Founder and CEO, Peanut
One in seven women will experience fertility challenges. One in three women will experience miscarriage. There is not enough support for women going through their fertility journeys, and that’s something that must change. Our Q&A with Michelle Kennedy, Founder and CEO of Peanut, explores this disconnect.
Q: Is there enough support out there for women when considering fertility?
A: Simply put, no. There are still so many conversations on issues that typically impact women that are considered taboo. Sadly, and frustratingly, fertility still seems to be one, where women dealing with their fertility reality feel stifled and unable to ask for support or advice. But, we need – and deserve – a platform to have these conversations, and to share our anxieties, concerns, frustrations and experiences.
If you are going through a fertility treatment, for example, where can you find support? Or talk to someone who understands what it’s like to face the two-week wait after implantation? What it’s like to start on another hormone cycle? What it’s like to face infertility, and change your horizons? Being able to connect with women going through that same experience becomes critical; otherwise it feels deeply isolating.
Q: Why is there a need to connect these women?
A: One in seven women will experience fertility challenges. One in three women will experience miscarriage. Women going through fertility journeys need support outside of medical intervention. After all, the emotional impact of what women go through is, in many cases, all-consuming.
Frankly, it’s just not easy to find another woman who is on a TTC journey – it’s not obvious. There are no visual signals for a woman who has experienced loss or who is trying for a baby. Having a safe, private space to ask open and honest questions to other women who ‘get it’ is not just long overdue, it’s a critical part of any woman’s fertility experience.
Q: What is the value of women sharing their stories?
A: In this world of sharing our ‘real selves’, there are still some fertility stories that we don’t share. For example, women are told not to announce their pregnancy until they are 12 weeks in. Therefore, if a woman experiences loss during that period, she is silenced. This doesn’t make sense because it is still a loss and that woman is still in need of support. Sharing fertility stories is so important because it makes other women feel less alone.
Q: What advice would you offer to women considering their fertility journey?
A: People who haven’t had fertility difficulties may struggle to find the right words or know how to be there in times of pain, struggle and loss etc, so it’s important to surround yourself with other women who are on the same journey. Finding support through shared experience is crucial. You should never feel lonely, isolated or muted on such an important issue.