Jenn Rogers, instructor in the teacher’s education department, was inspired to start the nonprofit World’s Okayest Mom after experiencing some complications while pregnant with her third child three years ago.
At her 20 week ultrasound, doctors discovered she had a complication called placenta previa, and at 25 weeks, she had a major bleed while out of town in Arlington. After taking an ambulance to the hospital, she was prepped for a c-section – she was also given steroids, magnesium sulfate and a few blood transfusions in an effort to stabilize the baby. They spent three days waiting on standby in the labor and delivery unit until she was moved to the antepartum unit and monitored minute by minute. Rogers said the doctors didn’t think that she would make it to 30 weeks – but she made it to 36 weeks without any further complications.
“I was on strict hospital bed rest,” Rogers said. “I could only get out of bed to shower or go on a 20 minute wheel chair ride each day. My husband and two daughters lived with my in laws in Arlington for 11 weeks while I was in the hospital. It was the calmest I’ve ever fought for something in my whole life, so many people poured into my family in that storm.”
Some of the support she received came from friends and family, but some came from kind strangers who just happened to hear about her story. Rogers said they loved on her and her family in ways they could never repay – like providing meals, cleaning their home, and sending care packages, flowers and prayers.
“It was overwhelming to keep up with, I wrote over 400 thank you notes before I left the hospital with my healthy baby boy in my arms on October 25, 2013,” she said. “Thank you notes are a kid gesture but I needed to do more. I knew I needed to do more…one day. That one day came two years later after starting a Facebook group that grew from 10 mamas to 5,000 mamas to 10, 000 mamas to now 16,000 mamas.”
In April, one year after starting the group, they began the application process for nonprofit status from the IRS. In July, they received their tax ID letter in the mail, which means they can now raise even more money to help even more moms.
“The mission of World’s Okayest Mom is to mobilize the caring power of women all of the world by raising money and distributing support to enhance the lives of moms who need our help,” Rogers said. “We care a lot about the various storms a mama can go through in life.”
The nonprofit helps women in need by sending care packages all over the nation to mothers, helping women pay their utility bills, buy groceries or school supplies for their children, and donating to other research groups and organizations like Young Lives. They currently have 35 donors who donate $20 every month, but they want to reach 100 donors by next August. They would also like to plan weekend retreats for mothers to provide support talks and day-treats in cities all over the country.
“I am proud of what it means to be a World’s Okayest Mom,” she said. “It means that we are walking this incredibly yet rewarding journey of motherhood alongside other women who strive to build each other up through support, joy and laughter. What we are doing is Biblical. We are encouragers. We are a no judgment group. Perfection is an ideology that is impossible to attain in motherhood. You have days where you stink at it and you have days that you should create a meme with your face in the center that says, ‘Rocked it, my kids ate dinner.’ We rejoice together in both of those moments. We love all mamas, mamas from walks of life that look like ours to mamas who are not like us in any way. The common denominator is motherhood. Not race. Not SES. Not religion. Not education. Motherhood.”
“Love each other,” she said. “Build each other up. Thank a mama you know, even if it’s your own, and tell her, ‘You’ve got this.'”