Jenna Kutcher is not the kind of woman you can sum up in an Instagram bio. The Minnesota native has carved out a career and life that is nothing short of inspirational. In fact, if inspiring can be a job description, that might narrow it down. She’s a CEO, the host of buzzy podcast, Goaldigger, mom of one (with number two on the way), a wife, an influencer, a creative, a body positivity advocate, and an educator. Some of those words are more specific than others, but they all add up to work that empowers other women. Below, this mama gets real about the juggle, the path to pregnancy, and living a life of grace and gratitude.
How are you feeling?
The words I’d use today are: I’m feeling stretched but happy. This is a season of both literal (hi, belly) and figurative stretching and growth. Just when I think there’s no more room for expansion, no space for “more,” I am somehow stretched to accommodate the growth.
This is a time where I enjoy every moment I can with my big baby while her sibling is still getting ready to join us topside. Where I’m juggling a business on one hip, a toddler on the other, with a growing bump in between. It’s a season of nesting and preparation both at work and in the home. Deep rest and meaningful work on all fronts. Frankly, I’m honored I get to participate in the juggle at all. I’m reminded of how resilient we can be as humans. The stretch marks symbolize something quite beautiful to me: growth.
So while I’m navigating a crazy, blessed, exhausting, exhilarating season filled with expectation, I’m savoring each moment in the present, doing my best to be as awake as possible to the life I’m living right now. And to stay encouraged about the life I’m still creating and continuing to let life stretch me as I grow.
What are your plans for going from 1-2?
Beyond some of the logistical things like making my daughter Coco a “big girl room” to free up the nursery, my plan is just to let things unfold as they will. That kind of mantra has always been a de-stressor for me. I’m excited to approach each stage knowing what I know now, how everything is so fleeting and temporary. We’ll definitely have to tag team things a bit more having a busy toddler this time around, but truly, I’m staying open and doing my best to savor every moment as they come.
What have your paths to pregnancy been like?
Whew, it hasn’t been easy to say the least. Our journey to our daughter was a three year one that included two miscarriages. It was a really dark season for us and, at times, hopeless. I can only now look back and see how we learned through those losses and how we worked to build the life we have today while we were in that season of waiting.
After our losses, I took a lot of time to heal my heart and to heal my body and I believe that what I learned through the process and the changes that I made (and have stuck with) have helped me with these two pregnancies.
How has pregnancy been different this time around?
It’s wild how similar and different this pregnancy has been. I was pretty sick with both pregnancies for the first part, super tired, all the normal things. It felt like I was pregnant with Coco for four years straight! Time went so slow, while this one feels like it’s flying by so quickly. I think the biggest difference is that this time I’m chasing around a toddler and I can’t just work from bed or nap whenever. It’s definitely been a bit more challenging on my body but overall, I’m just so thankful for the gift of pregnancy and for the fact that I get to go through this experience again.
How do you juggle running an empire, being pregnant and taking care of your daughter?
Is it bad that I’m laughing at this question? Because I’ve sat back and wondered the very same thing sometimes. It looks a lot like prioritizing a few roles and not letting anything else cheat or steal my time away from me. Success to me is being able to get my daughter up in the morning and spend time with her and put her to bed every night. For a long time I worried that I’d have to choose between motherhood and being a CEO and I’m grateful that I went for both. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. I’m incredibly fortunate that my husband is a stay-at-home dad (and an exceptional one at that) which allows me to focus on work each day, but I also love being a mom so much that if I hear them giggling in the next room, it’s impossible to stay away. I’ve given myself a ton of grace and set boundaries which I’ve stuck to, so that I’m not overworking or missing this time while my daughter is our only child.
What do you wish you could go back and tell yourself (or tell a new mom now!) as they enter this phase?
The most beautiful and challenging thing about motherhood is that it is all temporary. The sleepless nights? The adult diapers? The breastfeeding woes? Temporary. So are the tiny coos, the snuggles, and curled up fingers, it is all fleeting. It’s easy to wish away certain stages but I challenge you to will yourself to live them fully. All the silly clichés from the embroidered pillows are true and it’s a blessing to get to live them out and realize that.
Give yourself grace, trust that you can slow down, hit that break pedal without forgetting where the gas pedal is, and give yourself the gift of releasing expectations so that you can lean into your intuition and that instinct you didn’t even know existed. It’s all waiting for you, just close your eyes.
How did you tell your daughter she was getting a sibling?
