As cool as they come with the brains (and soul) to match, Pia, the superstar creative director behind sought after fashion brand LPA, host of Everything is the Best podcast, and CMO of Ghiaia Cashmere is about to become a mom.
Recently, we hung with this all-around rockstar (and total smokeshow) to chat about her years-long road to conceive. Here, she dishes on being told she’s old, taking vitamins, saying prayers, seeing doctors, and crying on podcasts. And, how as fate would have it — just as she gave up — she got pregnant naturally and so very unexpectedly.
Path to pregnancy?
Before we got married two years ago, we started talking about having babies. Over the years, I had heard so many challenging stories from girlfriends about fertility and was nervous we’d have a hard time getting pregnant. But, we had this romantic notion that it would “just happen” as soon as we tried and dismissed our fears.
After the wedding, I went to my OBGYN (who ironically is the same doctor that delivered me) to run some test. I told him we were planning to try for a baby and wanted to check my fertility levels beforehand. His response? Try for six months and come back if there’s an issue—and therein lies my entire frustration with our mediocre medical system. It made zero sense that he wouldn’t run a standard set of tests covered under insurance in advance of our trying. After all, why waste 6 months or a year if we could have real information now? I left his office feeling defeated.
Nevertheless, we got pregnant four months later and were overwhelmed with excitement and joy. Then, sadly, I miscarried a few weeks later. Although common, it was deeply disappointing.
We took a moment after the miscarriage to reset before starting to try again. When nothing was happening, I consulted an IVF doctor. At my first appointment, he told me I was a perfect candidate for IVF because of “my age!” While the doctor meant well and was speaking in terms of stats, to be told that you’re old at 33 is alarming.
What was the turning point?
Right around the same time, I did a podcast with Alisa Vitti, the author of In the Flow and founder of Flo Living. On that podcast, Alisa explained how hormonally disruptive fasting and HIIT workouts can be for women. I cried openly on her podcast because I had been intermittent fasting for close to 6 years and regularly working out on an empty stomach; virtually everything I was in the habit of doing was terrible for my body. She went on to explain that as women, we need to cycle sync. This involves adjusting your workouts and what you’re eating, depending on where you are in your cycle. That conversation changed my life. I immediately began to modify the way I was eating and moving. Plus, I started taking her prenatal vitamins and supplements like Vitex Berry (which makes you really fertile). In no time, I had regulated my heavy bleeding and my cycle. It was unbelievable.
Learning to chill?
Feeling better in my body but still not pregnant, I went back to the IVF doctor, intending to start IVF. However, at that appointment, he commented that 50% of getting pregnant is a mental process, which resonated with me. I realized what we were doing wasn’t working. I was unhappy at that point because every month, we were planning our sex life around ovulation, putting all this pressure on our relationship, and waiting with bated breath for two weeks after sex for the results. The anticipation was jarring, and the disappointment heartwrenching. So, we said fuck it, fuck it to the whole thing. We ended the IVF talks and stopped “trying” altogether. My plan was to simply be still, eat lots of yummy proteins, rich vegetables, stop working out, and start eating breakfast. I went on long walks and did yoga. My goal was to nurture myself and my well-being.
Four months later, deep into taking care of myself and my mental health, I got pregnant naturally without even trying. I didn’t even realize we were ovulating. It was awesome!
How did it feel finally being pregnant?
Like I said, it happened when we least expected it. We had a beautiful evening one night, simply loving each other with no agenda to “get pregnant.” Then, a few weeks later, I was doing a story for IG Live promoting a local bookstore I grew up going to and started crying uncontrollably. I was like, ‘why is the bookstore triggering me so much?‘
I knew something was up so I ran to take my Modern Fertility pregnancy test after the IG Live. Within seconds it returned a strong line that meant I was pregnant. Hysterical, I bolted downstairs and screamed to my mom that I was pregnant! I couldn’t wait for Davide to get home so I FaceTimed him with the news. It was wild.
Boy or a girl?
It’s funny, in the beginning, I was so focused on all these silly details like the sex of the baby or its astrological sign. I was dying to be a mother of all boys, and didn’t want a Scorpio (like me) or a Gemini. So, of course, I ended up with a Gemini girl! Meanwhile, Davide did want a girl. I think we are both trying to make up for the loss of our parents; a little boy for me to carry on my father’s legacy and Davide, a girl, after losing his mother whom we are are naming our daughter after…Carmella. It’s so Italian.
Best laid plans?
Like the sex and astrological sign, I had “planned” on getting pregnant on my thinner side and in top shape, with all of my botox and laser hair removal, but instead, I got pregnant at my heaviest, with no botox and ALL the hair. While those things sound very shallow, for a modern woman, especially one that works, they’re things we’re used to that make us feel good. But par for the course, this has been yet another lesson in letting go.
In a dream world, it’s at home. I’m trying to see if my doctor will come to my house along with my midwife, but if not, we’ll have her at Huntington Hospital, where I was born. I want to give birth in a very unobstructed way without drugs. Fortunately, I love my midwife and my doctor, whom in particular is young and thoughtful with a very low C-section rate at under 10%. I’m in good hands.
I eat pretty much the same as when I’m not pregnant. My rule is 90% healthy, 10% naughty, and I aim for most of my plate to have nutritional value for me and the baby. I make sure to get protein in every meal, I add hemp hearts to salads, eat lots of healthy fats, greek yogurt for my microbiome, and tons of leafy greens. The 10%, on the other hand, is pizza and ice cream from time to time, just for fun.
I would love to breastfeed and will probably do it for about 3 months. As a working mom, this feels like a realistic goal. If I go longer, that’s great. Ideally, I want her sleep trained by 12 weeks old, sleeping 12 hours a night, and a healthy, chunky baby at 12 pounds.
I can’t really take a full maternity leave with the business. Therefore, I envision an email away message that says, ‘I had a baby, so please be patient,‘ but I will definitely be checking email. I don’t really have a choice. Honestly, I don’t even know who’s going to run our Instagram. Plus, there’s no way that I’m going to stay out of our monthly design meeting. Not because I don’t trust my team to handle it but because I love to be there and involved. Plus, quarantine has taught everyone how to work efficiently from a distance, so maternity leave doesn’t feel that daunting with everyone essentially doing it.
I hope there’ll be a natural shift in everyone’s moral compass, especially related to raising children. I can’t tell you how often I hear someone say, we’re only having two kids because they’re so expensive. I keep thinking, ‘how can you limit the size of your heart because of the size of your bank account?’ Hopefully, this period will allow everyone to embrace a refreshed set of values wherein going to the best college or growing up super-rich is not the end-all-be-all. Instead, those who are quick to pivot and are critical thinkers will prevail. Hopefully, going forward, we don’t value our children or their accomplishments solely on things that require an extreme amount of money or elitism.
I highly recommend this company called Modern Fertility. They offer all the tests for $160 that you would typically pay thousands for with a traditional doctor. After going through my experience, my advice would be to get all your levels checked sooner rather than later so you can make informed decisions for yourself, but then Chill. The. Fuck. Out. Like, for real. Having done this myself, it was a beautiful reminder and self-practice because that’s when she came. She came when I was relaxed and so in love with my husband. Love is the portal from which they want to enter. Lastly, eat right and do all those things, but know that’s how you should be living anyway.