In a survey conducted by UK-based Action for Children, 52 percent of new parents admitted to feeling lonely, and 68 percent said they felt they had been “cut off” from friends and family after having children. Similarly, those who are trying to conceive (TTC) or dealing with infertility may also feel isolated in their pregnancy struggles.
“Trying to get pregnant can quickly take over your life, especially when it takes longer than you first expected,” explained an article by Very Well Family. “Infertility is extremely difficult emotionally. The fertility challenged can get sucked into a whirlpool of sadness and obsession, and it’s not uncommon for those trying to conceive (TTC) to even become depressed.”
Michelle Kennedy, founder and CEO of social networking app Peanut, experienced some of these feelings after giving birth to her son. She felt not only social isolation, but confusion as she tried to navigate parenthood. She couldn’t find any reliable online resources to look for answers about her child’s health, and the disjointedness of Facebook groups didn’t give her the connection or advice she craved.
“I came to realisation that it takes a village, but we don’t have a village anymore,” she told The Story Exchange.
Using her experience as an executive for dating apps Badoo and Bumble, she decided to launch her own app to create a social network for mothers. Peanut first started as a space for mothers to befriend other mothers who lived nearby; then the app expanded to add community features and Q&A forums.
“Community is definitely becoming a very important part of what we do,” Kennedy told TechCrunch. “It’s where we see the users that we deem to be power users — women who are using Peanut for hours every day — they’re very much within the community section.”
Peanut is currently only available in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia, but the app has earned international acclaim as the “Tinder for moms.”
Since its founding in 2017, Peanut has surprised even Kennedy with the level of intimacy and connection that its 500,000+ users have displayed through the app.
“The conversations were much, much more personal and intimate and more related to their lives,” Kennedy told TechCrunch. “So whether that had to do with their sex life or relationships, it was on a deeper level.
“These are conversations that women simply can’t have anywhere else. Of course, they’re not happening in Facebook Groups…these are very intimate and self-reflective moments. And [women] want to do that in a private setting in a private social network.”
After the company’s recent $5 million funding round, led by Index Ventures, Peanut is expanding its platform to including people who are TTC. This section of the social networking app will allow those who are trying to start or expand their families to ask questions and discuss their experiences openly, as well as start specific groups to meet others in the same situation, such as users on their fourth round of IVF.
“We want to shine a light on an often silent struggle,” Kennedy explained. “What has always been Peanut’s point of difference is enabling conversations women feel unable to have on any other platform. Providing a safe, inclusive space for women to discuss fertility is a natural progression for our brand as we continue to support women throughout each life stage. No woman should ever feel lonely, isolated or muted on such an important issue.”
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