5SR - March 13, 2024

Hitha on fertility, creativity, and marshmallows

A quick refresher - I’m Hitha Palepu, the founder of #5SmartReads. If you’d like to connect with me elsewhere, I’m most active on Instagram and write a weekly newsletter about smart, random things. Looking forward to connecting there!

…or the way men legislate abortion or rule on IVF.

But let’s consider the numbers:

  • In 20% of infertility cases, the male partner is solely responsible.

  • Male infertility is a contributing factor in 30-40% of additional cases

In short - a majority of infertility cases are due to the male partner - and in many cases, that partner is not screened for infertility at all.

Elle Hunt’s brutally honest op-ed is a must-read, and one I would like to send to every person who is legislating reproductive healthcare access from a non-scientific point-of-view.

If only we invested more money in women’s health - and male fertility - research instead of the dangerous legislation passed and enacted into law since the Dobbs ruling.

It’s fairly clear how the perfectionism fallacy has broken today’s women - being told we aren’t good enough, smart enough, or confident enough.

What if we destroy this narrative and offer a new one - for our girls to follow, and for our boys to learn and help normalize?

A global study conducted by Lego showed that the perfectionism problem is a massive one in our girls - 72% of participants admitted that they feel intense pressure to be perfect, and their confidence in their creative ability begins to diminish the older they get (to the point that they aren’t sharing or acting on their creative ideas).

Something I’ve learned from The 5 Resets is the importance of play with no judgement. Dr. Nerurkar encourages the reader to think about the activities that we enjoyed as children and to put together a plan to enjoy them again regularly and with the curiosity and creativity of our early childhood selves.

And it’s not just for ourselves. Giving ourselves this time to play and create openly gives our daughters the permission to do the same, and to normalize creativity and confidence regardless of gender to our sons.

I feel a small flicker of hope whenever I see programs like Rx Kids launch (where every mother in Flint, MI receives $7500 in cash aid over a year).

The outcomes from programs like these on all fronts - public health, economic, poverty reduction, and that they’re simply the right thing to do - will be pivotal in our longstanding fight for paid leave and a robust care economy.

And for critics of programs like these who claim beneficiaries would not return to work because of these programs, there’s data to the contrary. Parents use these funds for child care so they can return to work (in addition to essentials and transportation).

Progress is maddeningly slow and has far too many setbacks. But seeing pilots like Rx Kids pop up over the country and a party committed to investing in paid leave and the care economy gives me some hope.

I want a major publication or social platform to follow authors and other behind-the-camera workers for features like these when their works come out, please and thank you.

Because it is just delightful.

Author Evelyn Skye attended the premiere for the film adaption of her book Damsel, and her excitement and pride in seeing her work come to the screen really jumps off the screen.

It’s just a delight to read, and I’m excited to dig into Skye’s books (my Russian history nerd self is starting with The Crown’s Game).

S'more! S'more! (Business Insider)

“This is the story of the Theranos of marshmallows.”

No commentary needed - just a solid 10 minutes to read this in full (and read it again because it’s just too good).

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