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Allison Kasirer and her husband, Jonathan, were in their late 20s when they decided to try for a baby. They were both young and healthy, so they assumed they would be pregnant within two or three months. But after seven months of disappointments, Allison knew: it was time to get some answers.

The doctor told them that, by now, 80 percent of couples their age would have conceived a child. “My naïve and sunny outlook had been dwindling over those seven months, but in one sentence—it was almost completely wiped away,” Allison said. She and her husband were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility,” a diagnosis that was ever-difficult to cope with. How could they fix a problem that they didn’t understand? And so, the treatments began.

Allison started with intrauterine insemination (IUI) -- three rounds of it. All were unsuccessful. She also was put on Clomid, a drug that made her produce and drop more than just one egg per cycle. Then came IVF, which took a toll on her body. As her health deteriorated, she learned her first egg transfer didn’t take. The second ended in an early miscarriage. The third, however, worked, and Allison welcomed a set of healthy twin boys this week!

These unanticipated challenges led Allison to create an online community -- starting with an Instagram feed -- for other women who, like her, battle infertility. To her, FertileGirl exists because infertility is way more common than society tends to let on. “The mission is to change the conversation from isolating, confusing and stressful to one that is hopeful, rewarding and empowering,” she said.

This week, FertileGirl launched a website to complement its Instagram feed and debuted a variety of nutrition bars for pre-pregnancy women. Allison hopes that she can help women support each other through the pre-pregnancy period and create a consumer brand that speaks to this community in a way that hasn’t been done before.

We asked Allison to answer a few questions about fertility and to give us tips on how to normalize the (in)fertility conversation.

What kind of a stigma did your infertility have in your own mind? How did you feel about admitting or talking about it?

For many months, I did not share. It was a really lonely and isolating place. My initial excitement of starting a family had morphed into anxiety and depression. Of course, Jonathan was extremely supportive, but what’s difficult is that women themselves typically bear the physical and social burden of infertility (even in cases of male factor infertility). I felt like something was wrong with me—something was broken.

In almost every other arena of my life, I was able to work hard, surmount obstacles, and reach my goals. This “type A” methodology was all I knew; so I decided to use it to my advantage, reading and researching everything I could get my hands on. While this eventually went on to spur some real lifestyle changes (diet, acupuncture, exercise), it also led me to stop treating fertility like a big secret. I started talking to friends, specialists and anyone that would listen. I became empowered by this support and felt my typical optimistic outlook beginning to return.

Why is having a community of women going through the same process so helpful?

Here’s the reality: one in eight couples struggle to get pregnant or to sustain a pregnancy. There are couples that fall outside of this statistic that also experience anxiety, confusion and isolation when trying to conceive. With those numbers, we know there are many people out there with similar experiences. However, it takes a community to bring people together. That’s why FertileGirl is here—because through community, we can empower and inspire. We can also give back, which is why we’ve made a philanthropic partnership with Baby Quest Foundation, which provides financial assistance to those who cannot afford the high costs of fertility treatments.

So how do you normalize the conversation about fertility struggles?

1. With your partner. Fertility issues can greatly increase the amount of stress and anxiety in a relationship. It’s really important to acknowledge the truth in that, so you can learn to best cope and support each other. While there’s never a one-fits-all solution, there are a few common themes. Open communication is crucial. You may not be ready to open up to everyone in your life, but you and your partner need to be there to lend a shoulder and an ear to each other at all times. However, allowing fertility to dominate 100% of your precious time together isn’t healthy either. So schedule a date night, a weekend away, a long walk—something that will help you both live in the present moment. Additionally, placing “blame” is never helpful—you are in this together, regardless of the diagnosis you or your partner got.

2. With your friends. This one can be tricky. Friends, even close ones, who can’t relate to your situation may not know what to say or say the “wrong” thing. But I still felt it was important to share with these people. So what did I do? I kept it brief, mentioned how they could help (“stop asking me if I’m pregnant!”), and tried to tune out inappropriate advice (“just relax and it’ll happen!”). Some people choose not to share with their friends at all, and that’s fine too. But keep in mind that you may end up surprised by how many friends can relate to your experience. For me, the talks I had with my friends who went through similar challenges (I call them my Fertility Sisters) tended to be free flowing and were the most helpful. Plus, you never know when you may need another vent session or pep talk. So try to keep the dialogue open if you can.