I wish I had a really cute story but I was just too excited. My husband had gone to the gym in the morning and I woke up and took a test alone. I was worried it would be negative or that I was too early and when I saw the word “pregnant” I cried at the kitchen counter. When he got home, I wrapped up the test in a leftover newborn diaper and had my daughter hand it to him. (Looking back, that’s definitely a weird way to share it with him, but can I blame pregnancy brain and excitement?) He opened it up and then started hugging our daughter saying, “You’re going to be a big sister!” I don’t think she fully understood at the time, but now we’ve been reading a ton of books and talking about the baby a lot and she’s getting it and is excited about it!
You are very outspoken about body image. Did pregnancy and postpartum change your relationship with your body in any way?
Absolutely, without a doubt. Body image has threaded its way through every single part of my life and career. It’s something I’m not only open about, but I’m passionate about creating space for the conversation. After our miscarriages, I struggled deeply with feeling like my body had failed me, and with hating my body. It took a full year of healing to even believe that my body was capable of carrying a baby to term. I realized that it wasn’t just about my body– it was about my beliefs around my body’s purpose and value. I was tempted to pull myself out of the race before I had even touched the starting line because fear trapped me in a cycle of focusing solely on my past experiences. After having my daughter, I found that I fell more in love with my body after the entire experience and seeing how our bodies can support life and create miracles. I felt like I finally came home to my body in a way I hadn’t previously.
Were you prepared for that?
Anytime our bodies go through a transformation, I think we expect to feel a certain way about it. While pregnancy is a gift, it also brings us through challenges, and the media and the messaging about women’s bodies and postpartum bodies can leave us grappling with what we see in our reflections.
Having a daughter, I’m challenged daily not only in the routines of parenting, but also in helping her craft an inner narrative that is positive, loving, and filled with grace. As I explore the dreams I have for her and what she thinks about herself, her body, and her autonomy, I’m equally challenged to check myself and ensure that I’m loving myself and my body the way I hope she loves hers.
Pregnancy always brings up insecurity with everyone’s commentary on your body and I definitely struggle with how much my body changes, but I also know how right it feels. It’s a worthwhile struggle because I see the gift beneath it all. My biggest reminder is that self love isn’t a destination, it’s a daily choice, and so I do my best to choose to love myself and this body every day even when it doesn’t come easily.
I am planning to take 12 weeks off and I’m so grateful that I am able to do that. I have a team of women who help me run my business and we’ve been diligently working ahead so that rest is possible. I’m also entering this leave with a different approach than my last one. When Coco came, I was surprised by how much she slept and I wasn’t prepared for what it would feel like to not be working (a very weird feeling for entrepreneurs!) So this time around, I’m ensuring that I don’t have to do anything but if I want to do something, I can jump on and do it.
We’ll also be fleeing the freezing Minnesota winters and heading to sunny Arizona for a few months and I’m so thrilled because my parents and grandparents will also be down south with us so I’m looking forward to cherishing that time with my family!
Ohhh, self-care! Such a great topic these days. I really think that self-care during pregnancy has more to do with checking in with yourself and asking for help and support when you need it. Another thing I have to stress: self-care looks different for every single person. While candles and face masks might work for some, maybe a walk in nature or a nap works for others! Two things I do: listen to guided meditations in the shower (seriously, trust me here) and let my skincare routine feel like a mini-spa trip, not something you rush through.
How has becoming a parent affected your relationship with your husband?
The silly cliches are true and you do fall more in love with your partner when you see them as a parent! Given our fertility journey and Drew’s calling to want to be a stay-at-home-dad, watching him get to fully live out his dreams in doing that has been the greatest gift. We definitely have become a better team, better communicators, and being parents have challenged us to have a lot of conversations about how we were raised and how we want to raise our children.
What are the biggest lessons you want to teach your children?
There are a million things I want to instill in my children, the greatest three being: kindness, empathy, and emotional intelligence. I want my kids to lead their lives with kindness, to have deep empathy for others that influences their actions, and to know that it’s okay to feel their feelings and express them in safe ways!
Advice for moms and moms-to-be?
Everything about parenting is temporary—this is the blessing and the curse of being a parent. The sleepless nights, the cries, the healing postpartum body, all temporary. On the flip side: the cuddles, the hand-holding, the middle-of-the-night breastfeeding sessions, also temporary. Motherhood is an act of constantly surrendering to the fact that it is all temporary and fleeting, so do your best to not wish it away, it all goes by so fast!