It Takes A Village: Kristie & The Streicher Sisters
Eyebrow whisperer and one-third of the beauty trio known as the Streicher Sisters, Kristie, is about to become a mom. Here, from IVF to avoid the BRCA gene to feeling grateful, and leaning on her sisters for support, this effortlessly stunning co-founder of STRIIIKE shares how it takes a tribe. @kristiestreicher @striiike
What was your experience getting pregnant?
It was not as easy as I thought it would be. Early in our relationship (and I mean VERY early), we got pregnant. Considering we barely knew each other and weren’t prepared for a lifelong commitment, we decided we needed more time. It was scary to make that heart-wrenching decision, especially at 37 years old; I didn’t know if I would ever be able to get pregnant again. Ultimately we felt bringing a child into the world given the circumstances (and the way I was raised) seemed extremtly irresponsible. Seven years later, we were ready to start trying. David’s mom had the BRCA gene and eventually passed after battling cancers related to the gene. As a result, David had himself tested too, which came back positive. Therefore, when we wanted to get pregnant, it was important for David to rule this out for our child. With IVF, you can create a probe and test the embryos for BRCA. With this in mind we decided on IVF to select out this gene. However, it wasn’t that simple. Having been pregnant unexpectedly years before, I assumed I would get it would be easy. Instead it took a couple of years and was very emotional.
Oh really? What was it like to go through IVF?
After my parents had a summer fling, my mom got pregnant with my older sister just before my dad went to the marines. Both of their parents, (our grandparents), were conservative and insisted they get married, even though they were SO young. While they did the best they could, in some ways, my sister and I parented each other which made us extremely independent, driven, and entrepreneurial.
All that said, when we began IVF, I took it on like I have always done with my job, with fierce intent. Throughout my career, hard work typically shows results, which is an equation I understand. Whereas with IVF and getting pregnant, there is ZERO control. No matter how hard you work at it, the result can be unknown. I was doing “all the things” from doctor appointments to acupuncture, and yet the process took longer than anticipated. Through the long process, I learned to re-parent, trust, and have compassion for myself. I worked with this fantastic therapist Raduca Kaplan (who’s starting a non-profit for young parents to develop the tools necessary to raise children) to cultivate those skills.
On our final cycle, we had three healthy embryos to implant. When given the choice between a boy or a girl, we simply went with the order the embryos were retrieved, so that’s our little guy.
Finally, you had eggs! What was it like doing the transfer?
There’s a 50/50 chance that once they implant an embryo, the pregnancy will take. After going through the process leading up to the transfer, the wait time to find out if I was pregnant or not was excruciating. I tried not to think about it, but, of course, that’s ALL I thought about for weeks. I did my best to surrender to the outcome and take one day at a time.
I’m blessed to have such a full life, which I leaned on throughout this process. I stayed busy with my work, plus I had the love and support of my sisters and great friends. There were so many ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I was confident it was going to happen. Now look at me, I’m ready to pop.
Were you open about the process with your tribe?
I was extremely open about the whole process with my clients and community, perhaps too much! Talking about what I was going through was cathartic. Plus, a lot of them had shared their experience with me, so I felt it was important to pay it forward. The beauty about sharing is that I felt supported and never alone. When we did the transfer, all my people were rooting for me every step of the way.
Do you feel like IVF is becoming more common?
I feel that way. Many of the women I work with and in my community have gone through IVF for a variety of reasons including waiting until later in life to have babies or prioritizing their career. I was 38 before I felt ready to become a mom.
Speaking of community, tell us about sisterhood and STRIIIKE?
I can’t imagine my world without them; there is much love and in many ways we raised each other. That said, in recent years we’ve worked on evolving our relationship to be more independent yet supportive; peers versus parents.
Because we have a big age difference, the three of us weren’t that close as kids. Once we all settled in LA and decided to open STRIIIKE together our relationship evolved. Having the business has forced us to be better communicators. We’ve learned to talk to each other like business partners instead of sassy sisters; it’s been a big, positive shift. We fought a lot in the beginning, and the band almost broke up a few times, but we finally figured it out and have been in such a flow ever since.
Do you believe it’s important to have a tribe you can lean on?
I’m surrounded by the most incredible community of women. Cumulatively hearing all of their stories leading up to my pregnancy was so inspiring and empowering.
Now, as I’m about to give birth, I look at my community from my sisters, to my friends and family as my village; each will have a role in my child’s life. Going into this, I think it will be important for my son to build healthy relationships outside of his dad and myself.
Apparently there are areas in the world called Blue Zones, where people are living the longest with the lowest mortality rate — up to a 125 years old! When the elders in these communities get sick or grow old they aren’t put in homes to be forgotten, but instead live with the family and remain a part of the community.
How have you felt these last nine months?
Once we found out we were pregnant, I was on edge and nauseous until about week 15. Otherwise, it’s been relatively enjoyable. I have had some fainting spells, which has been wild! I’d never fainted before being pregnant, and now it’s happened a handful of times. The first time was at the Hollywood Bowl with a girlfriend when I was four months pregnant. My face turned white, my lips turned purple, and I thought I was dying. I’ve had a few fainting spells since. Oddly enough it’s usually when I’m sitting down; I get light headed, the blood rushes to my head and I need to lay down. My OB says it’s common because of the massive amount of blood in my body; the volume is 50% increased.
What have you been eating or craving?
I allow myself to eat what I crave, I don’t diet, nor do I have any allergies or intolerances. I have craved sweets, lemons (lots of lemonade), apples and radishes (for the crunch). Lest we not forget the occasional Pop Tart, which is super random and funny connsidering I haven’t had one since the 4th grade! Growing up, my mom was anti-sugar and wouldn’t allow sweet cereals or anything of the sort in the house. Therefore, when I’d go to a friend’s house, I’d binge eat an entire box of PopTarts. Guess I’m tapping into my childhood!
Have you been working out?
I’ve cut back on the cardio, drastically. Pre-pregnancy, I would hike, swim, and run a lot which I haven’t felt like doing recently. Honestly, I’m winded just going up the stairs. I feel like he’s really grounding me.
What do you think has changed?
In my non-pregnant life, I have anxious energy and operate in fight or flight mode. I believe this comes from my lack of good parenting as I was continuously left searching for support and safety. This is one of the reasons I sought to heal myself so I could parent differently from how I was raised.
Do you have a birth plan?
I’m planning to go to the hospital. David is a surgeon, so having a home birth was an option, but we opted for the safety of a hospital birth because of potential complications.
My sister Jenn had a traumatic hospital birth, complicated by bleeding after delivery. As you can imagine, after experiencing that, we prefer to err on the side of safety. I will bring fireless candles, my partner, a doula, and music to create our own little vibe.
Will you take maternity leave?
My mom is going to move in and help in the beginning, plus I have a postpartum doula coming 3-4 days a week. She will make warm digestible food such as bone broths, porridges and soups. I’m going to stay home and be cozy for 40 days. In March I’ll head back to the office and maybe even bring him with me. The salon is filled with women and my sisters, of course, that would love to see him, so who knows?! I have all these ideas but you never know until I’m in it. I’ll take it as it comes.
Advice is hard to give, since everyone has their journey. Sometimes, all the information is too much. Perhaps it’s best to trust your intuition, surrender to whatever the outcome, and rest assured that with all your planning and efforts, things usually work out for the best. If you’re going through a difficult time, as with miscarriage or complex IVF, it’s important to share with your tribe, so you don’t feel so alone.