One of the hardest parts of relocating is the social aspect. Leaving your family and friends and trying to create new connections and bonds is not an easy task.
When we moved to Raleigh we had no family or friends. We searched for community by showing up, the new kids, to different activities and events, hoping to find like-minded folks that could become our people. It was hard and awkward but the time and effort paid off.
It was through these early efforts, that Nili connected with the HER Health Collective, a warm and welcoming mom group that welcomed her with open arms and gave her that connection that was so lacking when we first moved.
The HER Health Collective is more than just a couple moms getting together for coffee or playdates. This group was a lifeline – from social outlets during the depths of the pandemic to a meal train supporting our family while Nili recovered from major surgery.
The support this group has given Nili and our family has been priceless but that’s just us. Their influence in the community is constantly expanding and the good they do can be felt throughout the triangle.
We sat down with Crissy Fishbane, one of the founders of the HER Health Collective to talk about their growing community and how they help newcomers integrate.
Tell us about yourself and what made you start HER Health Collective?
Although I’m a mom to an amazing little girl, my motherhood journey was not at all what I expected it to be. I suffered severe postpartum anxiety after the birth of my daughter. I was constantly walking around with adrenaline coursing through my veins, waiting for the next catastrophe. Suddenly, daily chores felt like Herculean tasks and even the smallest setback felt catastrophic. The meager one-page intake form given at my 6-week postpartum check-up failed to get me the support I so desperately needed. The truth is that I had always been a good test taker and felt that this was a test I shouldn’t “fail.” Without even thinking about it, I answered in a “safe way.” I assumed that, if I let anyone know how much I was struggling, I would be viewed as a failure and perhaps even as an “unfit” mother.
In hindsight, I recognize how flawed this logic was. It did however, become the catalyst to launching HER Health Collective along with my business partner, Cindi Michaelson. I knew that something in the system needed to change and I never wanted another mom to feel as lonely as I had.
What is HER Health Collective?
HER Health Collective is a supportive community and resource hub for moms. It is a small business led by two women with a big social mission to revolutionize the way mothers take care of themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. HER Health Collective is dedicated to improving postpartum care for women in the United States, where maternal outcomes are often ranked last compared to other developed nations. This gap in care is a serious flaw in our healthcare system.
While some women are fortunate enough to receive extensive care during pregnancy, many are not. Regardless of prenatal support, care for the mother often comes to a screeching halt once the child is born and this is in fact the exact period of life when most women will face their biggest health and life challenges. Many women do not know what is normal and what is a cause for concern. If a woman is to receive health services in the postpartum period, she will likely need to research, self-diagnose, and seek out that care on her own.
HER Health Collective has a two-pronged approach to serving moms. The first key component is our resource network, including a panel of experts and library of vetted content, that provides moms easy access to trusted information. The second key component is our supportive and welcoming community, called HER Circle. This community has been intentionally created to help moms build authentic and genuine relationships with other mothers. We know that if a mom is armed with these two key components – trusted knowledge and a supportive community – she can conquer any challenge.
Is it based in a specific city?
HER Health Collective is currently based out of Raleigh, NC and largely serves moms that live in the Triangle. We do however have resources and opportunities for connection for moms nationwide via our online platform and virtual events, where we’ve had the pleasure of having moms from India all the way to Canada join in our conversations.
Is it in person or virtual?
We currently host 10+ social events each month, four of those are virtual and the remaining events are held in person in the Triangle region. We have a variety of articles, workshops, and other resources that are available for moms on our website. Also our HER Circle members get access to our exclusive Facebook group where moms are able to help one another sort out problems and challenges in real time.
You also have a podcast. What kind of topics do you cover in it?
Recently awarded the WRAL Voters’ Choice Award for Best Podcast, Mama Needs a Moment is a fun, informative, and engaging podcast. We dive into the topics that matter to moms most, answering their most pressing questions as we learn from top-notch experts, swap stories, tap into our creative sides, and advocate for the causes that moms truly care about. It’s a podcast that gives a vibe of hanging with your mom friends!
Over the past year we have touched on learning disabilities, postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, breast cancer, the struggles of parenting toddlers, the struggles of parenting pre-teens, finding your creative side in motherhood, helping your child learn to read, diet culture and body image. If it’s a topic moms are interested in, it’s fair game for Mama Needs a Moment!
Tell us about a memorable moment from the past year?
In May we held our first HER Retreat. We had 12 moms join us in the mountains for a much-deserved long weekend of pampering and connecting with friends. We enjoyed an art class, hikes, breathwork sessions, massages and facials, wine tastings, game nights, and delicious food.
While many of our moms expressed reservations about leaving their families for a long weekend, each and every mom left that retreat feeling so rejuvenated. Each of the 12 moms shared how much they needed that time for themself. The truly magical part was watching the connections these women formed with one another. We were able to see genuine friendships blossoming right before our eyes. That’s what HER Circle is all about.
What are the future plans for the group?
HER Health Collective will continue working to revolutionize how moms take care of themselves. We will continue to offer the inclusive and supportive HER Circle community to moms here in the Triangle and are working on plans to expand to new cities in the near future.
We are also continually expanding our connections with professionals in the area, and are excited to launch our newly reimagined expert directory soon. This will provide a comprehensive library of vetted experts and professionals that moms know they can trust.
What is your favorite thing about raising your family in the triangle?
There is so much to love about the Triangle. It is a fantastic place to raise a family. I love the access to parks and nature trails, museums and festivals. On any given weekend you will be able to find over a dozen fun things to do with your family.
As the area continues to grow, much is changing, but I find it has still retained that welcoming and inviting atmosphere I first fell in love with when we moved to the area over 15 years ago.
Do you have advice for moms /families relocating to the triangle?
Moving to a new area can be challenging, especially if you don’t know anyone. Find your community, build your village. HER Circle is an excellent place to start for any moms moving into the area. You will find a welcoming circle of moms, eager to welcome you to the area, share resources, and build genuine friendships with you. It is also a great place to start building connections for your children and partner.
If someone wants to join the group or come to the next event, how can they do that?
Check out our calendar of events! HER Circle has four open enrollment periods each year (February, May, August, and November). We do this intentionally to ensure our new members are able to truly start building connections with other moms in the community. But, you are always invited to join us at an event and check out what we are all about. Email [email protected] to let us know which event you’d like to meet us at. We will have a warm smile and friendly conversation waiting for you!