One year ago this past summer, I became a mother for the third time, but my journey to motherhood wasn’t easy. In fact, I spent years struggling to conceive due to having Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a condition I’ve been dealing with since I was 15 years old. PCOS causes a hormonal imbalance and irregular menstrual cycles–or in my case, no menstrual cycle at all unless I was on medication. It’s also the cause of my infertility, and the infertility of an estimated 5-million women across the US.
Anyone who is or has been struggling with infertility knows how invasive and indiscreet fertility treatments are. Being tested, poked and probed on a daily basis, can not only leave you physically, mentally and emotionally drained, but also vulnerable. As if struggling to conceive wasn’t hard enough, there I was with my lady bits on full display, trying to readjust my ill-fitting hospital gown to hang on to any last bit of modesty I had.
There had to be another way.
With absolutely zero background in Fashion Design whatsoever, but armed with a sewing machine, I attempted to custom make a 3-in-1 dress that would carry me through treatments, and hopefully pregnancy, labour and beyond. Because, let’s face it, if my personal space was lost during my fertility treatments, I certainly wasn’t going to find it during my labour.
After too many failed attempts to admit, I managed to finally create a dress I was comfortable in and that I was allowed to wear during my appointments. The dress caught the attention of my doctors and fellow fertility warrior mama’s who commented on the versatile, accessible yet concealing design. I was immediately inundated with orders. But, I wasn’t really selling anything. What I thought was a solution for my own modest nature turned out to be a need for many other women I knew, and even more I didn’t know.
Six years and three kids later, my 3-in-1 birthing gowns are not only in demand across North American, but are hospital approved in the U.S. and Canada.
And, truthfully, I never intended to build a business, but through this venture I’ve come to realize that my birthing gowns and delivery robes are more than just an alternative to the generic hospital gown, they’re a gateway for other women to start having those uncomfortable, and for some unspeakable, conversations about our pregnancy journeys–the good and the not so good. As the business grew, so did our community; little did we know that we created a platform for them to reach out and talk to other women, to offer a safe space to share their stories, and ask the questions they were too afraid to ask. Little did I know how reinforcing it would become for me personally to know that I wasn’t the only one feeling and experiencing what I did through my own journey.
Every mother has a birth story: many dream of feeling those kicks inside their belly, many plan a perfect birth only to end up with a c-section, others are waiting for their rainbow baby, while others are watching another one’s belly grow their own baby. Wherever the road takes us, we all have our own path into motherhood and I am grateful that mine led to a business where I can help women feel comfortable, secure and supported, both physically and emotionally.
And all because I wanted a little bit of privacy.