Behind The Scenes

22-03-2019

Behind The Scenes With Miki Agrawal

"Being a mom [is] the most natural thing in the world, the most beautiful, the most divine, like we hold the power of humanity right here in our womb. That we're still considered a second class citizen, I mean, that's unbelievable to me.”

Miki Agrawal loves confronting what other people would generally consider “not polite” cocktail conversation. She’s built an empire going there. Her personal website contains headings like Miki Bleeds, and Miki Poops, she’s written one book called Do Cool Shit, co-founded THINX, period-proof underwear, wrote another book called DIRSUPT-HER, recently founded an at-home bidet business, TUSHY and successfully launched a pizza concept called WILD that continues to thrive today. 

Her personal life is just as colorful. A self-proclaimed ‘Wall Street dropout’, Miki is a mom to son Hiro, a Cornell graduate, a wife, an entrepreneur, an identical twin and a builder of community. 

Talking with Miki made us laugh, think, get fired up, self-reflect and feel totally inspired – sometimes all at the same time. Her rawness and disruptive spirit left us wanting to spend all afternoon picking her brain…and we basically did.

RULE BREAKER

If you haven’t guessed yet, Miki is a little bit of a rule breaker. She is shattering social norms one milestone at a time. 

“It starts as soon as conception, right? Where you’re like ‘Don’t tell anyone until it’s three months in the first trimester.’ The minute I found out I was like four weeks, I told everyone. I was like, ‘I’m pregnant!’”

Miki feels the whole point of building a community is to provide support to one another through good times, and bad. 

“Not to tell your friends that you’re going through something … if you have a miscarriage in the first three months, I would want my friends to be there for me and bring me ice cream…and make me feel love and make me feel okay and not feel shame around it.”

All these rules – how to behave, how to parent, what our bodies should return to, when we should go back to work, how long to breastfeed – are confines and boundaries that Miki believes moms should step out of and break from.

“I wrote a book called DISRUPT-HER, and the idea is to disrupt all the societal preconceptions that are having a choke hold on us in every area of our life. Being a mom [is] the most natural thing in the world, the most beautiful, the most divine, like we hold the power of humanity right here in our womb. That we’re still considered a second class citizen, I mean, that’s unbelievable to me.”

SAY NO TO ASSHOLES

We’ve all encountered an overbearing, aggressive male. The guy who talks over you, the guy who wants to make all the decisions in the relationship. Miki’s advice? Ditch them.

“My entire ask of women, of mothers and people, is to not choose aggressive men, not choose aggressive partners.”

It may sound far out, but Miki points to the endangered Bonobo primate as an example of females creating a better future for their offspring. 

“The Bonobo offers a matriarchy. And every time there’s an aggressive male Bonobo who tries to get the female Bonobo, all the female Bonobo’s come together and shun that male away. And that aggressive male dies a lonely, miserable death by himself and in one generation, turns an otherwise aggressive society into a kind, gentle, loving one.”

“And so as women if we said no to the assholes, to the misogynist, to the abusive types, which by the way, we are so deeply stuck in the patriarchal conditioning of as well…If we said, ‘no’ to all of those aggressive types and said ‘yes’ to the kind, gentle loving men, society will completely change.”

If all of us women and mothers remember the power we hold, Miki affirms “everything changes.”

FIRST YEAR NORMS

Sometimes we hear from moms that their SO won’t change diapers. With Miki we got the complete opposite.

“I mean when Hiro was born I didn’t change a diaper for almost a year. My husband changed every single diaper…I mean no, I feel like that’s not true.. But in between maybe it was like one or two here and there that I changed.”

Here’s how she saw it when it came to new motherhood and her responsibilities:

“I’m like, ‘I gave birth to the baby, I’m breastfeeding the baby, you change diapers…you take care of our household while I am healing. I had a C-section. While I’m breastfeeding you have to take charge of all the other things.’  And he was like, ‘Yes!’”

Miki says she is continually awed by the strength of other mothers she meets, especially those who may not have the support system that she has with her husband, and nanny.

“I remember meeting a nurse who was a single mother of three kids, she gave birth and, after a C-section, carried her newborn baby up four flights of steps to her walk up. It is crazy the thought of that. Women are so powerful. We all are so powerful. We forget how powerful we are.”

During Hiro’s first year, Miki managed to write a book and develop her latest brand, TUSHY, a modern bidet that clips onto your toilet. Needless to say, her plate was full which sometimes leads to the creep of mom guilt.

You’re not spending the time with your kid. You’re not this, you’re not that, shame-shame. It’s more shaming.” 

Miki shares that while it was important to be with Hiro for all those early milestones, she frees herself from the social expectations of feeling guilt by working on projects away from him and lets him grow as his own person.

“I watched him turn around, I watched him grab something for the first time, I watched him take his first cry. I watched him take his first step. I watched him do everything in the beginning for the first year and change. And now he’s his own person. He goes to the library, goes to the park, he’s busy.”

PRIORITIES

In a culture where working moms are sometimes pressured to be at the top of their game in every arena, Miki says it’s ok to refocus your priorities.

“I found my priority shift for the first year and a half of my baby’s birth. I wanted nothing except to really be mostly a mom. Yes, I wrote my book and yes, I did it while he was sleeping and I was working on TUSHY and things like that. But it was at the level in which I changed, my priorities changed.”

Miki shares that it’s natural to constantly change and evolve as both women and moms – and that being honest with ourselves about what our priorities are is key.

In our short visit to the land of Miki, we got dating advice to share with our girlfriends, found commonality on being guilt-free, talked the staggering stats on women’s maternal health (and what we can do about it) and considered buying a bidet (why are we wiping?!). Our interview with Miki was just as colorful as her home, the many projects she’s involved in and her inspired view on the world and how to make it better. 

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Christy Turlington

“I like to say that I became a global maternal health advocate the day I became a mom.”

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Mara Martin

“I literally thought it was going to be this picture perfect scenario. Like these pictures I see – even in my childhood – of like, all of us in the hospital bed, smiling.”

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Rebecca Minkoff

"Evolution. I went from a singular focus to a mother, and that opened up the 4th dimension for me of senses and love and seeing my heart outside my body."