Farewell Mina

The end of one chapter and the beginning of the next, a letter from the founder of Mina.

At the end of 2020, we said goodbye to Mina and the dream of creating a better way for families to find evidence-based and whole-person care in birth.

Creating a mission-focused business is challenging under the best circumstances, but even tougher within the midst of a pandemic, a social uprising, and political unrest. Unless your business hit a sweet spot in product market fit where the pandemic actually accelerated your business, then your story might be different. The year 2020 was not that for Mina.

But, as the saying goes: closing one door opens another.

In closing our business, we realized that although we couldn’t make it work in the way we thought and had imagined, we knew it was okay. Sometimes you have to yield to market timing, cultural forces, and intuition.

[A] lot of the time, knowing when to give up comes to us not from rational, explicit cost-benefit analysis; it comes to us in the same way it comes to the bird and the squirrel—in a quiet intuition that is outside of rationality. We simply hear the voice inside us saying, You’ve done all you can here. It’s time to move on.

—Emily Nagoski, PhD and Amelia Nagoski, DMA from their book Burnout

We’re all familiar with the cheer, “keep going, don’t give up” and that can be valuable and helpful. It’s one of the reasons why I love running races. Seeing people cheering on the sidelines gives me everything I need in the last mile(s).

But in this case, I was called to surrender. I have a deep meditation practice and in my meditations I was invited to surrender. As I did, signs appeared. As someone who believes in divine timing, this was powerful and helpful to me.

Humans—especially women—have an extraordinary capacity to ignore this voice. We live in a culture that values “self-control,” “grit,” and persistence. Many of us are taught to see a shift in goals as “weakness” and “failure,” where another culture would see courage, strength, and openness to new possibilities. We have been taught that letting go of a goal is the same as failing.

—Emily Nagoski, PhD and Amelia Nagoski, DMA from their book Burnout

So this post is a farewell letter, a celebration, and a hello letter. Hello to this new space where our essays on birth and postpartum will live.

We are making this a place to share all we’ve learned over the past 4+ years and to continue the urgent conversation around the current state of birth in the world and how to improve it.

Towards the end of Mina, we had a potential acquisition deal and talked with several people about a new home for our customers and assets. And in these conversations, it made me realize that still no one is working on the problem in the same way we see it. That made me proud of our work and gave urgency to put that work to paper and write about our experiences, learning, and perspective to share with others.

A few weeks before closing up shop, one of our first parent customers just had her baby! She was the first “wait does anyone know this person!?” customer outside of our immediate networks. She scheduled her first service regarding pregnancy preparation and nutrition. And then we worked with her throughout her pregnancy, including helping match her to a doula.

It’s a bittersweet note to end on, but it feels magical. In every way this ending is really a beginning to what is on the other side.

I have so many people to thank who helped us along the journey. Founding a company is very hard work and even more difficult to keep your self-worth independent from the successes and failures when you’re all in. My advisors and coaches kept me grounded and cared for—especially through every pitfall and failure.

Peace and love,
Kristen