Jennie Monness, Founder of Mo'Mommies
Jennie Monness began her career in early childhood twelve years ago after receiving her Master’s from Teacher’s college at Columbia University. In 2018, Jennie decided to take a decade worth of knowledge in early childhood education and share her learnings with new parents to educate and empower them through her educational platform Mo’Mommies. Mo’Mommies has since become a daily resource for new moms looking for everything from trusted toy recommendations to parenting tips. Her goal is for moms to connect, support, and empower one another, and to learn to allow their children to play in the most enriching way. Jennie also co-founded Union Square Play to bring these ideas to life.
Jennie shared her journey to motherhood with us, and explained why she decided to open up about her experience with IVF and her surprise natural pregnancy.
Feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of a fertility journey? We asked Dr. Janelle Luk, What Do I Need to Know Before Starting IVF?, spoke to Amanda Warsavsky about Balancing IVF and a Demanding Career, and learned mindfulness tips from Jackie Stewart.
I launched my business on the heels of IVF by sharing my infertility story. It had become so much a part of who I was. It motivated me to start to form a community of women, pregnant, trying to conceive, or already moms, based on my struggles with motherhood… before they even started! After months of privately going through this, I started to realize I was doing myself a disservice by not opening up about it. I was hiding my bruises and shamefully dodging questions about why we weren’t yet pregnant.
Then I got pregnant on my second round of a FET. I wanted to shout from the rooftops but I felt sensitive to the others who were still silently suffering who may feel bad by my announcement. So I waited a bit longer and decided to open up about my journey as I announced my pregnancy. As soon as I talked about it, I realized how much it made me feel better. I no longer mourned the fact that I never got to get the surprise plus sign on a pregnancy stick, or that I never got to envision my husbands cute sperm swimming to my ripe egg and that all of it was, instead, done in an unromantic petri dish.
Once I made the IVF decision, I thought I had it all figured out. I had been an educator to children and mentor to parents for about 10 years and remember the feeling I had when starting the process of even trying to become a mom. I was lost and then when Tess was born, Mo’ Mommies turned into not only a resource and community for moms and moms to be, but also a guide on how to spend time with their children. But it was and is always a real honest look at motherhood and acknowledging that it’s the hardest job in the entire world starting from the moment you decide you want to become a mom. Becoming a mom is no joke and we don’t just need guidance but we need community. I realized how needed community was and so I became almost this ambassador for IVF, and connected with so many incredible women who were going through struggles getting pregnant.
Then… I accidentally got pregnant. I know people may roll their eyes at this, because those that can’t understand what it’s like to truly be told that you can’t get pregnant on your own, don’t understand how you can just accidentally get pregnant. They can’t imagine the idea that your and your husband’s test results indicate that the likelihood of pregnancy without IVF is basically 0. The truth is, I never went back on birth control after having Tess because I didn’t want to go through getting off of it again. It was a hormonal process when I stopped birth control and both my emotions and skin suffered. But somehow, one of my husbands sperm in the millions of sperms that were morphologically corrupt, found its way to my egg at the perfect time and knocked me up.
I woke up nauseous on vacation and was convinced I was getting the flu. SH*T. I have so much work to do, so many events, and don’t have time to be sick. Then Matt asked me when I was expecting my period, and I realized I was late. As soon as we got home, he ran out to get a test, so we could just rule out the impossible. He came back with two tests and kept asking me to take them. Finally after procrastinating, I peed on one. I came back to it 2 minutes later and clear as day, it said PREGNANT. I could. Not. Believe. My, Eyes. I didn’t smile, I wasn’t happy, I was BUGGING THE F OUT. I came out and nervously smiled and said “Matt, i’m pregnant.” I proceeded to cry and walk around with my hand over my mouth saying “OMG OMG OMG” a million thoughts were going through my head. The sad part is that one of the most prominent thoughts I had, was that I now felt like an imposter. How could I just get KNOCKED UP?! Then it dawned on me, as moms, or even before moms, when do we ever feel “right?” Is that just an impossibility? Here I was, experiencing every IVF veteran’s dream and I wasn’t happy. I was feeling badly, torn, upset, and just irrationally guilty.
The truth is, I’ve realized that just because I dodged IVF and those hardships this time around and truly feel like i was given the biggest stroke of luck, it doesn’t change what I went through to get Tess. It also doesn’t change my passion for advocacy in infertility and fighting with all your might for motherhood…which i’m still doing.
To read more about my current protocol, the shots I still have to take and that its hard AF to do this all with a toddler, you can head over to my blog at momommies.com