Meet A Mom, Featuring Kelli Duran, Founder of After Love Postpartum & Doula Care
If you’ve been following along with us for awhile, it’s no surprise we’re giant advocates for better postpartum care for mamas. It’s our belief that women should have access to the best postpartum care options, from the moment they leave the hospital with their new bundle of joy. We’re not where we need to be as a country, but thankfully, because of people like Kelly Duran, our community is one person stronger in this arena.
Kelli is an amazing mama of FOUR littles and the founder of After Love Postpartum & Doula Care, which essentially is a business that simply supports mamas and their families during pregnancy and throughout the postpartum journey. Who doesn’t love the sound of this!?
From pregnancy, to postpartum and beyond, Kelli knows firsthand the importance of a strong support system for mothers. She started After Love after the birth of her third child when she was diagnosed with postpartum depression. She credits her amazing midwife who suggested the help of a doula for helping her through a very trying, dark time. It wasn’t long before Kelli realized where her true calling was.
So, five months after giving birth to her third child, she packed up the whole family and flew to NYC so she could take her first DONA International (Doulas of North America) Postpartum Doula training course. It was that specific training that transformed Kelli and gave her the confidence that she was on the right journey.
Since that course, Kelly has completed hours of in class training specific to Postpartum Support for families, as well Principles of Lactation Management. She also recently received her Certified Lactation Consultant Certificate (CLC) and completed her Tethered Oral Tissues Training (T.O.T.S.)
Her goal through After Love is much bigger than supporting moms after birth. Her website is a wealth of knowledge for moms in itself, but her dream is to build a team that is dedicated to deep healing from a number of things that mothers and families experience during child birth and postpartum.
We got to chat with this inspiring, beautiful mama about After Love and all things mamahood and we can’t wait to work with her more to bring about change in the postpartum space for women!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Katy?
I am from Katy so born and raised for most of my life. I moved around a few times through out Junior High but always came back to call Katy home. It was a place of safety for me as a child and so I feel this is why I had such a strong desire to raise my children and family here.
How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
I’ve got 4 babies of my own. Kael is my oldest, first boy and is 8 years old. Evelyn was my first daughter and she is 3 turning 4 in September. Katriel is turning 2 on May 1st. And Daniel is 6 months old.
I feel incredibly blessed to have my girls and boys.
What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Katy?
Growing up in Katy myself, I have a lot of great memories being here for so many years. It used to be much much smaller but its amazing how Katy has maintained this small town feel even with the amount of growth it has seen over the last 20-30 years. As a child, I didn’t feel safe in a lot of situations I was put in being with a parent who was an addict but the one place I truly felt safe was Katy. My grandparents lived here and so when I would come ‘home’ I felt comfortable and knew I could be a kid and just enjoy life here. That’s part of what has drawn me to stay in Katy to raise my kids. I grew up on a Rice farm about 8 acres (we didn’t grow rice but thats what it was lol) and I literally never even owned a key to my house because we never locked our doors given we lived out in the ‘country’ which was off Katy Hockley Cut Off Rd little north of Old Katy. We now live 6 minutes from the property I grew up on and my grandparents still own it so I have the pleasure of taking my kids there to let them play and just enjoy the fresh air.
Greatest gift about about being a mom?
Greatest gift for me as a mother is knowing that my Heavenly Father entrusted me to raise these 4 beautiful little souls. To instill in them the beauty of this world and what our God has done for us. We as sinners truly deserve nothing but he gives everything to us even our amazing children. I am by no means the best mom and I fail miserably daily as I know we all do but the gratitude I have for my kids goes above and beyond what I thought I could ever feel.
I came from a pretty traumatic childhood and never truly got to be a child so everything I do is about protecting and teaching my children maybe that means they learn by me yelling at them LOL.
Least favorite mom job? (i.e. packing lunches, dishes, bath time, etc.)
Spanking! My kiddos are like me that discipline is an absolute must. (I wish I had a ton of emojis to input right here LOL) Spanking is what works for my kids but I hate it. But I do remind myself what it says in the Bible, Proverbs 13:24 (paraphrasing) that if we love our children we will displace them.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I am currently working towards my Bachelors in Alternative Medicine and Wellness and I am working on becoming a Master Herbalist also. I have a true passion for herbs and what comes from the Earth. I believe that what heals the body comes from the earth.
I also am working towards my International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) so I can take my Lactation support to the next level.
Favorite local things to do in Katy for fun with the kids?
We love to go out and eat together. Going for pizza at Grimaldi’s in LaCenterra and sitting outside watching the duck run around and enjoy pizza is something we love to do or heading over to Exploration Park for the kids to play.
Do you have a favorite family friendly restaurant in the area?
We love Grimaldi’s and Lupe Tortilla!
What is your go-to activity for just yourself for pampering or for fun, anything ‘mama’ time!?
With having 3 babies in 3 year basically my body is not in a great place not just physically but internally. So one of my go-to’s that I have been very consistent with is a weekly massage and Cranial Sacral Therapy. Now we aren’t talking relaxing put you to sleep massage, I’m talking bodywork! It’s painful at time but pain is always worth it afterwards when I can actually move around and not hurt as much. I also am a big believer in Chiropractic Care, Acupuncture, herbs pretty much most thing along the holistic, naturopath route.
Funniest shortcut/routine for helping you through parenthood?
Sometimes with as many littles as I have it’s the dang TV…… I know how horrible it sounds and I hate but it’s true!
Tell us about your business- After Love! What do you specialize in, what are the services you offer and what was the inspiration behind it?
