Christiana Johnson’s Founding Story of Moving Forward Post Miscarriage

This weeks women’s health founders story is from Christiana Johnson on her founding story of her company moving Forward Post Miscarriage.

How did your journey as a women’s health founder begin?

I have always loved sports and physical activities, however, I also experienced ill health and at the age of 10 I lost my best friend through sickle-cell, which was devastating. Shortly after that, I lost my great grandmother, followed by my aunt through fertility related issues. The irony was they all seemed fit and well and strong. In that moment, I vowed to always lead a healthy lifestyle, and to help others to do the same, but my journey was not that straightforward.

Due to the injustices, I had witnessed at aged 10, I decided that I would become a lawyer, I strived, worked hard and achieved this goal. Nevertheless, throughout my legal career, I maintained my passion for helping others lead a healthier lifestyle.

-Christiana Johnson

On reflection, I had been leading a double life, by day, fast pace legal career that I had worked so hard to achieve and by night, my passion for fitness and wellness came alive in the form of running women’s fitness classes. For over a decade I helped women from all backgrounds with a variety of issues to live a healthier lifestyle from wanting to get fit to walk down the aisle, for health reasons, weight loss, before a gastric band surgery, losing some baby weight right through to rehabilitative Strength and balance conditioning exercises post knee and hip surgery. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know and understand every single one of these women and their families, including their life journey until I experienced miscarriages.

What inspired you to start your business?

This is such a great question! I didn’t initially set out to start a business of this nature, however, after experiencing miscarriages I felt a great need for answers but no one seemed able to give me answers. Other than the clinical mundane response, there was nothing else for me. Had everything I wanted, the husband, home, career and so on, one thing was missing. The family my husband and I had so desired from the moment we got together we agreed that we wanted a family of our own. I had helped others conceive and I knew that having my own family would be the icing on the cake.

To cut a very long story short, it took seven years to achieve our first pregnancy only to lose it, followed by two years to achieve our second pregnancy, which resulted in a loss and three years for our third pregnancy and again no baby.

-Christiana Johnson

To add to this I had to undergo and endure a total of four intensive surgery TTC and losing my pregnancies. I felt so alone and frustrated with no reward for all our efforts and hard work. I needed answers, 2020 marked the last miscarriage in the midst of experiencing trauma for the third time (and the pandemic), I became desperate for answers.

The offer of a leaflet for therapy over a telephone call with the fertility clinic was not good enough

-Christiana Johnson

I had had enough of why I wanted to understand the who? What? and where?. I was still processing it all. Who could help? What was next? And where do I go? “Moving forward Post miscarriage” was born. I did not want others to suffer alone in silence. The shame, fear, anger, frustration that I had experienced alone. Even when I ventured into therapy, I was left, feeling cold and alone. Deep down I knew that being asked, how does that make you feel at every sentence was not the answer for me.

Tell us more about your women’s health business ‘Moving Forward Post Miscarriage’? What field of women’s health does it serve?

Currently in my business, I work with women and couples who have experienced miscarriage and baby loss to help them move forward with clarity and confidence on their journey to make an informed decision, especially when faced with healthcare professionals. This means providing a safe space for them to share and disclose their experiences, journey, whether at home in the work environment or when faced with professionals so that they can confidently participate in the decision-making process of their care and how they are cared for in the work environment.

My work also extends to Companies, HR managers to assist them in developing the right policies within their well-being policies with great consideration for those who have experienced miscarriage and baby loss. Providing training or Q&A sessions to encourage open conversations about how to support employees, who experience this type of trauma.

-Christiana Johnson

I also work with healthcare professionals in the fertility space to consider the use of outdated fertility language that negatively impact the patients they work with. Currently I conduct my business mainly on linkedIn, with the opportunities to guest feature on podcasts, live audio events and roundtable discussions. In terms of funding, I have founding access to funding challenging I believe for two reason. The nature of my work and the fact that it does not fall within most funding categories.

Christiana Johnson, post miscarriage,

As a women in business what obstacles have you faced, and how have you over come them?

At first speaking about my miscarriage experiences was challenging and a real obstacle because of the sensitive nature of it, the stigma, misconceptions, myths, and lack of understanding associated with it, as well as it being a taboo subject. My own limiting beliefs of how I was raised to not “spread my dirty linen outside”, for fear of being judged, ridiculed by others or faced with insensitive comments. It was therefore difficult to truly connect with those who had experienced miscarriage or baby loss because my words did not resonate with them.

