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Hidden Gems: Meet Karen Kindig of The Womb Room

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Kindig.

Hi Karen, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I’m a proud Baltimore-native. My whimsical 20’s took me around the globe a bit, but I’m thrilled to be here, raising my family in the same place that raised me!

One of my best childhood memories is going along with my Mom each year to a camp for adults with developmental disabilities, where she worked as a counselor/nurse in Western Maryland. The other counselors’ kids and I felt equally camp counselor as we were camper, mostly spending our time together as free-range kids adventuring around the campground.

It was normal to see my Mom in helping roles like this. I’ve always been in awe of how naturally the women in my family, all nurses, treat everyone they meet with the same level of respect. They look past socially-ascribed labels and differences and speak right to a person’s humanness – a trait I’ve always admired and strived for.

Like them, I’ve always felt called to help. I started out as a Personal Trainer, which was fun. It didn’t take me long though to notice that a lot of my clients seemed to be using me more as their Therapist than Fitness Coach. This is when I started to pick up on the mind-body connection and realized that our physical goals and achievements are limited by the fit-ness of our psyche. I was (and still am) so intrigued by this, and so decided my next step was to study psychology. I enrolled at University of Maryland’s School of Social Work to become a therapist and, during that same time, completed a yoga teacher training program with Kim Manfredi at Charm City Yoga.

Out of grad school, I was providing in-home therapy for people with low-income living in Baltimore City. Most of my clients were single, African-American Moms struggling to survive in a system that was rigged against them. I learned through this work that it takes a lot more than just a desire to be a parent to thrive as one, and many of the factors are outside of our control – like whether we have access to good support, information, and resources. I loved working with these Moms but again realized there was much more I’d need to learn if I was really going to make a difference.

Then, in 2016, I became a Mom. It was something I’d looked forward to my whole life and felt ready for! I joined a friend’s small and growing prenatal yoga community and learned to trust my body in birth. I felt supported by this community and know that it was because of this preparation and connection to community that I had a really positive experience of pregnancy and birth.

Unfortunately though, I wasn’t prepared for what was to come afterward. My baby had a range of health issues, and my husband and I both struggled with intense Postpartum Depression. I also struggled with Postpartum Anxiety. I felt like I must have done something wrong to cause our baby’s health issues and felt like a failure for not having a blissful postpartum experience like I had expected to. I didn’t hear people talking much about this, so I also felt alone in these struggles. It was heartbreaking!

Over the next couple of years, I dedicated as much time as I could to learning about Perinatal Mental Health and realized that the experience I had was actually common. I learned about the gaps in our healthcare and social systems and discovered the many ways that, as a society, we could be doing a better job of preparing and supporting people as they become parents.

Around that time, I became pregnant with my 2nd baby and was determined to not only have a different postpartum experience this time around but to help others through theirs as well. I started a private therapy practice serving only people in the perinatal period and dreamt of someday turning it into a full-service wellness center providing mind/body preparation and healing for people across the range of perinatal experiences.

Becoming a parent for the first time is life-changing, and no one should ever go through that feeling alone.

Around then, I heard that my prenatal yoga community, “The Womb Room”, was at risk of closing. I couldn’t imagine there being even less resources out there for families having babies than there already were! My friend presented the offer of having me take it over, and I felt called to it. It felt like this opportunity was presented to me at this specific time, right when I had been open to it, for a reason. And so, I followed my heart. As of November 2019, a new Womb Room was born!

We’ve had to shift and maneuver throughout the pandemic, like everyone else, but amazingly — have continuously grown with each passing month. We now have a team of 20 perinatal professionals providing Prenatal, Postnatal and Baby & Me Yoga, Holistic Childbirth Education Classes, Birth & Postpartum Doula Support, a range of free Support Groups, and Mental Health Therapy specializing in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders, as well as trauma.

The pandemic push to add virtual services has allowed us to reach people outside of the Baltimore area and across more income levels, which is something we couldn’t really say before. At this point, we’ve served thousands of families, are adding new services, and are finding new ways to access more populations all the time.

I wake up everyday feeling just so damn proud that we actually made this happen, that I made this happen, and that my difficult introduction to Motherhood is serving a greater purpose.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Has it been a smooth road? Hah! Absolutely not! I took over a business, despite having very little business experience, not long after having a baby and just before getting rocked by a global pandemic.

There’s been a huge learning curve and twists and turns every step of the way! My husband has been a huge source of support morally, as someone who has owned businesses and now does consulting/web development for other business owners, and also as a Dad who has a great understanding of what parents need. But, like everyone else, our personal lives were also tested throughout the year of lockdowns and social distancing, trying to figure out childcare, juggle changing businesses, and generally not having as much support and connection with our friends and family as we were used to.

All of this has definitely introduced more challenges in running The Womb Room. However, these struggles have also been a daily reminder that people need the type of support and connection we are offering now more than ever.

This reminder, and my absolute love for this work, is what keeps me going each day!

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
The Womb Room is a Perinatal Wellness Center, serving individuals and families in the many stages of reproduction. From fertility through parenthood, our goal is to make sure no one ever feels alone in their experience of becoming a Parent.

Our team consists of highly trained, nurturing, perinatal-focused professionals from diverse backgrounds and expertise, each with their own unique stories of being called to this work.

We believe that becoming a parent is a sacred, life-altering experience and should be treated as such and that our efficiency-obsessed culture has eroded our connection to our innate wisdom that humans have utilized in birth and parenting throughout time.

We are known in the community for our holistic, mind/body integrated and informed approach to perinatal wellness. Underlying each of the services we provide is an effort to peel back the layers of fear and doubt around parenthood, to unveil the intuition and confidence that is within us all!

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
The way I’ve looked at risk-taking has changed over the years. I used to think that risk was introduced anytime we did something outside of the norm. I see this in a lot in my clients with anxiety, they think as long as they stay on a specific path and avoid certain activities then they’ll be safe and all will be fine. I now see that everything in life involves risk, and so what’s more important is living the life you want. Feel the fear and do it anyway!

I’m an idealist, so it’s always been easy for me to see how things can be better. Not all risks are worth taking though, and I’ve definitely had to learn some of that the hard way. I ultimately believe that in each of life’s failures is the opportunity for learning, so even when we fall on our face it’s a win. I think the combination of this perspective, my idealism and a willingness to take calculated risks is what makes me a good business owner :).

Pricing:

  • Free Pregnancy, Postpartum & Breastfeeding Support Groups
  • Free Weekly Prenatal Yoga Class
  • Doula Packages starting at $1195
  • Therapy Services accepting many Major Insurance Plans
  • Childbirth Education Classes Starting at $125/class

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Baltimore Birth Photographers, Jessica Watts Photography, Heartlove Photography

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1 Comment

  1. Susan Shockley

    July 28, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    Wow! Karen, this sounds like an amazing service! I know your parents are over the moon proud of you. I wish something like this had been offered when I had my first daughter – would have been life altering!
    Good luck to you. 💕

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