'Meet with' is our series of interviews with women we admire from across the beauty, wellness and female health industries.
We're kicking things off with Arielle, the founder of CoFertility, who after her own fertility struggles, created a place to answer every fertility-related question in one place. We discuss her journey to becoming a mom, some common fertility myths and she shares some powerful words of advice for other women who have struggled to conceive.
Did you always want to be a mom?
Yes! I’m an older sister and have also always been “the mom” of my friend groups. I always wanted to be a mom, but when I was younger I thought I’d be a younger mom.
As I began working and building my career, that became a big part of my life and my husband and I wanted to enjoy being married for a bit before trying to get pregnant. And then once we started trying, it took a while to achieve a healthy pregnancy and baby. We took the scenic route, but we got there.
How did your body transition into pregnancy?
I really couldn’t complain about my symptoms until towards the end. At first, I was super tired and wanted tons of pizza and ramen. Honestly, not so different from my regular day-to-day — haha!
Mentally, I was cautiously optimistic given the fertility challenges we had previously faced. I started showing on the later end, and around that time started having weirder symptoms. Bleeding gums, carpal tunnel that manifested in numb hands, swollen feet...good times. But my entire pregnancy, I was just super grateful. Honestly, I still am in disbelief that I finally got and stayed pregnant, but here we are!
How aware were you of your hormones and your cycle before you got pregnant?
We tried for two and a half years before this pregnancy and did many rounds of fertility treatment, including two rounds of IVF. So, even though I technically had “unexplained infertility,” I was still very aware of my body and what had been going on.
How has CoFertility become a space for you and others trying to conceive?
At CoFertility, we say we aim to un-complicate the fertility journey and answer every fertility question out there. On our site, we do this with our content, resources and tools.
For example, we have the largest database out there of money-saving opportunities that exists for fertility treatment — grants, donated services, discounted services, discounted medication, and more. We just want to make the fertility journey easier for those going through it.
On social, we have a bit more fun and have created a space for those trying to conceive (or just looking to learn more about their fertility) to engage, laugh, vent, support one another and connect with each other. We’re proud of the community we’ve built!
What stats are people most often surprised to hear about fertility?
That fertility challenges affect so many people. 1 in 8 American couples face fertility challenges, and 1 in 4 known pregnancies end in some sort of loss (actually, closer to 1 in 2 pregnancies end in some kind of loss since many pregnancy losses occur before the mother is aware of the pregnancy). Fertility challenges are so common. However, because of the media glorifying pregnancy, combined with sex ed programming teaching all of us that it’s so easy to get pregnant, people are always surprised when they hear about infertility. What’s worse is that if fertility challenges happen to you, they almost always catch you off-guard.
Any advice for those going through pregnancy and the changes you can experience with your hormones during and after?
Give yourself grace. Your body is going through so many changes in order for you to give life to another tiny human! Expect there to be some fluctuations in your body and mind, but try not to freak out about it so there aren’t any self-fulfilling prophecies.
Is there a quote which resonates with your journey that you like to share with other people on fertility journeys?
I would always tell myself, “today, I am pregnant.” As someone who has experienced several pregnancy losses, it could be so easy to spiral and prepare for the worst. Focusing on the here and now is so important. Your excitement today won’t take away from any challenges tomorrow. So try your best to enjoy (or at least acknowledge) your pregnancy in this current moment.
What’s a common fertility myth/fact which isn’t correct?
Oh, there are tons! One that we commonly hear is that those trying to conceive are worried their prior birth control methods (pill, IUD, etc.) affected their fertility and ability to get pregnant — but there has been no scientific evidence to suggest this. That being said, being on birth control can potentially mask hormonal issues that could affect your chances at pregnancy once you start trying, like if you have a longer or shorter cycle or what your periods tend to be like when you’re not on the pill.
How do you practice self-care?
I try to work out, even for just 30 minutes, a few times per week. And I dry and style my hair, which lasts me a few days. I just feel cleaner and more like myself that way!
And finally, how do you feel today, what's your current state of mind?
Happy and calm — now that my son is almost 5 months old, we’re finally into a more manageable routine. The early days were tough! But I’m also worried about this winter. I’m in the Northeast of the United States and I think it will be challenging to be indoors so much as we try to remain cautious. Hopefully we’ll still have some fun with the baby and can try to get outside when we can.