A miscarriage or baby-loss coach did not exist, believe me I kept searching. There were fertility support specialist in abundance. This was not what I needed. I needed someone to take me from “Why Me” to “what’s next?” , who could help and where do I go?

-Christiana Johnson

I also wanted some reassurance that I was on the right track, someone to talk me through my options, someone who had some experience of this, and understood my journey. I also faced people telling me that LinkedIn, a professional platform was not the right place for me to share my story or journey. Obviously I disagreed lol! To overcome this, I began sharing my story, and what was surprising to me was the way in which people became Inspired to share their stories and journey with me via my DM and live audio platform. I also held a six weeks, private zoom for women and couples to share their experiences and journeys, so that they could feel less alone, isolated, ashamed, afraid, judged and stigmatised.

How do you see the landscape of digital women’s health evolving to fill the gender health gap?

I believe that, because digital women’s health has become a hot topic, it is likely to evolve rapidly in particular categories or sections, especially for those who may not have had access to support locally. With the increase and popularity of technology, even women in remote villages, globally, have the possibility of accessing support, advice, and guidance, and in some cases, a much needed life-saving treatment. Some examples of these are: Virtual consultations and Telemedicine that allow women to access healthcare services, especially in areas where healthcare is limited. They offer specialised virtual visits that cater for women’s health, such as gynaecologists and obstetricians and other healthcare providers.

Personalised monitoring apps designed specifically for women’s health are likely to become more sophisticated in tracking various aspects of women’s health, including, but not limited to specific Fertility tracking, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, monitoring and menopause management. I believe that with the help of algorithms there could be personalised insights and recommendations based on individual health data. Remote monitoring devices in form of wearable devices and sensors that will enable constant and continuous remote monitoring of women’s health, metrics, such as blood pressure, hormone levels and heart rate variability.

Hopefully this will empower more women to take a proactive approach to their health and facilitate early detection of potential health issues. Digital therapeutics and wellness programs will become more prevalent for managing chronic conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, gestational diabetes, postpartum depression, and perinatal anxiety. As well as health, education and empowerment programs that provide accurate education.

Can you pinpoint a particular strategy that has been pivotal to the success of your women’s health business?

My business is still in it’s infancy and success to me, is relative (somewhat subjective too) because I began this process without the thoughts and intention of it becoming a business. My goal and focus was to find answers, so I could help others to not feel alone, afraid, stigmatised, confused, ashamed, judged, overlooked and labelled geriatric, barren, infertile and so many outdated language that quite frankly leaves you feeling doom and passed “the birth by date” (as my clients and community, tell me). I am still on my journey, and cherish learning so much from the women and couples I continue to serve. Ask me the same question in a few months or years’ time.

That said, what has been pivotal so far, is being human, vulnerable and sharing my story to help facilitate safe spaces, virtually, and in person for others to share their journey and ask questions without fear of judgement or shame.

-Christiana Johnson

All of this has been achieved on LinkedIn which I call my second virtual home. It has taken time to cultivate and build real connections and relationships.

Which pieces of kit, technology and software could you not live without?

  • I could not live without my iPhone and laptop
  • as well as software apps like Canva (creating content)
  • Adobe creative cloud (Editing content ad images)
  • CRM (on-boarding clients) for creating my LinkedIn content and other business related work

What is your big vision for your women’s health business?

At this I keeping things simple for now, however, there are so many things I would like to achieve in my business. The starting point is continuing to support women and couples that experience this type of trauma

on a global scale and create awareness through educating women, couples, employers and healthcare professionals.

-Christiana Johnson

I would also like to collaborate with others like Employers, the NHS, other healthcare organisations and companies worldwide that are serious in making a real positive change for their workforce to feel comfortable and confidence to share their experience and be supported. I want to build an Academy of international miscarriage of baby loss coaches like me, to help spread the word and help many more women and couples. I would love to see my work translated into different languages worldwide.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to a fellow women’s health founder?

  1. Follow your gut intuition, sometimes when you know, you just know.
  2. Believe and invest in yourself when it is the hardest thing to do.
  3. Think big, Start small, have a clear goal and let your why? Drive you forward Jump both feet in and don’t let fear or words in your ears (naysayers) hold you back.

Recommend women’s health read?

How can people connect with you?