Natalist Founder Halle Tecco Wants to Help Women Get Pregnant

"You have to let go of the vision of how and how long the journey will be and learn to flow and become stronger through the process."
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March 16, 2020
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Image: Halle Tecco

The Bump presents #MomBoss, a series dedicated to showing off all-star moms. We catch up with mompreneurs behind products we love, influencers who get real about motherhood and SAHMs who can multitask in their sleep.

The journey to motherhood isn’t always an easy one. Though it’s not often talked about, infertility affects more people than one might think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 12 percent of women aged 15 to 44 have trouble getting pregnant or carrying the pregnancy to term. In recent years, more people have joined the conversation by opening up about their own experiences—but Halle Tecco, mom and co-founder and CEO of Natalist, is taking things a step further.

Tecco, also founder and former CEO of Rock Health, a digital health venture fund, is no stranger to the health industry and has been open about her long journey to motherhood. After struggling with infertility herself, Tecco launched Natalist in the fall of 2019. It’s a startup that offers monthly subscription boxes filled with all the things you might need to conceive—and it’s already making headlines for its personalized and educational approach to conception. The company offers products including pregnancy and ovulation tests, vitamin supplements, books and, most recently, an FDA-cleared fertility-friendly lubricant.

We talked to Tecco about how her journey inspired Natalist, how she built her team and how she finds time for self-care.

How did your experience with infertility inspire you to start Natalist?

It took me over four years and a good deal of science to become a mom. During those long months of repeated negative pregnancy tests, I felt disconnected from my body, which just wasn’t getting pregnant. I was lost in a sea of junk science on the internet, as well as products that just didn’t speak to me as a millennial woman. Creating a new human is one of the most exciting yet vulnerable times in your life. I wanted to build something that helps women cut through the crap and also makes the experience a little more beautiful and special.

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How did you build the Natalist team?

The old adage is to hire people smarter than you who bring a different perspective or expertise. I totally agree with that sentiment and would add that the expertise should be in the area where you want your company to differentiate. Because I wanted Natalist to be firmly rooted in science and medicine, early on I brought on my co-founders Nazaneen Homaifar, MD, and Liz Kane, PhD (we were all at Harvard at the same time). Dr. Naz brings the ob-gyn perspective to inform our education and products, while Liz dives deep into the science to lead our product strategy, and I carry the business and public health torch. It’s awesome working with other moms who have been there and can truly empathize with our customers.

Image: Halle Tecco

What’s something you wish someone told you while trying to conceive?

Honestly, I heard (and continue to hear) it all. Sometimes it’s not about being told how to do it. Especially for those struggling to conceive, an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on is far more powerful than any advice.

Why do you think there is taboo around infertility?

Because we don’t talk about it! It’s not that infertility and reproductive issues are uncommon—just look at the data: 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy and nearly half of women will experience miscarriage. These issues can be hard to deal with personally and even harder to share. But that’s changing as people realize that sharing their story can help others feel a little less alone.

What advice do you have for someone trying to conceive or already pregnant?

Self-care is more than just bubble baths and face masks. Self-care means educating and empowering yourself with knowledge. It’s about owning your journey and taking care of your physical and mental health.

Image: Halle Tecco

What’s one thing you do for yourself to help you de-stress?

I took up gardening last year. I love being closer to nature and our food system, and the sense of accomplishment as I watch the garden grow. It forces me to slow down and practice patience, while giving me some Zen time to clear my mind for new ideas.

How do you try to balance work and being a mom?

I have an amazing husband, reliable childcare and grandparents nearby. I realize this is a great privilege!

Any guilty mom pleasures or great parenting hacks?

On the weekends, I always try to nap during nap time. It’s such a treat! Plus, living near grandparents has been so important to our family. Spend time with your parents while you can!

What’s a quote that particularly inspires you?

“The final stage of healing is using what happens to you to help other people. That is healing in itself” - Gloria Steinem. Infertility often comes with grief and loss. You have to let go of the vision of how and how long the journey will be and learn to flow and become stronger through the process. For me, I’ve found healing by trying to understand it. I’ve spent years studying the science and the industry, and now I’m putting my thesis to work. I hope to use my journey to make the journey better for other women.

Published March 2020

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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