The Celebrating Moms and Their Choices Series
As with most first time parents, becoming a mother was an intense transition. Nothing prepared me for the late nights, lack of sleep and emotional ups and downs in those first few months.
Having been a Registered Nurse for sick infants and children for over 15 years, I thought that this transition would not be so intense because I did have the necessary knowledge of how to bathe and care for my newborn. I knew what to do in a medical emergency, and I knew what was normal for newborn babies as opposed to when I needed to seek medical care. I had taught other mother’s how to breastfeed (or so I thought) and that the entrance into motherhood would be an easy one for me. Wow, was I wrong.
I was that mother who was up in the middle of the night googling how to get a lactation consultant to my house the next day. I was the mother who cried over spilled freshly pumped milk, and the mother who felt isolated and disconnected from this life-changing event.
I spent many hours seeking out new resources and support to help get through these first few months and I was frustrated at how difficult and time consuming it was to find the practitioners I needed. I thought that it shouldn’t be this fragmented or hard to find the help and support that I needed.
After the ‘fourth trimester’, I was able to get my bearings together and was part of a great mother’s group. Since I was a nurse, I was often their go-to resource and frequently received texts and calls about concerns over their little one. I was truly surprised how little education was available in the community, and how there was such a gap in the market for this education.
I started realizing from my own personal experience, and now from the support I was giving to my friends, that I could start a business (I have a strong background in nursing and also a Masters in nursing leadership and healthcare systems) that would offer the services and support needed during this fragile time. I could be the ‘one stop shop’ that provided newborn education and support for all of their unique needs. I started taking a lactation- consulting course and part way through the program I thought, “what am I doing? I don’t enjoy this, and why am I going to provide education on something as personal as breastfeeding when I don’t enjoy learning about it”.
I regrouped, brainstormed, meditated and the answer became crystal clear. NewboRN Solutions Inc. was conceived. Through my professional relationships and connections, I would hire the best practitioners and become the household name that offered this ‘one stop shop’ for in-home and personalized pre- and postnatal education.
I began by creating a CPR Certification course, as well as a class called Infant/Child Emergency Care that would prepare parents and caregivers for how to assess and care for common injuries and illnesses prior to receiving medical attention. Serendipitously, I connected with amazing nurses (and also mothers) who offered childbirth education, lactation consulting and newborn care; and so, NewboRN Solutions was born! So far it has been an amazing journey. In our first year, we certified over 250 people for an Infant/Child CPR Certification and offered personalized in-home classes.
My greatest challenge in starting NewboRN Solutions has been maintaining my work/life balance. Starting a company, whether it is a lifestyle business or a tech start-up, is no joke. It is way more time consuming than you would even imagine it would be. Although I was able to cut back the hours in my nursing job in the pediatric emergency room at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), it was important for me to maintain my skills and stay current. Balancing hospital shifts, spending time with my now 3 ½ year old little girl, taking care of myself (which requires a lot of work as I approach the age of 40) and managing the household along with growing a business has been, shall I say, a bit crazy? To be honest and open, at one point I almost gave up. I loved what I was doing, but I also loved being a mother and a doting wife and I couldn’t figure out how to do it all at once. There were many days I felt like I was doing so much but nothing really well.
Once again, life had a way of providing the answers I needed. I have been a member of SF Mom Entrepreneurs and received a Mom of the Month recognition. Through social media, my previous boss Karmi, from over 8 years ago (when working in hospital management at CPMC), viewed my recognition interview and re-connected with me. She was also in career transition and with her background in strategic development and healthcare operations of Women’s and Children’s services, it was once again a moment of clarity and renewed excitement. Karmi and I have since joined forces and are growing and expanding NewboRN Solutions at a pace I could have never imagined.
People have talked to me about the pros and cons of having a business partner and how crucial it is for you to find the right one. I couldn’t have been luckier to find someone that I already know I can work well with, and who has the same passion and drive as me. Our individual strengths balance one another and as partners we can take NewboRN Solutions to the next level.
Additionally, having a partner and sharing the workload allows for a better work/life balance. I now feel a great sense of being able to be both a successful mother and entrepreneur and I’m excited about what the future holds.
About Wendi Karam
Wendi moved from the East Coast to San Francisco In 1997. She lives with her husband and 3 1/2 year old daughter. To find out more about her business NewboRN Solutions, visit http://www.newborn-solutions.com.
Thanks for the excellent article! Always interesting to hear the honest back story.