3. With people at work. For many people, a fertility conversation with a manager, HR partner, or colleague becomes necessary. Most of the time because the physical or psychological ramifications make their way into the workplace. For these conversations, I revert back to what I do with the friends who can’t relate -- keeping it brief and making my needs known. Scheduling separate time with HR becomes even more important if your company offers fertility benefits or support services.

4. With fertility specialists and other professionals. I found it beneficial to speak with a reproductive psychiatrist regularly (if you live in NYC, Dr. Carly Snyder is AMAZING). Understandably, this may not be for everyone; however, a professional can also help walk you through all of the above situations in a more personalized way. All too often, we focus on the physical side of fertility (egg quality, uterine lining, testing, procedures, etc.) and ignore the psychological side. It wasn’t until I learned to mother myself, both physically and emotionally, that I felt empowered in my journey—and therapy was a critical part of getting there.

Photography by Lauren Elle.

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Most baby showers don't make the news, but when you're Meghan Markel, everything you do makes the news. This week it seems like the whole world is talking about the shower friends of the Duchess are throwing for her in NYC.

As Vanity Fair reports, while there was much speculation that the shower was happening on Tuesday, it's actually going down on Wednesday afternoon and Serena Williams is the head shower thrower behind this luxe bash.

The Duchess, the GOAT and other friends including Markel's Toronto-based stylist Jessica Mulroney, actresses Abigail Spencer and Priyanka Chopra, and Markle's college pal, author Lindsay Roth, are reportedly enjoying the Mark hotel's penthouse (and all its five bedrooms, four fireplaces, six bathrooms and two powder rooms) but you don't have to have Serena's bank account to shower a mama-to-be with gifts fit for a royal.

Here are six Meghan Markle-inspired baby shower gifts between $8 and $300.

1. Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib 

As Hello! reports, one of the gifts brought to the Mark for Markle's baby shower was hard to miss. Cameras were snapping as a box labeled "Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib" was rolled into the hotel this week.

The convertible crib retails for $379 on Amazon. The mid-range price point means it's within reach even for those who don't live in a palace.

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Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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My dearest Bee,

Here we are, it's your birthday. You're a year old today! Happy birthday, my beautiful little girl.

Two years ago, if someone had told me that I'd be celebrating my first child's first birthday today, I would have laughed. Me? Having a child? It's not that I didn't want to be a mom, or that I didn't want you, it's that I didn't think I could have you.

During the eight years leading up to your birth, I had five miscarriages. I went to multiple doctors and nobody could tell me what was wrong. After months of tests and all the money we spent, we had no answers. The doctors could only tell us to keep trying, and hope for the best.

But it's hard to hope for the best after so many years and so many lost babies. Your daddy and I had resigned ourselves to believing that we would never meet you. That we would never be blessed with your presence in our lives. You were all we ever wanted, and we thought we wouldn't get to have you.

I remember the day I realized I was pregnant with you. After five previous pregnancies, I could just tell. It was right before Thanksgiving weekend, and your aunt and uncle were coming to visit us.

I was terrified to take a test. I knew that if I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive, I'd lose you. Just like I lost your five older siblings. So, I didn't test for a while. I quit drinking alcohol. I quit drinking caffeine. I quit my addiction to Mountain Dew. I lost 10 pounds those first few weeks.

I wasn't sick, I just had a change in taste. I started eating less of the fatty, unhealthy foods I normally ate, and started eating fruits, salads, and whole grains! I waited until eight weeks before taking the pregnancy test that would confirm what I had already knew.

Reaching the beginning of my second trimester was easily one of the happiest days of my life. During prior pregnancies, I'd never made it through the first trimester. At 13 weeks, an ultrasound told us you were healthy, and growing normally.

