9 Times Jeannie Mai Got Refreshingly Real About Motherhood
Jeannie Mai spent decades of her adult life convinced that she didn’t want to have kids, but after meeting and building a life with her husband, Jeezy, her mindset shifted. At 43 years old, she welcomed her first child, a daughter named Monaco, and she’s been extremely open about her journey with motherhood ever since.
The Real co-host has explained that some difficult childhood trauma she endured had her convinced that she wouldn’t ever want children, but after having Monaco, Mai sees motherhood as a second chance to experience childhood while taking measures to ensure her daughter’s is the happiest, healthiest, and safest it can be.
“As a child, when you are taken from things that feel good and whole and safe, it’s hard to see anything as trustworthy moving forward,” the TV host said in a video on her YouTube channel. She added, “I’ve been through so much, and I’ve survived and I’m shining. My heart is ready. I was meant to be a mom.”
Months after her daughter arrived in the world, Mai wrote in an emotional Instagram post, “Nobody told me it was going to be like THIS. This one little person could rewind time, reboot all my emotions, and help me learn what I need to unlearn??”
For more refreshingly real tidbits about her experience with motherhood, including how little Monaco has helped her mama heal those emotional wounds, scroll on.
Celebrating Her Daughter & New Life as a Mother
In celebration of Monaco’s first birthday, Mai wrote on Instagram, “One year ago, you made me a mom..and girl you’ve transformed my life. You got me cursing less, doing laundry more, and gave me new followers from our content 😂You’re the best,” she joked, adding, “We adore you our precious Monaco Mai Jenkins ❤️.”
On Realizing She Was Ready For Motherhood
Mai has been open about being sexually abused as a child, and that trauma convinced her she didn’t want kids of her own for a long time. However, in a video on her YouTube channel, The Real co-host explained the shift in her mindset.
“As a child, when you are taken from things that feel good and whole and safe, it’s hard to see anything as trustworthy moving forward,” she said. “I realize that the reason I didn’t want to have kids is because that feeling when I was a kid was so real and so damaging to the point that I’m 42 today still dealing with trust issues and confidence.”
Mai continued, “It still scares me whether or not I can keep a kid safe from someone else who might hurt them.” But thanks to her husband making her feel safe and comfortable in their relationship, she shared, “I’m so thankful because I’ve never felt this ready. I’ve been through so much, and I’ve survived and I’m shining. My heart is ready. I was meant to be a mom.”
Healing Through Her Child
In an emotional Instagram post featuring photos of herself and her daughter, Mai wrote, “Nobody told me it was going to be like THIS. This one little person could rewind time, reboot all my emotions, and help me learn what I need to unlearn??”
She asked, “Are kids chances to heal from our own childhood? feels like olddd deep wounds finally getting treated. God im always crying i can’t take it I needed u @monacomaijenkins.”
A Whole New World
The TV host opened up to PEOPLE in December 2022 about her experience with motherhood, sharing, “It is hard work, but I love every part of it.” She added, “And it doesn’t feel like work. … Having Monaco made me feel like I’ve been born again. It sounds so overly spiritual and almost religious. But no, I just mean that, like, I see through different eyes.”
Mai continued, “My ears hear different sounds. My heart beats to a different melody. I’m just so amazed at how a little person could make you feel so good about yourself and so hopeful about life. … That little person has completely awakened me to seeing the world a whole different way,” she said.
“And the crazy thing is, my daughter gives me so much confidence.” The How Do I Look? star explained, “I like myself more as a mom. I like myself more getting up and taking care of somebody else and tending to her and watching her actually register things that we’ve worked so hard to teach her. I can’t believe, like, that’s such an accomplishment. I didn’t realize that,” Mai admitted.
Teaching Through Her Own Learned Wisdom
“You realize how much you went through as a child as an adult because you’re either healing from those things or you’re reworking or relearning or unlearning things that you went through as a child,” Mai told PEOPLE in 2022. “You get to do it all over again when you have a baby. That’s the crazy part.”
She added, “I love my parents and I love my family. They did the best with what they know, but now I know more. I actually have more tools to equip this little girl to be the healthiest and the most peaceful-minded she can be because of what I’ve learned that allows me to live my childhood again. And that is life-saving.”
It Truly Does Take a Village
During a November 2022 interview with PEOPLE, Mai spoke on the age-old “It takes a village” saying. She said, “I used to be, well, I still am a boss, I can get it done by myself, but I ain’t that bossy by myself as a mom, I need help.”
The Real host explained, “I need my mom giving me advice, I need all the other moms around this area to tell me what you do with a 10-month-old. Every other week there’s some new thing that comes up with her that I got to ask and check about and I call, I listen to my friends and my pediatrician before I listen to the internet or Google,” she shared. “So, I’ve learned that you really need that village.”
On Postpartum Anxiety
“The new mom anxiety is real and I wasn’t prepared for the hit of it,” Mai said in a conversation with PEOPLE. “Here I am going through postpartum with worries, with heart palpitations, with an inability to sleep, and I was like, ‘I’m not depressed; I’m actually super stoked and happy, but I’m worried and really anxious and fidgety,’ and I didn’t know what it was,” she recalled.
The TV host explained that once she was able to identify the inner turmoil as postpartum anxiety, she began to cope with the emotions better. Mai shared, “Now that I know what it is, I still get anxiety attacks, but I’m aware that it’s just a phase.”
The Ups & Downs of Breastfeeding
Mai wrote about her breastfeeding journey at length in an Instagram post, calling out both the high and low moments she experienced along the way. “Been tackling this breastfeeding thing for two months,” she began. “Listening to a lactation nurse, reading advice online, and getting so much help from other moms (🙏).”
She continued, “Hands down, it’s been the most difficult part of this entire mom journey. I already HEARD it was gonna be, but I never imagined this. For me, it’s was even more difficult than giving birth 😳,” Mai revealed.
“I had to catch myself because it actually got to my mental, and things started to feel dark,” she shared. “Comparing myself to other moms, frustrated from the ups and down of pumping an ounce one day, nothing the next … and this is ON TOP of all the anxiety this journey can bring.”
She closed with a nod to moms everywhere, including herself: “I have more respect for moms than ever in my life. And I have to remember me included 🥴✨🥇Hugs to every mom out there❤️”
On Mom Guilt
Mai opened up about mom guilt in a January 2023 Instagram post, sharing that she always felt like she was good at being present, but after having a child, she now has a different perspective on what being present actually means.
She wrote, “As a working mom, there are many times where I gotta tune out…And coming back, I feel the guilt every time I do. Monaco is teaching me what being ‘in the moment’ really means and how I can improve my human connection with everyone.” Mai added, “This experiment also taught me how I can make up the time with Monaco when mommy has to step away. Hope this helps Mommies out there.”
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