Interview with Amanda Warsavsky, Mother and Founder of Partof
The journey towards parenthood can be emotional and deeply personal, particularly for families who may face challenges when it comes to their fertility. In the last several years, more women have opened up about their fertility journey, fostering increased conversation about all of the triumphs and tribulations that so many of us face when trying to become pregnant. Many experts have tried to shed light on why this has become a growing topic, but, at the end of the day, it is a long journey for a lot of couples and something we will either face ourselves or support loved-ones through. Given the sensitive nature of this topic, it is essential that we approach discussions of fertility journeys with empathy, understanding, and the utmost respect for the women experiencing it. In our interview this week, Meems spoke with Amanda Warsavsky, about her fertility journeys, motherhood, and starting Partof- an app that offers a safe space to have honest conversations with a community.
What was your initial reaction when you began your fertility journey? How did you cope with the news along the way?
It doesn’t really work like that. For many people, there isn’t really an “aha!” moment when you are given a diagnosis or warning around your infertility. For me, I was not getting a period and started asking my doctors questions. When I wasn’t getting answers, I started exploring further and questioning how it may impact my fertility. My struggles with infertility accumulated over time and the cumulative disappointment (and successes) have been profound.
When did you decide to fully open up about your experiences and how did you feel after posting about it online?
I entered the influencer space in 2011 and began writing about being a woman in the work-force. There was a moment where I thought, I need to share what I’m really dealing with and how to cope with the demands of a high-pressure job while managing a lot of personal stuff. From there, I shared my story and received a lot of responses. When I began talking about my fertility experiences in 2014 there weren’t many open discussions on the topic. I realized it struck a chord with people, and there was a need for a community who could be open about this part of their life.
Upon reflection, have you learned any important lessons and would you suggest someone going through IVF do anything differently?
My three pieces of advice are to find a doctor you trust, be your own advocate, and keep going.
I was initially not with the right doctor for me. You have to feel good about the advice and care you are given. It’s ok to make a change in providers when you realize they aren’t the correct fit for you.
Being your own advocate means doing your own research. This also means advocating for your body. Doctors only know what you tell them, so make sure you are clear and give them as much information as possible. You’re never annoying anyone!
Keep your head up and keep trying if you can tolerate it because my children were so worth all of the struggles!
There are people close to me who have had fertility struggles. As a close friend and family member, what is the best support I can offer?
That is the exact question you should ask your friend. So often people are afraid to ask how I am, and assume I don’t want to talk about it. The simple and best question is, “I’m thinking of you, how is the best way for me to show support? Do you want to chat? Would you rather me avoid the conversation entirely?” I’ve been pregnant at the same time as people I’m close to, some of us even had the same due date! We were on a text chain, offering advice and support to one another, but I had a pregnancy loss and was dropped out of the group conversation. People can get very quiet when something like a pregnancy loss happens, and that can make the person coping feel even more isolated.
Some people will want to talk and have an outlet, others won’t but it’s so important to show your friends that you can meet them where they want to be met to cope.
What inspired you to start Partof, and how did you develop the idea into a successful venture?
When I was sharing so much about my personal life on Instagram, I realized Instagram is an amazing tool for visually creative people but is not accommodative to the vast majority of the population who aren’t necessarily comfortable or skilled to share that way. I wanted there to be a platform where people can share advice and recommendations with friends without the need for flashy videos or images.
Facebook groups can be very helpful ways to cope with challenges, like infertility, however, they aren’t a perfect solution. You have to opt in, they are topic driven, and controlled by moderators. On Partof, you can talk about all topics with your entire network because you never know when someone will know someone or have something to offer that can be helpful to you. Now that I am a parent, I have new questions every day and am experiencing multiple “firsts” a day. This comes with a need for support and a desire to share! On Partof you can connect with others with shared interests and challenges and develop organic relationships through finding a common ground.
How have you balanced being an entrepreneur with motherhood?
Being very organized. I have an old school notebook that I started using when I worked in finance and now never go anywhere without it. Every day I start off by creating a to- do list and then work through the day to cross off as much as possible. This sounds basic, but it really helps me execute the mom stuff and the work stuff - both are so important! I also try to be extremely present during whatever I’m doing; when I’m working, I am working, and when I am parenting, I am parenting. Obviously, this isn’t always a perfect system and in reality, things wind up being a lot more fluid and I’m getting better at just rolling with it!
We want to thank Amanda for opening up to our community about her fertility journey and to encourage you to sign up for Partof, so that you can engage in meaningful conversation with a community that will really support you! We also hope to shed light on the realities of fertility journeys and offer information that can support you whether that is advocating for yourself with a doctor or learning how to offer support as a friend.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.