My pregnancy was relatively uneventful up until the last couple days. I had a mild case of gestational diabetes which was extremely easy to manage as long as I didn't drink soda and I avoided fast food.

The Wednesday before you were born, I went in to see my doctor and my blood pressure was sky-high. I was immediately sent to the hospital for a non-stress test. You were fine, my blood pressure decreased, and I was sent home on bed rest pending the results of a urinalysis that would tell us whether or not I had pre-eclampsia.

Thursday evening we learned I did have a mild case of pre-eclampsia. My doctor sent me in for another non-stress test on Friday morning. My blood pressure was high with no sign of it coming down again. Between the pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, my doctor and I decided the best option was to induce me that day, one week before your due date.

I spent the first 12 hours laboring slowly and uneventfully. It wasn't until about 1 AM Saturday morning—after 14 hours of labor—that the pain became too intense. I received an epidural a half hour later (and just about fell in love with the anesthesiologist that administered it).

After 30 hours of labor I was only 6cm dilated, with a full fever, and it was recommended I have a C-section.

You were born at 4:38 PM that Saturday. And you were smallest, prettiest little baby I'd ever seen, weighing in at just 5 pounds, 15 ounces.

The day you were born was, and will always be, without question, the happiest day of my life. It was a day I didn't expect I'd ever get to experience. A day I thought was nothing but a pipe dream.

And now here we are, one year later. You are my first child, my first daughter. The first person to poop on me, the first person to projectile vomit all over me. You're the first baby I've nursed, the first baby that's slept on my chest. You're the first person to teach me what unconditional love is, and the first person that I'd die for, no questions asked.

Little Bee, you are all my firsts. And you may also be all my lasts. Whether Daddy and I can give you a little brother or sister is unknown to us. Giving you a sibling would be one of the greatest gifts, but nobody knows if we will be able to have more children.

I'm completely happy with the thought of only having you. You're the child I thought I'd never have, you are my world, my everything. Life without you seems unfathomable now, when just a couple years ago life with you seemed impossible.

You turning a year old is bittersweet. That sleepy little infant I had is long gone, replaced by the cutest, funniest little girl I know. I miss the infant you once were, but I adore the wonderful little girl you are becoming. You are the child I've always wanted, and I'm so thankful that I have you.

So happy birthday, Bee. You're the greatest thing that has ever happened to us. I hope you know how wanted, and how loved, you really, truly are.

Even before they reach my bed, I know they are there. The sound of small, soft feet on the carpet of our bedroom pulls me from my always light sleep, although my eyes remain tightly shut.

I can already tell from his gait that it's my son. He gets to the side of my bed. I feel a tender hand rest softly on my face. "Mummy," he says in a loud whisper, not old enough yet to have perfected an actual whisper, "Mummy. Wake up!"

I gather all the strength in my exhausted body and use it to prop open one eye. "What is it, Bubba?"

"I want go in Mummy's bed."

"Okay."

He stretched out his arms and in the darkness I can see his chubby hands grasping at the air near my face. I pick him up awkwardly, my shoulder twinging painfully as I lift his ever-growing body, and plop him next to me in between my blissfully snoring husband and myself.

He immediately burrows down under the covers and I feel two icy feet shove themselves in between my knees. "I loves you Mummy" he loud-whispers and wraps his arm around my neck pulling our faces so close his breath warms mine. His big eyes close and within a minute his breathing has become slow and regular, timing itself with his father's rhythmic snores.

I stare at the roof, so awake. I bump the phone on my bedside table so the screen wakes up: 2:07 am. I groan inwardly, squeeze my eyes shut and will myself to sleep, but my brain is having none of it. It starts racing at near light speed despite my whole body crying out in tiredness at it. I mentally shout the word 'SLEEP!' over the sound of my rushing thoughts over and over.

Finally, my whole being starts to give in and I relax, beginning to drift, my body humming with gratefulness.

"MUMMY! MUUUUUUUUUUUUMMYYYYYYYY!" I jerked quickly out of my fugue state from the sound of my daughter yelling. I rush to her room. She is sitting up in bed, eyes pink and shining.

