Exeleon Magazine

Dr. Kristal Lau on Postpartum Wellness and Leadership

Dr. Kristal Lau interview on Exeleon Magazine

Read this exclusive interview with Dr. Kristal Lau, where she shares her journey and vision for postpartum wellness and leadership. This interview is part of Exeleon’s Most Transformational Women Leaders to Follow in 2024 issue. Click here to read more stories and interviews of women leaders.

What according to you makes one transformational? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership?

I view this trait as having the ability to evolve in both our personal and professional journeys and lifting others up along the way. Change is the only constant so knowing when and how to pivot and evolve while still caring for those around us is the mark of a transformational leader. It takes a special person to nurture others as they themselves are doing difficult inner work.

As a leader, I strive to walk the talk. I embrace change when I notice a shift happening – in my personal life and as an entrepreneur. I make it a point to talk about it too! It helps my peers and my target audience relate to me as someone like them whom they can trust to lead them towards better outcomes.

Can you share a bit about your journey from being a physician to becoming a postpartum wellness consultant?

I never wanted to be a doctor. So, I took a chance and quit my medical career when I chose to move with my husband due to his work. I tried to pivot into another career, but I couldn’t find anything I liked. But I’ve always wanted to be an author and business owner, so during my second pregnancy, I wrote and published my book ‘Postpartum 30’ to pass down my cultural Chinese confinement postpartum practice to my children.

As I was writing my book, I also started helping moms navigate their postpartum journey based on my personal experiences and my medical, public health, and scientific background. I realized I was on to something!

The postpartum industry didn’t (and still doesn’t) have many streamlined guides for health and service providers when I started and postpartum wellness isn’t an established industry or field either. So, I created this niche position of ‘Postpartum Wellness Consultant’ for myself to fill the gap!

What inspired you to found Bridges In Health, and what are its core missions?

I want my daughters to be valued as mothers if they choose to start families in the future. I want them to live in a future where mothers and families have everything they need to thrive in our modern world. I want them to grow up differently than I did, where I was fed narratives about how ‘motherhood destroys a woman’.

So I created Bridges In Health with a mission to disrupt the status quo in postpartum, maternal, and family wellness by redefining industry and policy standards, and to become the leading global authority in postpartum, maternal, and family wellness, setting the stage for change for the future generation of mothers and families.

Can you explain how Bridges In Health delivers a 360° holistic postpartum and maternal wellness experience?

Bridges In Health has two target audiences – something that goes against the grain of regular business advice. We work with professionals, leaders, and organizations to help them provide the best for the mothers and families they serve. And we work directly with mothers and families to deliver coaching and other programs.

Things we learn from both audiences are used to inform all our consulting and coaching services and programs – this is how we’re able to provide a full holistic experience. We’re the literal ‘Bridge’ that connects both our target audiences’ worlds.

We also approach wellness through evidence-based practices, and we take into account the realistic needs of mothers and families when we deliver our consulting and coaching services i.e. we make recommendations and create plans based on a mother and her family’s finances, their available support system, local policies, and local health systems.

As an author, can you share a bit about the topics you cover and how your publications support your mission in maternal wellness?

My book ‘Postpartum 30’ has a specific message: bridging traditional Chinese confinement postpartum practice with modern postpartum care. I write about the origins of this traditional and cultural practice and challenge aspects of it such as the need to include fathers and husbands in the childbirth recovery process.

I also give recommendations on how to adapt the practice to our modern lives. This is an important topic for women like me who have migrated from the East to the West and there’s a desire to preserve our heritage in our motherhood journey. It’s also important for the future generation of East Asian mothers or those in mixed families to have a reference of this cultural practice to help them continue this practice.

My book is my stepping-stone to growing my work in postpartum wellness. It sets the tone for how cultural practices are here to stay and modern postpartum care needs to include cultural considerations into their postpartum programs. My book also describes how a cultural postpartum practice can be tailored to match the unique lifestyle of mothers and their families. It ties in with our holistic approach!

How do you plan to expand or evolve the services offered by Bridges In Health to meet the changing needs of mothers and families?

One of my core business values is “Collaboration, Not Competition”. The task of raising the next generation is complex and multi-layered, so it’s impossible for one business, or one industry to claim to have the answer for mothers and families. This is why I use collaboration to grow and evolve my business through partnerships and projects.

I’ve also never liked how businesses are taught to do “Competitor Research” and get into a cycle of out-doing one another. So, I perform “Collaborator Research” instead to identify major, minor, and upcoming players within and outside my industry. And I assess how we can work together to serve our target beneficiaries, mothers and their families.

What advice would you give to new mothers navigating the postpartum period?

Trust your instincts despite the chaos that reigns during this vulnerable and intense life-changing moment. And find your tribe to nurture your instincts. Our modern world has unfortunately been designed to challenge your natural instincts so it will take effort to stand your ground. Remember to include a trusted health provider in your tribe so that you have someone to help you debunk misinformation and someone to get good scientific information from.

Dr Kristal Lau invites you to join her in a monthly discussion to “Shape a Better Future for Mothers and Families”. Join her here in the Postpartum Progress Monthly – a curated resource for professionals and industry leaders filled with insights about postpartum wellness and postnatal care.

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