Picture this scene: Melissa--clad in a smart business suit, smarter heels, and the smartest briefcase in the world (made out of pleather because I'm not going to walk around clutching the side of a cow)--clicks through the hallways at Conceive magazine until she reaches Kim Hahn's office. She knocks on the door and is told to enter.
Melissa sets down her pleather briefcase, whips out a pen and notepad and purrs, "tell me about the birth of Conceive."
And so it begins.
Or, in reality, I got a chance to work with Kim through MotherTalk where I work part-time and I asked if I could interview her because she's the founder and CEO of Conceive magazine. I emailed her questions, she emailed back.
But doesn't the first scenario sound more dazzling? Regardless, here are Kim's thoughts about writing about infertility.
Melissa: You are the founder and CEO of Conceive magazine. What gave you the idea to start the magazine?
Kim: While my husband and I were trying to start our family, I was frustrated by the lack of positive, consumer-friendly information about fertility. Specifically, I longed for a magazine as beautiful, upbeat, and informative as the many pregnancy and parenting magazines on the market. I saw a hole in the market for women trying to conceive. There are magazines for brides, pregnancy, and parenting, but there was a gap between the bridal and pregnancy magazines.
After four years of fertility treatments, including three in-vitro fertilizations, my husband and I decided that becoming parents was more important than becoming pregnant, and we adopted our daughter. Soon afterwards, I left my banking career to start Conceive Magazine. My vision from the beginning was to start with the magazine and then expand into other areas of media where we could deliver the information. We’ve already made our way into books with The Fertility Journal and Fertility Facts, online radio with Conceive On-Air, and the web with our site. We hope to break into television and products in the future.
Melissa: What was missing during your own fertility journey in terms of information or resources?
Kim: Everything was missing. There was nothing in terms of a resource that gave unbiased, consumer-friendly, reliable, and fun information that I could trust. The Internet can be risky in terms of finding accurate, unbiased, and reliable information, and I wanted something more encouraging and trustworthy.
Melissa: There has been talk around the blogosphere about celebrities who have come forth with their fertility story. Can you tell us one that touched you in the past few years?
Kim: I’m touched by them all. Hearing a celebrity’s story has helped normalize getting pregnant and made the topic more acceptable to talk about. I’ve spoken numerous times with Trista Sutter from The Bachelorette and I am thankful for her honesty and raw emotion about her journey to parenthood. Trista’s story is one many of us can relate to. Another great celebrity story is Marissa Jaret Winokur’s. After being diagnosed with cervical cancer and undergoing a hysterectomy, it’s wonderful to hear she’s building her family thanks to fertility treatments and a surrogate.
Melissa: Can you tell us more about The Fertility Journal you recently put out with Chronicle Books?
Kim: The idea was born from my own journey. I remember being disappointed that there were books to plan your wedding, pregnancy, and even for the first 12 months of your child’s life. But there weren’t any fun, informational books to take you through the journey to parenthood. When I was trying to conceive and then going through fertility treatments, I constantly kept notes and facts on loose pieces of paper. I longed for a journal where I could keep track of all the information I was finding. The Fertility Journal: A Day-by-Day Guide to Getting Pregnant was created to be a woman’s companion and to provide education and information in a more fun format.
Melissa: Who would most benefit from using The Fertility Journal?
Kim: The Fertility Journal is targeted towards women who are beginning their journey. It’s meant to help prepare you for pregnancy at least three to 12 months before conception. It is full of information to help women make sure they are healthy and that their body is in the best shape for pregnancy. The journal walks them step-by-step through the process of trying to conceive and provides them with the education that many of them don’t have relating to reproduction and conception.
Melissa: How did you decide which sections to place in the journal?
Kim: The Fertility Journal was laid out with 12 months of space for a woman who is trying to conceive with her partner. We did this because 12 months is the recommended length of time a woman under 35 years of age should try on her own before seeking medical help. If a woman is over 35, she should seek help after six months; over 40 after three months.
The sections are based upon the most important things a woman needs to think about when trying conceive. This includes getting a preconception check-up, suggestions on taking vitamins, nutrition, sex, and your partner’s past medical history and lifestyle. It is a complete roadmap for a healthy conception.
The second part of the journal is for women going through fertility treatments. There’s space to keep track of medications and doctor’s recommendations. Throughout the journal we’ve also included a looking ahead to pregnancy section with tips for the future.
Melissa: What is the best advice you can pass along to someone still in the trenches—either doing treatments or pursuing adoption?
Kim: 1. Make sure you are empowered through education. 2. Feel comfortable with your specialist and ask lots of questions. 3. Do what is best for you and don’t base it on what anyone else thinks. 4. Remember, once you have your family how you got there doesn’t matter.