"Mummy I woke up and I'm all alone." I wrap her in a big hug, kiss her hair and run my fingers down her soft, damp cheek. She lays back down and starts to relax as sit on the edge of her bed.

I wait until her eyes close and then rest my head in my hands. I am so tired I feel like I may throw up. After what seems like a week, but was actually probably closer to 20 minutes, she is settled, so I get up—my whole body cold, stiff, protesting. I look at her. She is softly lit by the light of her bedroom lamp and with her golden hair spread out on her pillow, she looks angelic. My heart swells so much I feel like my chest may burst.

I walk back to my room, to my sleeping boys.

My son has fashioned himself into a convoluted L-shape, allowing me only a thin strip of my bed. I try to pull the blanket over myself, but my husband has one leg tossed onto it, so it won't budge, so a third of my body is exposed. My son dreamily digs his small feet into my back and I hover precariously on the edge of the bed.

I am so tired. So tired. But I could not be more awake. I move my phone once more, and a dim, blue-tinged light glows as the screen illuminates: 3 am.

I lie there, desperate for sleep, but it is too late. I sit on the edge of my bed and gaze at my peacefully sleeping son. He is exquisite. Emotion rises in me again. I feel my eyes prickle. And then, before I can stop myself, my anxiety sees an opening and begins to speak in rapid-fire bullet points.

There is so much hate in the world. Why would you bring children into this? What are you subjecting them too?

Imagine people broke into your house and stole your sleeping children.

Imagine if a bomb went off next door.

You can't always protect them. They are going to get hurt one day, and you might not be able to protect them.

It goes on and on. The fear feels like it's choking me. The dog needs to be let out, so I walk to the living room to bring her outside; grateful for the distraction.

As I step outside, I smell the grass, I feel the cool earth on the soles of my feet, and I look up to the big, dark sky. I notice the sprinkle of twinkling stars.

A light breeze washes over me and I suddenly feel small, and therefore, so do my worries. I begin to feel peace wash over me. I stretch my arms above my head and feel my muscles lengthening, sore but thankful. I am calm.

I go back inside. The green numbers on the microwave inform me it is after 4 am: time to get ready for work. I dress, too slowly, my entire being wistful for the sleep that never was. I make coffee in the biggest cup I can find and toast some bread.

I finish our morning routine and eventually walk out to my car, turn on an audiobook, and drive away from my world for the day.

When I get to work, I am bright and smiley, but some notice my tired eyes. I shrug and say, "Kids kept me up" They smile and say, "Still? By that age, my kids only woke up once a night, if at all!" They tell me that surely, one day, my kids will sleep.

But if only they knew that although it's the kids keeping me awake, they themselves are asleep most of the time they are doing it.

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There's nothing like the smell of a baby. The sweet scent of the top of your baby's head is intoxicating like nothing else.

Scientists estimate there are about 150 chemicals present in baby body odor, and while they haven't yet pinpointed exactly which one makes it smell so good to mamas, we do know that none of them can come through the phone.

That's bad news for Hilary Duff, because this mama knows that when you're far from your baby, you miss that smell.

"Ever try to sniff your baby through the phone?" she joked in a recent Instagram post.


Duff's hashtags indicate that she was feeling "desperate" to sniff baby daughter Banks, and while she was joking, it's also probably not far from the truth.

The science shows the scent of a baby has calming properties, so it makes sense that mamas might feel a bit addicted to that smell. Seriously, studies suggest that the scent of a baby's head impacts our brains similarly to drugs used to treat mental illness

Researchers in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm had 30 women smell little hats previously worn by newborn babies. As the women inhaled the scent the researchers studies their brains with a magnetic camera, according to Sciencenordic reports. The images showed the smell was impacting the brain similarly to certain drugs.

Scientists are onto this baby smell thing, and are trying to figure out a way that the power of baby body odor could be used to treat depression.

It would be awesome if they could also figure out a way to transmit it through the phone. (Hey Apple, we've got an app idea for you!)

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