The founder of a new app for women writes about why she created it
Over the last few years we’ve witnessed a lot of women’s marches and movements triggered by the #metoo stories, but I feel the truth is that we as women, most of the time, are still afraid of coming forward and being ourselves. Ever since we were little girls, society has taught us that we need to be perfect. We have no room for failure, neither in our personal nor professional lives. We have been unconsciously taught to be afraid.
In the social media era we live in nothing has changed, and we are still constantly trying to get more likes, comments, and shares to feel better and to feel accepted. Most of the time what you see on our pages is not the truth. It has become more and more difficult to make meaningful connections and to be honest about our feelings, especially when we pretend that everything is so perfect on Instagram.
A couple of years ago following the birth of my first child, I felt very lonely. I was an immigrant in the United States with no family or close friends nearby. Motherhood for me was nothing like the pictures I saw on social media and blog posts from my friends and others. It was not pretty and it was not cute, and somehow seeing all these seemingly amazing mums with their problem-free babies made me feel like a failure. I had no idea what I was doing and I did not feel comfortable asking any of my friends for help because I was afraid they would judge my ability to be a mother.
All of this got me thinking about how new mums really felt. Motherhood is amazing, but from my experience it could also be very lonely and isolated. I wondered about how many new mums might feel the same as me but felt compelled to show otherwise. And what if it wasn’t just new mums but every woman? What if women were feeling overwhelmed behind closed doors but still showing the world that everything was perfect.
Women can sometimes feel like we have to carry the world upon our shoulders. That we have to care for those surrounding us and put ourselves last. That can also make us afraid to come forward and talk about our own issues. If our entire family depends on us, if we are not emotionally OK, how will they survive?
With all this in mind, I had the idea for findSisterhood. I thought how amazing it would be to have a place to connect over the internet where you could be honest about your feelings and issues. It first started as a group of 400 women in New York coming together to talk about the struggles of motherhood. Later on, I built a beta version of the app with the help of my husband. FindSisterhood was a space created for mums to connect anonymously over motherhood issues that they did not feel comfortable enough to talk about in their day-to-day lives, but it has grown to be a safe space for every woman to share issues and get support from other women without feeling judged or exposed.
It is somehow easier to be honest about your feelings when you know it’s a safe and anonymous space. It’s a bit like going to a therapist: you know it is not going to leave the room and you know no one but them will find out about your insecurities. This what findSisterhood has become for many women. A safe space within the fake world of social media, where you can be yourself and still get love and support.
Findsisterhood has collected thousands of stories about relationships, motherhood, sexual harassment and sexual assault. Every day my team receives emails from women all over the globe on how the support and understanding from this online community changed their lives and how they gained strength to move forward.
The lesson to be learned from all of this is that women have the power to heal each other. The fight for feminism includes fighting for sisterhood and unity. Let us cherish the fact that we are all the same beneath our skin and spread love and kindness into the world.
The feature image is of five women, including Ana Pompa Alarcón Rawls standing in front of a wall created out of flowers and foliage that spells out “findSisterhood”. They all look very happy.