Taking postpartum recovery out of the shadows

There’s a specific moment that inspired FridaBaby CEO Chelsea Hirschhorn’s latest buzzed-about (and Amy Schumer-approved) venture.

She had just given birth to her second son and the physician prescribed ice therapy for a swollen perineum, an area prone to hemorrhaging. 

To her surprise, the nurse walked into her hospital room holding . . . a baby diaper. The nurse then proceeded to pour a pitcher of ice from the hallway ice machine into the diaper before taping it between Hirschhorn’s legs. The new mom was commanded to sit on top of a dog wee-wee pad until she had to go to the bathroom.

Hirschhorn vowed to create a whole line of products targeting the harsh and bloody postpartum recovery process. The newly launched FridaMom line includes disposable delivery and nursing gowns; a squirt bottle to clean “down there”; a pack of cooling liners to reduce swelling; and high-waisted mesh underwear designed for both C-section and vaginal deliveries, among other necessities.

And now, major retailers like Target have set up entire sections devoted to what was once a fragmented retail experience. Basically, no longer do new moms need to stitch together recovery items like some sort of medical MacGyver.

“As women, we’re so accustomed to putting ourselves second in that way,” laments Hirschhorn. “I don’t think it occurred to women to even voice their complaints about what they were experiencing or the [lack of] recovery products that were available to them because they were so focused on this new role that they had assumed.”

FridaMom is just one example of female founders pushing for better inclusion and solving problems for once taboo topics. It joins a host of kickass startups, including Blume, the first cohesive line of self-care products for tweens going through puberty; Queen V, which rebrands feminine hygiene care as cool, fun, and kitschy; Genneve, a telehealth service helping women going through menopause; and Joylux,  a vaginal device company for the millions of women who are too embarrassed–or cash-strapped–to seek medical treatment.

As  Hirschhorn says, “People are craving some of the raw, unfiltered realities.” Read my full story on FridaMom here.

In other news: I got the exclusive on Equinox launching at-home connected fitness equipment—a treadmill and bike—to compete with Peloton. Equinox owns SoulCycle, which means you can now access those $34 classes in your own living room.

Equinox Media CEO Jason LaRose says the bike rides will be shot as an immersive experience, as though you’re inside the class, “capturing the energy and excitement of what it’s like to ride in the dark with 59 of your friends.” Full story

-- Rina Raphael

News & Trends:

A once-a-month birth control pill is in the works: Lyndra Therapeutics secured a $13 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (Stat News)

“Performance beer” is a thing now: The functional beverage craze continues with a gluten-free pale “brewed with black currant and salt to supply electrolytes … and bee pollen to help with muscle recovery.” (FastCo)

The startling stats behind the loneliness epidemic: A new poll finds that 30% of millennials feel lonely and 22% say they have “no friends.” (Vox)

WeWork endorses crystal balls: WeWork now offers Workstrology, i.e. “expert” analysis on the energies affecting your career via astrology startup Sanctuary. Y’all know how I feel about Sanctuary and all things astrology.  (Twitter)

Online plant store Bloomscape raises $7.5 from Warby Parker founders: The DTC indoor houseplant scene is blooming (sorry, couldn’t resist), with investors betting on millennials’ growing succulent obsession. (Observer)

Under Armour’s North America problem: Does the brand need to focus less on athletic performance? The sweat-wicking gear “isn’t something shoppers are picking up to wear running errands or hitting a SoulCycle class.” (CNBC)

The billion-dollar race to invent a wearable air conditioner: Extreme heat around the world is pushing companies to find new ways to cool down the human body. (FastCo)

Do we need laws to curb addictive social media technology? Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is pushing the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology act, which wants to ban "addictive" features. (NPR)

Kellogg beats forecasts, thanks to healthy makeover: The company saw growth from Morningstar’s plant-based meat alternatives and Eggo’s new high-protein waffles. (Morning Brew)

Asana wants to ease office burnout: The work management platform released Workload, a new feature to better distribute work across teams. (TechCrunch)

Brandless dumps $3 price point, pivots to CBD: Low prices weren’t enough. (Forbes)

Luxe CBD gummy brand Lord Jones nears $300 million deal: The brand’s pricey gumdrops and body oils are available at Sephora nationwide. (Bloomberg)

Outdoor Voices’ aggressive content move: The cult-fave athleisure brand launched The Recreationalist, a branded site of influencer interviews, city guides, and workout playlists. (AdWeek)

Body-positive lingerie brand Lively acquired for $85 million: Meanwhile, Victoria’s Secret cancels its fashion show. (TechCrunch)

Are fitness trackers bullshit? New study suggests that investing in a tracker doesn’t really affect overall health. (TODAY)

Is nutrition science also bullshit? As a recent egg study shows, nutrition research tends to be unreliable because it mostly centers on imprecise and inconsistent observational studies. (Salon)

Deeper dives:

Did wellness kill the clubbing scene?
I mean, we knew it was in trouble as soon as kombucha trumped alcohol and early morning “workout raves” drew Williamsburg crowds. So are party-till-you-drop clubs on their way out—or just being reinvented with some herbal tonics? A growing number of kids these days aren’t necessarily looking to get wasted in the more traditional sense, but they are craving IRL connections. That means less Studio 54 and more “techno rave meets meditation class that takes place in cathedrals across LA.” (Dazed)

The emotional toll of carrying a purse
This piece asks: If men carried purses, would they be more inclined to clean up messes (both physically and emotionally)? Throughout history, men traditionally carried satchels or bags of some sort, while today they just stick a wallet in their pocket. So when there’s a subway spill or runny nose, it’s up to women to save the day with their 10 lb. purse full of tissues, Purell, and KIND bars. As Lisa Miller asks, why does it seem like spill-cleaning is women’s work? Maybe, because “freedom from having to carry stuff is power.” (New York)

Athleisure, barre and kale: the tyranny of the ideal woman
Some fab insight by Jia Tolentino, who wonders if workouts like barre classes build an endurance that’s more psychological than physical:

“What it’s really good at is getting you in shape for a hyper-accelerated capitalist life. It prepares you less for a half marathon than for a 12-hour workday, or a week alone with a kid and no childcare, or an evening commute on an underfunded train. Barre feels like exercise the way Sweetgreen feels like eating: both might better be categorized as mechanisms that help you adapt to arbitrary, prolonged agony. As a form of exercise, barre is ideal for an era in which everyone has to work constantly – you can be back at the office in five minutes, no shower necessary—and in which women are still expected to look unreasonably good.” (The Guardian)

In defense of separate beds
Lucy and Desi had it right all along: Studies show that couples that insist on sharing the same mattress are more likely to experience shittier sleep (and snoring-induced resentment). And ya know what that leads to? Less happy marriages. So it’s not surprising that more and more couples seek separate sleeping arrangements, including separate rooms. (NYT)

The bathroom as social sanctuary
An ode to escaping to the bathroom when you just need to get away from family, kids, your spouse—basically, all overbearing human interaction. Also: me at every single wedding or family reunion. (Apartment Therapy)

Quote of the week:

“I am told that routine and structure are good for the nerves. I’m told predictability and mindfulness will give me strength and peace. I believe them, but consider this too: What if my goals have nothing to do with peace and calm? What if peace and calm are the last things I want?” -- Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Real Simple)

Your moment of zen: CherFitness (via The Recreationalist)

Loading more posts…