Pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman’s life; but not all women experience the text book pregnancy that you see in those reality television shows or read in books.
Some women, particularly those pregnant for the first time, find it difficult to sleep with a growing belly; others experience discomfort when doing things they once found so simple.
For Felisha Crier-Hosein formerly Rahaman, bending was a challenge in the third trimester of her first pregnancy with her daughter Jenzenya.
“She was getting really low in the tummy and it was really difficult for me to do some chores and especially to bend down,” Crier-Hosein said.
“My husband had to help me. At one point it was so painful that I felt to cry.”
Crier-Hosein did what any typical modern woman would do in her situation — she googled ‘maternity underwear’ but could find none that she fancied.
“I wanted an underwear that I could put on easily while lying down or sitting. I just didn’t want to have to bend,” said the Canada-born Crier-Hosein who was born to a Trinidadian father and was educated at Asja Girls’ College, San Fernando as a girl.
She grabbed an old T-shirt and began to sew her dream underwear. Looking back at it now she admits that it was “the ugliest thing I ever seen!
“Women would not have worn that.”
Crier-Hosein didn’t stop there. She went out and got better fabric and sat down at a machine and sewed 25 of her maternity underwear with plans of selling them. Still, the vision she had was not being transferred to the fabric in her hand.
Buoyed by stories of other pregnant women, who experienced similar discomfort upon bending, Crier Hosein went at it again. The third time proved to be the charm and PregZen was born. Zen is short for her daughter’s name.
The maternity underwear she created is much like a disposable diaper (albeit less bulky) in that it fits between the legs and with adjustable bra-like hooks at the side. The underwear is made of a nylon and spandex fabric and Crier-Hosein also thought ahead to the post pregnancy mother by including a belly band which which give support to the new mother.
For the pregnant woman it also helps to ease back pains and can be worn by women who are size small to extra extra large.
PregZen is not yet available in stores but Crier-Hosein has posted her project on the Kickstarter.com website to raise funds to mass produce it. She would need about $20,000 initially, which would go towards patenting her product.
So far she is almost at the $2000 US mark and with 28 days to raise the rest.
“I am really hoping the exposure will help me to reach my goal.”
The Miami based married mother of two, Crier-Hosein believes that her product would be successful, especially considering the source of which it came.
“I have always prayed to God for a way to give back and He was the one who gave me the idea,” she said.
“It was something I dreamt about and wrote about for three years.”
Crier-Hosein said as soon as the idea was birthed, the right people were sent to make her dream a reality.
“I remember one day walking along Southbeach with my husband and baby and a family began taking photos of us. Our daughter was in on of those Baby K’Tan carriers and the family turned out to be related to Michal Chesal, the woman who co-created Baby K’Tan who was also based in Florida.”
At the time, the idea of PregZen was still swimming in Crier-Hosein’s head and she saw this meeting as a sign that it was time to make her idea public.
Crier-Hosein eventually got in touch with Chesal and said she has learned a lot from the business woman, who developed Baby K’Tan with her husband Isaac.
“She is like my mentor,” Crier-Hosein said.
A native American from the Cree tribe, Crier-Hosein said support also came from her band.
“They have done so much for me that one day I want to give back to them.
“If you ever see the reserves in Canada you’d realise there is need for healing. There are gangs, alcoholism. “PregZen is to help pregnant women out there but it is not about making a whole lot of money and living rich.
“I always pray to God that I would get the chance to do some charity work — even in the reserves — that’s really my passion.”
When Crier-Hosein started out her business her first challenge was fear. Now she has another challenge — pride.
“One of the biggest challenges for me has been putting PregZen on Kickstarter since it involves asking for money to fund the project.
“I don’t like asking people for anything and Kickstarter is so public. It has been a humbling experience for me because I have to drive people to check out my campaign.”
Currently in Trinidad on vacation with her family, Crier-Hosein is hoping that by November/December she would have raised enough funds to have her product in hand, packaged and ready to go.
So far the interest in the PregZen has been encouraging, she said.
“I plan to sell it online.
“I want to start out small because small is manageable.”