Celebrity Parents Jeannie Mai Jenkins Opens Up About Her Postpartum Anxiety Struggles: 'I Wasn't Prepared' "I was just ... very uncomfortable and worried all the time," the TV personality and Owl's Brew Chief Brand Officer exclusively tells PEOPLE about managing life with 4-month-old daughter Monaco By Topher Gauk-Roger Published on May 20, 2022 04:42PM EDT Share Tweet Pin Email Jeannie Mai Jenkins is still adjusting to life as a new mom, and reveals the joyous experience hasn't been without its share of hurdles. The TV personality reveals to PEOPLE that she's still managing a severe case of postpartum anxiety, something she only recently became aware of. "The new mom anxiety is real and I wasn't prepared for the hit of it," Mai Jenkins says about only having been prepared for potential postpartum depression. "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." Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Abby Stevens After searching 'Can you get anxious after birth?' on the internet, she was surprised to learn about the realities of postpartum anxiety. "It's a huge difference from depression: I wasn't sad, I wasn't sleeping all day, I didn't feel miserable about my life, I wasn't having suicidal thoughts," she adds. "I was just very anxious, very uncomfortable and worried all the time." Gaining that understanding has helped Mai Jenkins manage life as mom to her 4-month-old daughter Monaco. "Now that I know what it is, I still get anxiety attacks, but I'm aware that it's just a phase," she says. And while she still experiences what she calls "20 minute" bouts of panic, she now knows to take a seat and not let worries get the best of her when they hit. "Doing that alone has allowed me to help get control over the anxiety hitting me and I'm able to enjoy Monaco being out and about more often." The new mom, 43, and husband Jeezy, 44, announced the exciting news of baby Monaco's arrival on Instagram on Jan. 11, and four months later, she is slowly getting back to her regular life, with her young daughter by her side. She spoke with PEOPLE at the BeachLife music festival, where she stopped by the Owl's Brew Boozy BeauTEA Lounge with Monaco and let people hold her for the first time. "I was afraid of COVID for a second, I was afraid of energy, people not holding her right ... I was giving myself a pat on the back just now because this is the first time I've ever had her held by another person." Bennett Raglin/Getty Focusing again on work has helped Mai Jenkins regain a sense of normalcy, including her role as Chief Brand Officer of Owl's Brew, a female-founded line of clean, tea-based spiked and sparkling beverages. "During the first month of Monaco's life, I was home with her every single day by myself," she admits. "I actually felt overwhelmed and lost because I was wondering why the breast pumping wasn't being as effective as I was reading in books, I wasn't getting sleep, and then I had that huge hit of postpartum anxiety. I need to have a little bit of something else to take my mind off of just being a mom, and this company has really helped me do that." The Real host admits she "would not be able to be the working mom I am without the village that supports me," including her mom, brothers and husband. "We're talking about round-the-clock intervals of tummy time, feeding her, diaper change, burping her, interacting with her, making sure she naps, so there always has to be somebody with her and I would not be able to do all these things without the village," she explains, revealing she doesn't currently have a nanny and couldn't be more appreciative of her family's support. "They're teaching me how to create a good family structure within our household." Jeannie Mai Jenkins Says Daughter Monaco Has Husband Jeezy's Eyes and Nose: 'My Favorite Twins' Mai Jenkins calls Jeezy — whom she married in March 2021 — "the best example of a father" by always being there for her and their baby while still complimenting her and making her feel like "his ride or die." She believes "a dad should be there for the feedings and the diaper changes and letting you get a quick nap in, but also compliment your wife and give it up to her and encourage her for doing a great job." She reveals her husband surprised her on her first Mother's Day with a trip to the Bahamas, which she calls "the most amazing, relaxing dream vacation" packed with necessary me time. "My husband knew exactly what I needed ... and he had set it up so that Mama Mai had taken care of Monaco so we could really just let our hair down and have fun," she says, noting it's something she never would have done for herself. "Why can't moms go ahead and take that time off whenever they feel they need it? It doesn't have to be Mother's Day, but when your husband does it for you, it's even better." Courtesy Jeannie Mai Jenkins Jeannie Mai Jenkins Shuts Down 'Crazy' Rumor She's Joining RHOA: 'The Door Is Sealed' Her goal is to show their daughter "what a healthy household" looks like, saying, "we want to teach Monaco what it feels like to be in a safe family." Mai Jenkins is overjoyed talking about the traits Monaco has inherited from her parents — smiley and fun-loving like her mom, calm and chill like her dad — and has made it a habit "mimicking" them. As she gets back to work and life outside the home, Mai Jenkins is leaning on formulas and weaning off breastfeeding, saying it was forcing her to put pressure on herself. "The baby's not putting this on me, society isn't putting this on me, it's me, so I started finding a formula that was best for her and I've started to incorporate that fully into her diet and I'm okay with that," she explains. She also recalls an overwhelming moment while she was breastfeeding when she couldn't pump enough and her breast was getting clogged, leading to intense pain. "[Monaco's] crying because she needs more milk, but I can't get it out, and I didn't have a nanny," she thinks back. "I just didn't know who to go to to just make the boob pump, make her stop crying and also tell myself that I'm doing enough. And then she also peed all over the floor because we didn't have a diaper covering her in time." But like any parent, the hardships only made her stronger: "She always gets changed with a towel underneath her and I've got that formula on hand, so I'm a pro now!" Abby Stevens All hardship aside, Mai Jenkins calls motherhood "the most exhilarating adventure I never imagined would exist for me" and thanks her husband for inspiring her to embark on this journey. "It's amazing being a mom," she exclaims. "It's so fun, I'm learning so much from her ... and I'm excited for what's to come." She admits she wants to focus on "letting things heal" and "getting back into shape" while getting through the first year of motherhood before considering more kids, but she is now looking at life beyond The Real, which announced the end of its 8-season run in April. ''I'm so proud of The Real ... but, for me, I am ready for the next adventure in my life," she says, pointing at her daughter. "I want to hear her first word, which is going to be 'Mommy,' and I just want to make sure that everything checks out great with her."