25 years ago, Rania Badreldin started Mother & Child Magazine after discovering her passion for helping others through information through her own childbirth experience. Now, this CEO, Happiness Consultant, NLP/Hypnosis master, mother of three and recent grandmother of one speaks to us about motherhood, media and empowerment!
Tell us about how the magazine started. When did you first get the idea to launch a magazine for mothers and children?
I was 21, married, pregnant and still in my last year at university! That’s not at all what I had originally planned for myself, but then again, I also hadn’t planned on meeting the right guy when I was 18 and happily adapting my choices accordingly.
Finding out I was pregnant was a scary thought. I was unprepared and there was a lack of information and support (this was all the way back in 1991). I stocked up on books and thankfully managed to stumble upon wonderful antenatal classes that made all the difference.
I didn’t realize then that this experience would spark my passion to help others through information, as information had helped me. I found myself talking incessantly about pregnancy and birth, sharing my new-found knowledge with others, and even writing about it in Egypt’s leading English-language publication at the time. But I felt I needed to do more. That’s when the idea of creating a magazine to support mothers along this challenging and beautiful journey of motherhood first popped into my head.
That was 25 years ago, have you faced any pushback from your family? Would you say they wanted you to pursue a more “traditional” career?
Absolutely not. My family are far too cool! Both my upbringing and my education encouraged free thought and choice, and my husband has always supported my dreams and goals.
What were the greatest obstacles you faced when the magazine was first starting out?
Well, for starters I didn’t know the first thing about how to go about publishing a magazine, so I had to do some fast learning! My business degree from the AUC helped with the business side of things and I managed to get a good team on board quite quickly.
The next obstacle was getting the advertising revenue we needed. This took an incredible amount of leg work and a great deal of rejection.
When you started the magazine, how did you intend on helping women through it? Would you say you have accomplished what you set out to do?
My heart was in creating trusted content that would positively impact the lives of our readers, so we focused on quality and accuracy, while making sure that all our content was original and tailored to the needs of our specific audience. Yes, I’m very proud of our success in accomplishing this!
How do you believe women in the media can support each other, as well as other women in the community?
I believe we can take the time to hear each other’s stories and celebrate and share them. There is so much beauty in each one of us and even greater beauty when we collaborate and support each other.
What do you have planned for Mother and Child Magazine’s future?
This is our 25th anniversary year, and we’re excited to be launching our new, information-packed online courses soon!
As a social enterprise we have expanded our work and increased our impact exponentially by creating The Family Experts network two years ago. The network now collaborates with UNICEF and various government entities on national campaigns, policies and initiatives, offering technical consultations, training, content development and advocacy.
Most Egyptian women have had to answer the question “Hanefra7 Biki Emta” before in reference to marriage, despite any accomplishments they may have already made, what would you say in response to that question?
I never actually got the chance to hear that question, since I got married so young! But my response would be to invite the person to be happy for me right NOW, right then and there, because I am doing what makes ME happy; following what excites me and being true to myself whatever that means, and whether it includes marriage or it doesn’t.