoondoula

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/one-moon-doula-services/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/onemoondoulaservices

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/one-moon-doula-services-encinitas-2

Image Credits
The hoodie photo and twins photo – vuefinder photography The headshot – Buffet photography

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