A few years ago, I was lucky enough to land in an industry in which I was constantly surrounded by women –passionate, vibrant, and driven women who brought their whole selves to work every single day. Then, I started to notice something unsettling: friends shared worries that their expected promotions would be taken away if their pregnancies were revealed too soon; colleagues, exhausted and unrecovered from giving birth, returned to work and struggled to maintain their previous momentum while feeling afraid to slow down in concerns they would be perceived as poor performers. I knew the transition into motherhood would be hard, but the reality that they shared so honestly and vulnerably opened my eyes to the fact that while motherhood is celebrated and painted to be beautiful and magical, it is far less acknowledged and supported for what it actually is.
In those conversations, there was a statement that I heard over and over again: “Everyone talks about the pregnancy and the birth, but what about what happens after?” Women revealed that postpartum was more challenging than their c-section and their 26-hour natural birth, the worst part being that there hadn’t been enough education or support for the postpartum period – a time when they’re still healing, but the attention has already shifted to the baby. Having been born and raised in South Korea where postpartum care is a cherished tradition, I knew that mothers deserved better.
“Everyone talks about the pregnancy and the birth, but what about what happens after?”
From conception to birth, Ahma & Co has been thoughtfully developed, with feedback from real moms in forms of personal interviews, focus groups, and surveys, along with an advisory board of incredible women who understand the challenges all too well. Ahma, meaning “mother” in various languages, also carries a secret: it’s formed with one syllable each from “Ahgi” and “Umma,” Korean words for baby and mother. Acknowledging our roots in Korean postpartum care, Ahma represents our first and foremost commitment to providing holistic care for the mother, along with her baby. Co, short for Community, represents our commitment to surround mother and baby with an educated and supportive village; it’s also an acknowledgement of the robust community of present and future moms who have built Ahma & Co with us from the ground up. Together, Ahma & Co represents our vision to support the mother and baby through every chapter of motherhood, enveloped and supported by a community that is powered by empathy and knowledge.
In the beginning of this journey, I was challenged by an acquaintance on whether I had the legitimacy to bring this vision to life, given that I wasn’t a mom – or at least, not yet. And here’s how I responded: I envision a world in which one doesn’t have to be a mother to understand and acknowledge the real challenges that she faces, or to support her. All that is required is empathy, and until our mothers can step into any leading role without feeling as if they’re making sacrifices in loving their children or in loving themselves, I, and we, will continue to do our part as Co in our corner of the Universe.
If you’re reading this, thank you for taking the first step in getting to know Ahma & Co. If you’re a mom, I hope you know that we’ve built this for you, because you deserve it. We hope that you’re here to stay, to support and witness our work to build a better future for mothers for many years and generations to come. Welcome to the revolution in postpartum care.