How one woman turned her passion for providing emotional support into a thriving community for women trying to conceive.
While the love and support of friends and family members is crucial when you’re trying to conceive (TTC), there’s a special compassion and understanding that comes from speaking with women who are going through similar experiences. Chiemi Rajamahendran found herself facilitating groups and online programs within the TTC community, which aimed to provide love, support, and guidance to women fighting infertility.
In today’s Advocate Spotlight, we talk with Chiemi about how she turned her passion for providing TTC women with support and guidance into the thriving online community now called Miss.Conception Coach.
Celmatix: Tell us a little about what led you to found Miss.Conception Coach.
Chiemi: It was really something that came about after my own personal experience navigating those tough emotions. I witnessed the lack of emotional support for women specifically going through loss and started my own support site at a grass roots level that centered around real-time interaction when women need it most. If someone is having a miscarriage or just learned their fertility treatment was unsuccessful and they are sitting in their car or on their bathroom floor crying, they need to connect with someone immediately… not a week from now. Just having a single outlet like that is so important.
Celmatix: How does your background in psychiatric nursing help you when speaking with women who are experiencing infertility?
Chiemi: A professor once said to me, “You have to meet everyone where they are, not where you think they should be.” That has always stuck with me and is something that I think we need to remind ourselves on a daily basis. You have to meet your emotions where they are today, right now. Let’s sit in the fear, pain, sadness together. No one should feel rushed out of those emotions.
Celmatix: Since you founded Miss.Conception in 2014, have you seen any changes in the way women are talking about infertility?
Chiemi: Yes, absolutely! Women in our community share that they don’t feel alone anymore and that their emotions are validated. Social media has enabled someone who might have felt totally alone to now feel like part of a support system, with a sense that others are always there. There’s nothing I love more than getting feedback from pieces I write and share. When someone tells you the community is what keeps them hopeful and stops them from giving up… there are no words.
Our private Facebook groups are also a wonderful place for this sort of support and sharing. They are made up of women supporting other women going through the same thing and experiencing similar emotions and fears. To be able to just share anytime and know someone you trust and who truly cares about you is there is priceless and life-changing.
I like to keep these groups small in size because I want everyone involved to get to know each other and hear each other’s stories. When groups get too large, that intimacy and feeling of authentic connection can get lost, and when women are sharing such intimate details it’s crucial to maintain that trust.
Sometimes it’s hard to balance wanting to take in new members and keeping it a tight-knit group. It’s not about numbers, it’s about creating a safe, healing, supportive connection. We’ve even created a new group called “Bump To Bottles” for women who have successfully conceived and would like to continue to connect with others they’ve met in the Facebook group.
Celmatix: Your social media platforms look different than other fertility advocates’ in that you usually post deeply personal and inspirational stories. What inspired you to take this approach?
Chiemi: Sometimes people assume that sharing raw, intimate, and personal stories will be upsetting to others, but I see it as the opposite. By sharing these stories, other women are able to read them and say, “been there too.” Inspiration can come from rock bottom experiences and true inspiration comes from witnessing the strength and courage it takes to move forward and through those emotions. Sharing these emotions it validates them for others. By validating them, you help take away someone’s shame.
Celmatix: What goals do you have for women who find your site?
Chiemi: I hope that they feel like they’ve finally found a safe home to share their emotions and that they are reminded that they are doing ‘enough.’ I hope the stories on the site remind them that they need support during this time of their life more than ever, and that this fight they are fighting daily demands respect and empathy from family and friends.
When women are pregnant, people rally around them, and then after they have the baby everyone wants to help and checks in with them. I want this site to give the same level of understanding and support to women with infertility who are fighting desperately to become mothers.
Celmatix: What other social media accounts or sites do you recommend for women who are looking to become part of a community?
Chiemi: For anyone recently diagnosed with infertility, I’d strongly recommend RESOLVE and to ultimately really trust your doctor and build a strong relationship with your team of medical experts. Also advocate for yourself the best you can!
As an extension of Miss.Conception Coach, Chiemi recently launched a line of all natural body care products specifically designed for women who are trying to conceive called Bloom Essentials.