Ritual in Bloom: Nina Faulhaber

Erin Berman

Superbloom Contributor
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Welcome to #RitualInBloom. A space where our community shares wellness rituals that help us connect with our bodies—because many of us here at Superbloom can’t “self-care” away our chronic conditions.

We chatted with Nina about her passions for doing good and creating good, what she’s working on as Founder of ADAY, and her health and fertility journey. Nina candidly shares the ups and downs of her journey towards motherhood and what she wished she knew or had thought about sooner. 

Where do you live and how do you describe yourself to others—not just what you are doing but who you are working on “being”?

I live in Los Angeles as of this year, although New York, where I lived the past 6 years, is still ingrained in me. I lived in London before, did stints in Singapore and Montreal, and grew up in Germany.

I deeply care about the people around me, connection, kindness, and our planet. I love to grow. I believe in the pursuit of freedom, abundance, joy and living to our fullest potential. I like to dance. I don’t have it all figured out – or anything for that matter. I’m working on ADAY where we design better clothing so you can experience / see / do / travel / pursue / live more with fewer items in your wardrobe or carry-on. I’m passionate about building things and chasing a common mission together.

I try to work on becoming better, kinder, more balanced and more calm every day – sometimes successfully, often I fail, certainly an eternal pursuit. I want to be an amazing partner, daughter, friend, family member and sister. I’m about to be a mom and can’t wait to experience the growth that will evidently come with this.

How do you connect to your body?

This was such a piece of cake pre-pandemic – at least so it seems in hindsight! I had my habits from Y7 yoga classes to Equinox workouts plus peaceful morning meditations and journaling at my sundrenched apartment in TriBeCa. Like for so many, my habits went out of the window with all the changes 2020 brought along.

The beauty of Los Angeles are the hikes that are everywhere: and they are that have truly become my connection with myself and with nature. Recently diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (a type of diabetes that occurs in pregnancy), I was kicked in the butt to again regularly incorporate exercise into my days more. It’s not like I didn’t do anything before… but I needed the push to really reconnect.

What’s your favorite mode of expression? How does working in a creative industry as founder of ADAY play into your day to day life?

Starting a company is really all-encompassing – at least for me! So my favorite modes of creative expressions and ADAY intersect very closely and are often one and the same.

On the design side, we get to create products from scratch by tackling the wardrobe problems we face in our daily lives, dreaming up briefs that are inspired by our expectations for the future and working with inspiration from the past to create that very future. These creative processes are ultimately aimed at creating products that are fundamentally better: well-designed, versatile, functional, longer-lasting, flattering, comfy, easy-care and made with sustainability in mind. I’m so passionate about this and love creating something from nothing.

On the brand side, I feel super passionate about the nuanced story of consuming “better”: more thoughtfully and more consciously. Our launch stories often explore creative ways of what “better” means: often it’s fabrics but it can also be the idea of living better: traveling more mindfully or pursuing work, passions and social missions. We get to work with amazing creatives and people from all walks of life – that in itself gets my creative juices flowing.

I also love that the idea “better” is inherently creative: improving yourself, products or the world around you means creating new connections, processes, ideas or things. This is a never-ending pursuit for me.

What are your wellness rituals? 

Body: hikes, workout classes. Hopefully running again post-pregnancy.

Mind: music, journal, write, journal, draw, meditate.

Everything: connection and community.

How has your health experience and understanding of your body changed over the years?

I think I always took my health for granted but coming out of a pandemic and experiencing people suffer – physically, mentally, has shifted this. My godfather passed away last year and whilst he wasn’t the first important person in my life leaving us, it was a huge reminder for me of how impermanent our bodies are, how fragile life is, how really only our souls outlive everything. So I cherish all of the above so much and I’m so grateful for the body I have.

Besides, my pregnancy is teaching me leaps and bounds. I’m 7 months in and the shifts are just so interesting. Our bodies are such powerful engines. They create life. During pregnancy, health, especially, gets a totally new meaning as now it’s not about myself anymore: it’s about another human.

Can you share more about your fertility struggle? How did that experience impact your physical and emotional wellbeing? (and happy pregnancy!)

In late 2019, my Ob-Gyn shared with me that I had a worryingly low AMH (Anti Mullerian Hormone) value for a 31/32-year old woman, which is a proxy for a very low egg count. I also have a “Diminished Ovarian Reserve” and had quite likely an early menopause ahead of me. It caught me off guard. But really it shouldn’t have: a few years prior I went to see a fertility specialist at Weill-Cornell as I hadn’t gotten my period in a few years. He had mentioned a lot of the above but I think I was too young to actively listen as kids were not on my horizon at all.

So I embarked on an egg freezing journey: researching, calculating, preparing, evaluating clinics, trying to understand insurance options (basically non-existent) and comparing the US with Germany. I ended up planning multiple rounds with Kindbody in NYC and started my first in early 2020. I got 3 eggs. In egg freezing and IVF terms, 3 eggs is a terrible number. For reference, 15-20 eggs give you a 85%+ probability of a baby actually being born. Needless to say, the journey, although as expected given my values, was emotionally exhausting. At every visit, I found myself staring at my ovaries hoping another egg would appear and cry when none did. The doctors and nurses were amazing though and I felt so supported and safe throughout the journey. I was about to start my second round but then the pandemic hit.

But this is really where life led me on a different path: for my heart and soul, the pandemic turned out to be a blessing in disguise. My now fiancé and I had been doing long-distance New York and Los Angeles for a few months and when the pandemic hit, we got to spend for the first time ever more than a week at a time together. If 2020 wasn’t what it was, we would have never left our beautiful ADAY office at W Broadway in New York and gone fully distributed. But here we are: our team is everywhere from Texas to Minnesota and most definitely on zoom – and I moved to Los Angeles. Fast forward to early 2021 and Menooa and I are expecting a baby in September – against the odds, conceived naturally.

What advice would you give to other women facing the same thing?

I wish I had tried to understand my body and my fertility a little earlier e.g. in my late twenties. I think most people are totally fine. And I don’t think every woman needs to freeze her eggs – quite the opposite. I just feel like everyone is different and it’s smart to learn about our bodies early on. To the extent science can identify any issues, we might as well address them. If I had known about my fertility earlier on, my egg freezing would have certainly been less stressful and more “successful”.

That being said, the other piece of advice I have now (in hindsight!) is: science is not everything. Nature can surprise us in magical ways – like it did for us!

You were vocal about your fertility journey on social media – that took courage. Can you tell us about that choice to be vulnerable with your community?

I was simply shocked that I had no idea about what’s going on with women’s bodies, and specifically my own body until my early thirties.  In my twenties, I spent *a lot* of time trying to plan my career, find my purpose and optimize my mind. I spent basically zero time understanding my body – just sort of relying on it working. So now I’m a huge proponent of women speaking to other women about their journeys, experiences and learnings so younger women can start thinking about fertility earlier – and make informed decisions.

If you had to choose one wellness ritual that has changed your life, what would it be?

Mindfulness techniques.

What’s the wellness advice you would give to your younger self?

Explore, do what makes you happy, prepare, trust.

Erin Berman

Superbloom Contributor
Erin is a Forbes-recognized storyteller, writer, womxn’s wellness advocate and founder of Superbloom where she builds products to empower individuals to find support and solutions for better health. She is a certified yoga instructor and passionate about mindfulness, nutrition and community.
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