Peanut App's Powerhouse Take on Motherhood Reveals the Invisible

A labor of love is still, literally, labor

Motherhood community app Peanut has released "Invisible Mothers," a campaign design to render the brutality of motherhood more visible. This includes the bruising from IVF injections, mental health issues, pregnancy loss, and postpartum recovery (including the pressure to get your pre-pregnant body back and be sexually active again, mere weeks after having been torn asunder).

"The Weight of Expectations," below, describes this better:

According to Peanut's "State of Invisibility" research, undertaken with over 3,600 U.S.-based women, 99 percent feel society puts pressure on them to "do it all and be it all." 98 percent agree that the invisibility of maternal experiences has an impact on mental health and well-being.

Those are big numbers. More data:

  • 79 percent feel invisible in their motherhood journey
  • 95 percent feel unappreciated, unacknowledged, or unseen
  • 94 percent feel that their identity has been reduced to one thing—mother—since having a child
  • 96 percent feel expected to put themselves last behind families, partners and jobs
  • 51 percent don't feel supported by the healthcare system postnatally
  • 59 percent expected more support from society than they've received

Peanut hopes to offer solutions to this immense sense of solitude. The study includes ways people can better support women who've had children, including asking how they are—mentally, emotionally and physically—instead of only asking how the baby is. The campaign shows six women who've lived, invisibly, through challenges involving mental health, postpartum bodies, IVF, identity loss, pregnancy sickness and work/life balance.

See the campaign images below. We find these more powerful and distressing than the hero video. The shots show bodies in various states of distress, altruism and action. None of the mothers possesses a head, emphasizing the disembodied quality of these states. Invisibility is shown, viscerally, to be the loss of meaningful identity beyond what the body can offer others.

The work was conceived in-house and produced alongside production company The Gate, which led the editing process, "notably the removal of the faces," says VP, brand and communications Hannah Hastings of Peanut. "All of the design work and creative campaign execution was done in-house."

We sat down with Hastings to learn more about the initiative. 

What is this campaign's goal?

Our primary aim with "Invisible Mothers" is to shed light on the silent challenges that women face throughout motherhood's journey. We're striving to cultivate societal awareness and empathy. Our research unmasks raw stories, silent battles and unvoiced frustrations. It sheds light on the everyday experiences that women grapple with. From gender stereotypes and the division of domestic labor to identity shifts and postpartum struggles, we dive into the untold stories that shape their lives.

We believe that through real-life storytelling, frank research and expert voices, we can unmask the invisible realities of women. We hope the campaign brings us closer to a society that values women for who they are, and all they do, and not for the roles they are expected to play. From encouraging simple yet meaningful shifts in our conversations—like prioritizing "How are you, really? Mentally, emotionally and physically?" over "How is the baby?"—to advocating for societal reforms and promoting a balanced distribution of domestic responsibilities and childcare, we believe small changes can have a big impact.

Who is "Invisible Mothers" talking to?

We're addressing society at large. It's vital that this dialogue isn't limited to Peanut’s community or confined to women who might already be aware of these issues, having experienced them first-hand. It's crucial we all understand the immense pressures women endure and the need for better support and recognition throughout every stage of motherhood.

Did any particular personal experiences inform the work?

I noticed that the theme of "invisibility" was consistently very engaged across Peanut’s app and the content on Peanut’s social media channels. To delve deeper and gain a richer understanding, we conducted both qualitative and quantitative surveys with our community.

What, to you, makes it important?

For me, the core of this campaign revolves around ensuring every woman feels seen in her motherhood journey: From trying to conceive through to pregnancy, motherhood and beyond. We want to make the invisible visible.

The campaign imagery is intentionally forceful and evocative. Each faceless portrait embodies the silent struggles and untold stories that remain invisible to society. The photographs depict a group of diverse women with varying experiences, mirroring the rich diversity we see across the Peanut community. From the bruises of IVF injections to the unspoken stories etched in postpartum bodies and c-section scars, these pictures capture areas of womanhood that are often invisible to society. It's a narrative long overdue, and it's imperative that we amplify the reality of this journey and the areas that are contributing to these feelings of invisibility, so we can in turn, better support women.

What makes it creatively unique?

The unique creative element of this campaign is the faceless portraits of the motherhood journey. During our research, there was a scarcity of diverse images showcasing the reality of each motherhood experience: from IVF injections and pregnancy loss to postpartum bodies. When you think about representing this in the format of invisibility, of course there was nothing.

We wanted to be the first to create it, and that’s when "Invisible Mothers" was born. These images don't just encapsulate the mental and emotional facets of women’s journeys, they showcase the physical reality too. Something that is often unseen, until now. 

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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