The Midst, founded by Amy Cuevas Schroeder, is the latest addition to the online media landscape, focusing on midlife women’s health, especially perimenopause and menopause. Cuevas Schroeder, who previously established Venus—a zine spotlighting women in the arts— is now focused on addressing the unique health needs of women in their 40s and 50s.

In our interview, Cuevas Schroeder discusses her shift from Venus to The Midst, underscoring her commitment to empowering women through this new platform. She reflects on the challenges of creating a resource-rich platform for midlife health and shares her vision for The Midst’s future impact. Our conversation also offers insights into the inception of The Midst and its role in shaping the discourse around women’s health in midlife.

The Midst Founder Amy Schroeder Cuevas. Image: The Midst

Amy, you’ve had a significant impact on media with Venus, focusing on women in the arts. What inspired you to transition from the arts to focusing on women’s health, particularly in midlife, with The Midst?

The biggest inspiration for starting The Midst was turning 40, and deciding it was time to disrupt the concept of “over the hill,” which — as a child of the ’80s — is permanently embedded in my brain.

This is such an exciting time for midlife as we know it, and it’s only going to get better. Women now entering midlife, and those of us in the thick of middle age, are saying, “It’s time for change. This ain’t my mom’s midlife.”

Looking back, I learned so much about publishing and building a business during my time at Venus — about what works well, what doesn’t, and how the industry is constantly changing. I started Venus as a naive 19-year-old in my college dorm room, and I essentially came of age with the company, building Venus into an international magazine throughout my twenties and into my 30s, in Chicago. 

After selling Venus in my early 30s to another publisher, I moved to New York and rebuilt my career as an employee, for a mix of established companies like HarperCollins and West Elm to then-startups like Etsy and Minted. Basically, I’ve taken all of the collective learning — how to scale a lean startup, how to craft content strategies with results, how to build a trusted product and brand — and put it into The Midst.

The Midst started as Jumble & Flow, a personal blog about your experiences with perimenopause. How did this personal journey influence the evolution of Jumble & Flow into The Midst?

I started Jumble & Flow as a wee personal blog in 2019 to document my “adventures in perimenopause” — meaning, my struggles to get a diagnosis and find a doctor who could help fix my night sweats, weight gain, and insomnia. I largely kept Jumble & Flow under wraps, because I felt like I was “outing myself” in a judgmental world — especially because I worked in tech and coworkers didn’t know my age. When I started sharing the perimenopause stories on my personal social media, women encouraged me to keep going; they also volunteered to share their own stories, and that’s how we grew organically.

After a year of writing on Jumble & Flow, I found a women’s hormone health specialist at Northwestern Medical in Chicago, where I lived at the time. They were great and I finally felt heard. But it was just the beginning of figuring out how to help my symptoms. 

The meaning of Jumble & Flow was about owning your jumbles and finding your flow. We decided to change our name to The Midst to more immediately communicate midlife empowerment. We started with The Midst Substack in 2023 and launched on January 23, 2024.

Can you share more about the unique challenges and opportunities you faced in creating a platform that addresses perimenopause and women’s health in their 40s and 50s?

There are many opportunities to build a brand in the midlife and menopause empowerment space because there’s still a significant lack of general awareness about how women’s hormone changes affect our health and wellbeing. The medical community is also figuring it out. To me, this is an exciting entrepreneurial, grassroots historical period in time, and the emergence of women’s health startups working on solutions is just the beginning of a brighter future. 

Also, someday medical schools will have more clarity about how to treat menopause symptoms and how they affect our day-to-day wellbeing. Right now, med schools don’t spend much time on menopause.

Thankfully, menopause is having a moment right now and Time even said it’s becoming mainstream. As a perimenopausal woman whose life has been shaken up by it — in good and not-so-good ways — I’ll take whatever we can get. 

With over 1 billion women expected to experience perimenopause by 2025, what role do you see The Midst playing in providing resources and support for this demographic?

The Midst is a collective of women on a mission to reinvent the old ways of doing midlife. We’re not medical experts — not yet, anyway. We’re journalists, creatives, community builders. We’re on a quest to answer an ever-growing list of questions like: 

How can we help other women create or update their version of happiness in the midlife, on their terms?

What are the best ways to care for ourselves now so that we can live longer, fulfilling lives? 

How can we work with innovators and women’s health leaders to surface new research and information?

In answering these questions, we’re in the midst of building a vast amount of content and resources about the midlife experience as it relates to health and wellness, hormone health, beauty, careers and relationships, creativity, and personal development. 

Our speciality is what I call “empathetic service journalism” — our writers are largely women in their 40s and 50s sharing their own experiences in perimenopause and other health topics, backed by expert research and interviews. We’re building a program to review products and services that benefit women in midlife. Coming soon we’ll develop a database of menopause health specialists, and specifics about their philosophies and approach to treatment. 

Right now we’re focused on content — our team of perimenopausal women are reporting on their experiences with menopause telehealth platforms, hormone treatment programs, and private practices. Imagine ZocDoc or WebMd meets Wirecutter — for menopausal healthcare. And with honest, human stories intertwined.

You have a rich background in media and a personal connection to the subject matter. How have these experiences shaped the editorial direction and content strategy of The Midst? What are some of the key messages or insights you hope readers will take away from The Midst?

After being in perimenopause for five years, trying several rounds of hormone replacement therapy, and going through the ringer in my previous day-job career in tech while raising children and building The Midst on the side, I think I epitomize the modern midlife experience. But so do many other women, and that’s one of the main points of The Midst. We midlife women have similarities and we have differences, but together we’re reinventing middle age. Gen X is leading the way, and aging Millennials are right there with us, if not forging a new path.

One of The Midst’s key messages is this: As far as we know, there’s no one silver bullet to treating all of the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. It might take a mix of health treatments, exercise, diet and lifestyle updates, etc. Every woman is unique, so a one-size-fits-all approach probably won’t work. But! The good news is that the health community is working on treatment options and we definitely have information now that informs the overall approach.

Also, women in their 40s and 50s are among the most powerful demographics, even if we’re often cast off as “getting old.” At this stage, many of us are at the height of our careers, running or hopefully co-running households, raising the next generation, and making key buying decisions. We’re evolving, we’re not giving up, and we’re working together to become a force multiplier.

I can’t share too much about our content strategy, but I will say this: We are a new breed of multiple caps–wearing producers.

Finally, looking forward, what are your aspirations for The Midst, and how do you envision it evolving to meet the changing needs and interests of its audience?

Dare I say that I’m building the AARP for women in their 40s and 50s, with a health bent? I envision a strong network of women, supporting each other through this challenging and incredible stage of life. The extensions of this could be endless.

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