When Tovah Haim gave birth to her first child, she could not believe how blindsided she was by experiences in recovery. Symptoms that she found alarming, like sweating and bleeding, she later found out that they were not only normal, but entirely predictable. With the internet at our fingertips and an seemingly oversupply of information, Haim was shocked that the common experience for women in the recovery from birth and pregnancy–something which is literally as old as humanity itself–could leave anyone unprepared. Her experienced led her to found Bodily, a educational content and postpartum-care product company hoping to help mothers recover from birth more easily that launches today.
“I delivered my first child via C-section and when I saw the profuse vaginal bleeding afterward, I thought I might be dying,” Tovah Haim said. “No one told me ahead of time that I should expect that, and that I should expect it regardless of delivering via vaginal or cesarean birth. I didn’t know waking up with night sweats is normal, or that losing your hair is normal (and that you won’t go bald), or that my feet might permanently change size. Not knowing what to expect meant that I didn’t have the supplies I needed to take care of myself once I left the hospital. And to top it off, the products my family and I purchased to help get me through that period felt somewhere in between outdated and archaic.”
“The products I needed to physically get back to work felt horrible to wear (granny panties, matronly bras and a stash of medical-ish accessories), and prevented me from starting to feel like myself again,” Haim said. “The information I wanted and needed about postpartum and breastfeeding was centralized only in personal blogs, and I found myself in a black hole looking through reams of comments left by others searching for the same information. While my husband also searched to help support me, sites that spoke to and welcomed him were virtually non-existent.”
“In the U.S., 25% of women return to work less than 14 days after childbirth, more than 80% of women breastfeed and only 16% of women have 12 weeks of paid leave,” Haim said. “Once I understood these experiences were so widespread, I decided I needed to do something about it. We deserve better. I couldn’t see this problem and just walk away. That’s when Bodily started!”
Bodily has raised $3M in Seed funding from Global Founders Capital, as well as Brooklyn Decker, and Andy Roddick.
When deciding what to put in Bodily’s care boxes, Haim said they set out to design an experience and line of products that bring a fresh, modern and researched-driven experience to outdated and substandard product areas.
“We relied on a combination of experts, such as certified nurse midwives, lactation consultants, postpartum doulas, as well as focus groups, and then ensured all of the recommended products were backed by clinical research,” Haim said. “It is a core Bodily value that our products provide benefits including health, function and comfort—importantly, they also need to be products that you can get excited about. We want you to feel great about putting Bodily products on your body—our Bodily Balms are made with all-natural ingredients (no preservatives, no stabilizers, no dyes, etc.), our mesh underwear look like actual boyshorts, and people have asked us whether they can wear our bras even though they don’t have kids.”
“Bodily serves you no matter what type of birth you had, in particular since 32% of births in the U.S. are cesarean,” Haim said. “We cover you with all of the things no one wants to tell you that should be on your hospital bag checklist, but that you really need. And beyond that, our postpartum kits include two guidebooks (one for the person delivering, one for their supporters) giving real facts about the significant changes that occur in postpartum so you know what to expect, can be prepared and, importantly, enable others to support you with easy and actionable steps.”
In addition to care boxes, Bodily’s website is dedicated to post-birth recovery and breastfeeding.
“We don’t charge to access to what we consider to be fundamental information,” Haim said. “Each article is grounded in clinical research and fact-checked by medical professionals. They’re then curated for new parents and their support systems to easily find the information that’s relevant for them, providing an evidence-based guide for what to expect, how to prepare, and what to do when going through these physiologically complicated experiences. Readers will also have a tailored shopping experience within various articles to make it quick and easy to purchase anything necessary all in one fell swoop, saving them from the 15-website scavenger hunt that has been the norm—until now.”
Prior to launching Bodily, Haim spent her career working in strategy, finance and data—from Fortune 500 companies to hyper-growth startups—and spent years before that in private equity investing.
“When I experienced the void of information and products firsthand, my mind immediately went to: How is this possible? Women are giving birth every day (to 10,000 babies a day in the U.S. alone, to be exact!)” Haim said. “I knew I wanted to make a change, and was able to do the market research to identify that there was no economic rationale for people not being served better than this. I knew that if I could create a viable business, I could get out there and really make some positive change in areas that sorely need it—there are so many inadequately addressed areas of women’s health. That ne to change, and if I have the ability to help drive that, then that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
Haim has big plans to grow after launching Bodily.
“Fundamentally I want to destigmatize women’s health,” Haim said. “That means enabling people to be fluent in their bodies, know that they’re not alone, and help them to find the resources they need to navigate their entirely human experience, feeling good about it and themselves along the way. We’re going to do that by serving as a comprehensive first-line-of-defense resource for inadequately addressed areas of women’s health. Unfortunately, there are so many areas that fit that bill. We are starting with one where there isn’t a single website dedicated to it — recovery from pregnancy and birth, and breastfeeding. Basically, if there is a common physiological experience that is culturally taboo, leaving women in the dark about what’s happening to their bodies and feeling isolated, then I want to shine a light on it and change it.”