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Newtown Native Jenna Von Oy Pens 'Best Friend's' Guide To Motherhood



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Newtown’s own actor, recording artist, voice talent, blogger, and now author Jenna Von Oy has never played a doctor on television — but she is capitalizing on her portrayal of gal pal Six Lemeure on the hit comedy Blossom, and Stevie van Lowe on The Parkers, in her first book, Situation Momedy, A First-Time Mom’s Guide to Laughing Your Way Through Pregnancy & Year One. The nearly 500-page project from Medallion Press, by Ms Von Oy’s own admission, is stocked with “dosage most doctors can’t prescribe.”

“My book isn’t an attempt to reinvent the wheel or deliver a how-to on all things mommy-related,” she said in an advance. “I’m still a work in progress, too.”

Readers of preview copies who lined up in droves around book stores in Los Angeles and Bakersfield, Calif., were not shy about sharing their enthusiasm for the empathetic content, while those who picked up the book during signings expressed anticipation for what Ms Von Oy says is humorous advice and observations similar to what many women might get from their best friend.

“I think honesty and vulnerability can go a long way toward helping other moms feel less alone in the chaos of the mommy learning curve,” she said, hoping the book will “inspire women to embrace the tough times with extra love, laughter, and to be empowered to trust their own instincts.”

Interested moms, moms-to-be, or anyone looking for a humorous and sometimes belly-laugh inducing read can visit with Ms Von Oy when she appears at the local signing at the Danbury Barnes & Noble on November 5, from 7 to 9 pm.

She will also be signing at the Book Review in Huntington, N.Y., on November 9, and then speaking and signing at the Big City Moms expo in New York City November 12.

Her Husband's Idea

Ms Von Oy told The Newtown Bee this week that she may have never written Situation Momedy if it wasn’t for husband Brad Bratcher, father of her children Gray Audry and Marlowe Monroe, urging her to turn the type of material she was already blogging for People magazine and on her own blog, The Cradle Chronicles, into a book.

When we caught up with Ms Von Oy, she was somewhat bleary following a nonstop flight with Marlowe from Los Angeles to the current family home in Nashville.

“Any flight that is nearly four hours with a nearly 1-year-old is always exciting and interesting,” she said laughing.

She said even though the book is only in preorder status, those who picked it up at a couple of advance signings apparently loved it.

“We’re in the midst of something like a grassroots campaign because we’re just in the preorder phase now,” she said. “But we’re finally able to get a few copies into people’s hands.”

Ms Von Oy said she approached the layout of the book by featuring a very personal view of one of her own life experiences.

“These are experiences that are either personal or from my professional life where I constantly throw myself under a bus, and then run over myself again and again,” she said. “What’s not to love about poking fun at yourself and letting everybody else read about it.”

She said friends and family who heard about or read those anecdotes said they immediately identified with Ms Von Oy.

“They could immediately visualize those things happening to me. Although I must admit, with my vivid imagination, I love making these situations as colorful as possible,” Ms Von Oy said. “That’s not to say I imagined any of it — it’s all true. I just like a bit of flowery prose now and then. Maybe I embellished slightly here and there. So far the response has been amazing.”

Ms Von Oy said one of the first people to hear the entire finished book was her mom, Gloria.

“I knew she would be the one to understand most what I’d been through as a mother myself, as well as a child,” Ms Von Oy said. “So my mom and I had a heck of a good time reading the book out loud together. She was the person I ran everything by before I turned in my final manuscript — she has a unique appreciation for both the chaotic side of my life and motherhood.

“She’s been my greatest audience,” Ms Von Oy added, “so when she read some of these stories and laughed, I know it’s because she already knew the ending and everything turned out okay.”

Ms Von Oy said she had a great idea approaching the project, how Situation Momedy would read in its final form.

“I think pregnancy and the first year of motherhood has such a steep learning curve, and you’re going into it thinking, ‘Yeah, I can do this.’ Then you have the baby, and you’re saying to yourself, ‘Holy heaven, what have I gotten myself into.’ So I wanted to make sure women go into that situation trusting their instincts and feeling empowered by it,” she said.

“It’s also about laughing your way through,” Ms Von Oy said. “You can’t have motherhood without laughter, because there are moments where you’re going to face extreme challenges. So if you can sit back and say, ok, I’m going to find some humor in this to help me push through the tough moments, at the end, we’re going to be better for it.”

Ms Von Oy also approached the project with practicality, knowing there were literally millions of other sources, from books and articles to videos and blogs, all offering advice to new and expecting mothers.

“This book in no way, shape or form is meant as a clinical guide,” she said. “I think having a sense of humor about all of it, and finding yourself and your instincts in the middle of all that advice, that’s what I’m saying to moms. Throw some laughter in the mix and go with your gut.”

Not Just For Moms

Ms Von Oy may have been most gratified, however, receiving a message through social media from a reader who was not a mom, who said she was reading through Situation Momedy and laughing her butt off.

“That’s exactly what I wanted to hear — I hope this book can help a mom laugh at herself because it’s so important to do that, while it still has comic appeal to someone who is far from her own motherhood experience,” she said.

So why was now the right time to channel her already successful, multifaceted career into writing a book?

“I’ve always been enamored of writing, and finding an outlet for my creativity,” she said. “But it was my husband who said to me I should turn my blogs into a book. So I hope this turns into something like a best friends guide to being a new mom.”

She also gets a kick out of peers, many Blossom fans years ago, who are now sitting beside Ms Von Oy in her “Mommy and Me” classes.

“All the girls who have my old Blossom doll or Blossom hat stashed away in the closet hoping nobody ever finds them,” she said. “They’re the ones who I’m writing for now that we’re all moms together.

Not one to rest on her past success, Ms Von Oy is already three chapters into a follow-up book, Situation Momedy — A Very Special Episode in Toddlerdom. Learn more at medallionpress.com.

Newtown’s Jenna Von Oy is poised to release her first book, which she described during an exclusive chat with The Newtown Bee as something of a best friend’s guide to pregnancy and the early first stages of motherhood. The book, Situation Momedy, A First-Time Mom’s Guide to Laughing Your Way Through Pregnancy & Year One is poised for worldwide release on November 10. Ms Von Oy, pictured with daughter Marlowe, will be at the Danbury Barnes & Noble book store signing advance copies from 7 to 9 pm on November 5.
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