Relationships

Michelle Kennedy Knows How Lonely Motherhood Can Be

The former Director of Bumble used her algorithm expertise to launch an app that helps mothers make new friends – and it already has 500,000 users. Future Women meets her.

By Kate Leaver

Relationships

The former Director of Bumble used her algorithm expertise to launch an app that helps mothers make new friends – and it already has 500,000 users. Future Women meets her.

By Kate Leaver

When Michelle Kennedy had her first son, she quickly realised how isolating motherhood can be. She was the first in her group of girlfriends to get pregnant; she had an older husband who wanted to get going on fatherhood. So while she was breastfeeding her tiny son, Fin, at 3am, she’d scroll through Instagram photos of her friends dancing at a club and ache with FOMO. There was this wrenching disconnect between her new reality and her old self. She felt more alone than she ever had. Michelle knew that she needed to make friends with other mothers and be in the company of women who knew exactly the exhausting realities of keeping a small child alive.

In the queue at Starbucks in London one day, Michelle started chatting to another mother waiting for her morning caffeine fix. There was an easy chemistry as they swapped breastfeeding tips and laughed about what it was like to be a mother. Her husband and son were just a few metres away. “We should swap numbers and catch up some time,” Michelle said to her new acquaintance, hoping to recruit her first mum friend. “No, thank you,” the woman replied. “I’ve already got enough friends and I’m very busy.” Michelle was crestfallen, her confidence to chat to other women crushed. She swore to her husband, moments later, that she’d never speak to another stranger again like that in her life.

You’ve hit the glass ceiling. And our paywall.

Help us smash it by becoming a Future Woman for as little as $4 a month.

Join the club

Already a member? Sign in