Imago, Infertility and 50/50 Parenting

“[The fertility struggle] was hard for us both, but it was hard for us together. We were able to kind of knit our relationship, and knit our sorrow and our eventual success into something that made us stronger.”

Tracy Candido and Karina Mangu-Ward are both very driven women with Type A personalities who bring intention to everything they do. So when they were struggling to get pregnant and came to realize that Tracy had unexplained infertility, the couple had to develop new skills around patience and asking for help. In Karina’s words, they had to loosen their grip on what they could manage and control and be ‘at peace in the chaos.’

The fertility struggle was a lesson in persistence and resilience. And at the end of the day, it brought Tracy and Karina closer.

Today Tracy and Karina share the story of their difficult parenting journey, explaining how it affected their relationship as well as their work lives. Tracy discusses the source of the partners’ intentionality and how they designed their own parenting model—without heteronormative standards to rely on. Tracy and Karina speak to the Imago communication style and how it helped them navigate a difficult period early in their fertility journey. I ask them about their 50/50 approach to parenting and their experiences with parental leave. Listen in for Tracy and Karina’s insight around returning to work and owning their roles as new moms.

The Startup Pregnant Podcast Episode #032 

Some quotes from the episode

Tracy Candido

  • “[The struggle to get pregnant] was a real lesson in persistence and resilience, and it was a testament to our relationship.”
  • “Lucky people make their own luck.”
  • “Just being able to have a structure in place where we can communicate effectively—even with difficult, dark, emotional stuff—I think it’s really helped us.”
  • “I wasn’t interested in perpetuating that same outdated model of the mother doing 75% of the work just literally because they’re the body.”
  • “Our roles as mothers don’t conflict. They’re complimentary. I love the fact that my kid has two moms. Who wouldn’t want two moms? I think that’s amazing.”
  • “Not being able to have full access to my brain is incredibly frustrating because I used to be ten steps ahead, and now I’m at zero, maybe one step behind.”

Karina Mangu-Ward

  • “We bring intention to everything that we do … and I think the biggest impact of this on me was that as much intention and will and attempts at control that we brought to this process of trying to become parents—it didn’t matter. We couldn’t control it.”
  • “In the rest of my life, and certainly in my career, I am trying to loosen my grip on attempting to manage and control everything, and trying to stay more aware of what are actually the things that are outside of my control and what are the things where I’m working within a larger system.”
  • “[The fertility struggle] was hard for us both, but it was hard for us together. We were able to kind of knit our relationship, and knit our sorrow and our eventual success into something that made us stronger.”
  • “Tracy and I were really committed … [to] being 50/50 parents. Trying to figure out how that actually manifests when there’s a baby in the room and you have to take care of it—it came down initially to quite a logistical conversation: What are you going to handle, and what am I going to handle?”


Tracy Candido is the Director of Programs and Events at Lower Manhattan HQ, a new collaboration space in the heart of downtown NYC. She curates public programs for the creative business community, promoting LMHQ as a thought leader in the conversation about the future of work. Tracy is also the founder of Lady Boss, a platform for professional growth for women in creative industries.

Karina Mangu-Ward is a consultant and facilitator with a passion for coaching teams through organizational transformation. In her current role with August Public, Karina works with Fortune 100 corporations to nurture more creative, self-managing and productive teams. Prior to her work with August, Karina was a documentary filmmaker and Lead Process Facilitator with EmcArts.




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