Meet Jovanna! Mama of two sweet boys, photographer, counselor, cook and wise mother and wife. We love learning from this mama and feel blessed to highlight her on our blog.
Tell us a little bit about you
Hello mamas, I am Jovanna, married to Aaron for 5 years and a momma of two precious boys, Jude & Micaiah. I was born and raised in San Diego, CA and I am a stay-at-home momma - passionate about photography, counseling, and simple living.
You just gave birth recently and now have two kids! How is it going? How has the adjustment been?
I have loved every bit of it! I remember the anxiety and fears I had (before my husband returned to work) wondering how I would manage two children at once. Sure enough, it was chaotic at first! One would take a nap and then the other would wake up while I'm potty training, cleaning up blowouts, trying to get to the dishes in the sink, but dinner needed to be made. All the things! But then I remembered, I am the exact mother I was meant to be for these two boys, regardless of how we get through the day. I had to learn how to weave in a new rhythm with my newborn, Micaiah into my son’s established rhythm. Day after day, it took many doses of grace and taking notes on how to pick up cues from my newborn when he was tired, overwhelmed, or just needed mommy snuggles. I truly do enjoy the madness and mess that comes with every uniquely designed child. I am also amazed that my heart could expand enough to adore both these boys so much.
Any advice on important convos to have with your partner before having a baby?
T H E R A P Y
We knew that having another child into our family and reaching 5 years of marriage could lead to more tension with less time to work through recurring conflicts, SO we treated ourselves to “therapy dates.” We called a therapist (a dear friend/colleague of mine) and asked him to help us guard our marriage from life strains and unlearn our habits we gained from within our marriage. I will tell you, if you have the opportunity to relearn your now-spouse and study him/her like you did when you dated with fresh eyes and a few kids in, it is a game changer! We have enjoyed ourselves more this time around and feel our parenting roles organically grow more as well. If you don’t have funds/time for therapy, we also read “A Lasting Promise” by Scott Stanley once a week together and we make a date out of it. The reader gets a foot massage (Heyooo!).
What helps you when you feel overwhelmed by motherhood?
I literally draw out and describe what mom I am trying to be and then list/draw out my mom values I want to display. Often the burdens from motherhood are rooted in what we hope to be like and not in what’s realistic or sustainable in our motherhood seasons. Do what you can based on your season, not the IG moms of older children doing all the DIYs and life projects, or whoever we compare ourselves to. In my case, when I feel overwhelmed I draw out a SuperMommy: the gentle, patient, simple life, that needs more of Jesus mommy that my children and husband love.
Do you have a favorite routine or activity that you do with your child/children?
YES! I take my son out on “Yes-walks,” meaning he calls most of the shots and I say “yes” to it all (mostly).
We go to an open trail and he touches, runs, and leads the way as he desires. These are my favorite because often I tell him where to go or what to do, but he gets to be the expert of our trail experience. It is a fun way to observe what he enjoys and watch his confidence grow.
If applicable, what has helped you cope & heal from postpartum depression and/or anxiety?
From the second trimester on, I had a variety of circumstances that hit me hard, including my own daddy getting diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. This news led to many depressive spells in my pregnancy. Though it was tempting to suppress my emotions and act like all was well, I knew the best thing was to set up a support plan (that might be the counselor in me speaking). I spoke to my friends and community group in my church about how I had been battling my emotions and ultimately my anger towards God. We all set up a plan as to how I would ask for help once the baby arrives. I began to run more and nourish my body more intentionally as I progressed into my pregnancy. I also ordered a placenta encapsulation for my postpartum recovery. Once my son came, my family and friends allowed me a space to bond with my new son and also have time to reflect and pray - to gather my thoughts and work through BIG anxieties. Honestly, as much as I did the “self- care”, I am sure prayer, honesty to the Lord and to my community, helped expose my anxieties and depressive spells. I have not had any major depressive seasons, thankfully but with all the ways our world feels out of wack, I think this can also apply to many of us.
What’s something your babies have taught you?
My kids have taught me to not take myself so seriously and enjoy simple joys in life. Laughter is soooooo good. Feel the dirt in between your toes. Stare at the sky and look at the clouds. Dance like no one is watching you.
To end off, can you share some of your favorite recipes with us? You're an amazing cook!
Oh goodness this one is probably the hardest one to answer! I will list my go-to recipes for one day!
Sweet Potato Smoothie Bowl
-1/2 large sweet potato or two small roasted potato/slow cooked sweet potato ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
-1 frozen banana
-1/2 Can of coconut milk full fat
-1/4 cup rolled oats
-2 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter
-4 frozen strawberries
Throw all these ingredients in a blender and blend away! Pour into a bowl and sprinkle some hemp seeds, nuts, berries, or whatever you please!
Clean Curried Salmon
-2 cans salmon
-1 cup grapes cut in half
-1 cup chopped spinach
-1 chopped bell (red or green) pepper
-⅓ cup chopped green onion⠀⠀
-¼ cup Greek yogurt
-2 tbsp curry powder
- Salt and pepper to taste⠀
Mix your ingredients together and enjoy with a pasta of choice, a cracker, slice of toast, or on it’s own.
AND MY GO TO DINNERS-
Thank you Jovanna for your vulnerability and wisdom and all the delicious recipes you shared with us!
Follow her on Instagram @jovannapenney.