After Love was born after the birth of my third baby. I had an amazing home birth that was pretty much everything I could have imagined even though there were some serious complications I was able to remain home with my family and baby girl which was so important to me.
I have suffered from Postpartum Depression, Anxiety and OCD after each of my babies and each one has gotten worse than the ones before. After Katriels birth, my third, there were some really dark moments and thankfully I have an amazing Midwife who recommended a Postpartum Doula and I had no idea what that was even though I was familiar with a birth doula, as I had one for my home birth. Once I started realizing what this person does and who it takes to be a support system for other moms who are going through the changes of postpartum I knew I found my calling. This had me written all over it! I was 2-3 months postpartum myself and felt this would help me heal myself to be able to relate to moms going through what I was going through in that moment and let me tell you it transformed me.
As a new mom sometimes you just need to relate to someone because you feel completely alone especially once all the family has left and your spouse has gone back to work. You are alone and sleep deprived and exhausted and unsure of what to do especially if its your first baby, on top of hormone changes, milk coming in etc etc. We as moms knows what this feels like but so many women feel completely alone and this is where I said I’m going to change this. I want moms to know they are not alone.
My services are pretty simple. I am there for mom for what she needs for support after the birth of her baby or babies. YES! I work with multiple mamas too!! Love me some twins and triplets! If they need snacks prepped they can eat while pumping or nursing I get those ready. I will change their sheets, help with laundry, pick up groceries, wash bottles and pump parts. I also give evidence based information and allow parents to decide what kind of parenting and ways they like to care for their baby and I follow with exactly how they do it. I also offer education as I am a Newborn Care Specialist and Certified Lactation Counselor. I help with breast-feeding issues and creating pumping schedules and triple feeding routines.
I offer herbs for my clients as well to help with after birth healing and mother baby bonding.
Probably one of the most important aspects of a Postpartum Doula is being companionship for that Mom. She has hired me with the intent she needs support and I am going to give 150% of myself to her each time I’m there with her. Some days I leave and my cup is running over with love and oxytocin and feeling like I succeeded today and some days I leave and cry and am emotionally drained. I wouldn’t chose to do anything else though. This is my passion.
Let’s get real on postpartum care in the country. Why do you think we fall so far behind other developed countries and how to we move towards change?
I feel like our country is more individualized than other countries. For the most part we all live separate as in we don’t live multiple families in one home helping each other like my mother in law or aunts or sisters.
Our culture is different and so we don’t have as much help as women to be taken care of because we are the ones always taking care of everyone else and no one see birth as this massive physical and emotional change but it is.
It took 9 months for our body to grow our baby and we are supposed to be back to doing everything in 3 days after birth. No. Our body needs to heal.
I believe the more women start talking about what is really happening after having a baby and stop being this picture perfect society it will slowly start to change over the coming years I hope.
What’s the biggest reward in doing what you do?
Having a sweet mom hug me and say thank you for being here for me. It melts me every time. I always tell my clients that I am working myself out of a job every time because that means you don’t need me anymore. Its so bittersweet to leave but I am so grateful they chose me to be there and help them through this precious season of their lives.
Your biggest mission seems to be to be a resource for moms during pregnancy and after baby, which we love! What’s one of your biggest goals for your platform?
Yes! I want a Village for mommas and families! Support, Support, Support!!!
What did you do before starting your business?
My husband and I started a Diagnostics Medical Testing company for child and adults that have epilepsy and seizure disorders back in 2015. He had the technically background and I had the financial background as I was a Accountant for a large construction firm in Houston for a few years. We put our experiences together and build a pretty amazing business helping a lot of children and adults. I stepped away to have babies and then finally start my own thing.
Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable and dreaded MOM GUILT?
We all are human and fail at times. NO mom is perfect and if she acts that way don’t be friends with her LOL I’m kidding! But for real don’t base your situation and life off someone else because its very easy for thing to look one way but be completely different in reality. Love yourself! Take time for yourself because when your cup is empty you can’t give to the ones you love and the ones who need you.
Advice for moms who are overwhelmed with information overload on birthing, breastfeeding, etc.?
Stop searching Google. Take a deep breath and remember whats important to you. If you want to to breastfeed then have in place an IBCLC on standby after you have your baby just in case you need help because not all moms do. (this is any example of a good way to not get stressed out but to know you have professional help if you need it)
Ask some friends who you trust and value their opinions or are like you in what you believe and then pick and choose the info you like they gave you. No one says you have to use their advice.
Who has most influenced you to be the mom you are today?
This is a hard one for me because I am the person I am today because of the person my mother never was to me. I have done everything in my life to be a better mom than she was. We all are humans who just want to be loved and to feel wanted and I promised myself that my kids will know they are loved and that I want them everyday of their lives. I might not be happy with their decisions all the time but doesn’t change the fundamentals of my love for them.
When parenting gets hard, what’s something you tell yourself that gets you through?
My kids will not always be this age and one day when they have gone on to live their own lives and have families, I will wish I had more time with them. Enjoy the moments because I won’t have these moments forever.
Name one thing you hope your kids look back and remember about their childhood and you as their mama?
I hope they remember that I was here. I was present as much as I could be to be involved and that I loved them fiercely! Even through my yelling and frustration sometimes.
What would you tell the old “You” before you had kids?
I am so much stronger than I have ever believed possible!!! Don’t give up because joy comes in the morning!!
What does having a mom tribe & community in motherhood mean to you?
It means support and love and sharing life together. I do not have a mom tribe which is one of my downfalls. I am also in a tough season personally that I seclude myself so I’m trying to work on that.
For more information on Kelli, be sure to follow along on FB & IG and visit her website