When Lydia Simmons describes her first pregnancy, her voice comes through elated. “I was 33/34 years old. I had a beautiful pregnancy. I mean, I couldn't imagine anything going better,” the mompreneur recalls. “Nothing was alarming. Nothing was off-putting. Everything was exactly the way that you would hope for in pregnancy.” 

But at some point between pregnancy and nine weeks postpartum, Simmons tells EBONY that something changed. While the founder of M.O.O., an acronym for Mom’s Official Objective, felt mentally prepared for the challenges that come along with motherhood, she wasn’t aware of the transformation her body would undergo. Roughly two months after giving birth, Simmons says her health started to change. “I started having really low arms. My ears were ringing. I was really weak,” she remembers. Simmons also experienced hair loss, dark sunken eyes, discoloration of her lips, and was not producing enough breast milk to feed her baby. “I was really wrestling against giving her formula,” Simmons says. “I wrestled against that for weeks.”

Between sleep deprivation and having less time to take care of herself, her symptoms intensified. It didn’t help that Simmons’s job at a global design firm came to an abrupt end when a higher-up at the company pushed to have her terminated after claiming they heard her child cry on a work call. “I was extremely hurt, and as my husband arrived home from work that day, and I sat there crying at the table, he says, ‘Baby, I’ve told you for months now that you needed to stop working. We have met our financial goals. Today I retire you. You don't have to work anymore.’” 

That day in 2018 was a pivotal moment for Simmons. It sent her on the path to entrepreneurship and advocacy. Soon after leaving corporate America, Simmons was in the lab, working on creating supplements for women that would alleviate the same symptoms she experienced in her motherhood journey. Because she saw amazing results from ingredients like sea moss, spirulina, moringa, ginger, and elderberry, Simmons wanted to create, in pill form, a supplement that could offer similar results. 

“When I realized that I had improved my own situation, and I had not been able to find something on the market to speak to nutritional deficiency, mental health decline, lactation, just day to day wellness and immunity, I knew that I needed to gather a group of people that could help guide me into how to put that on the market. And that's what I did.” 

Five years later M.O.O. is a fully established health technology firm. Simmons got it up and running without investors, crowdfunding, or seed money. Beyond the flexibility that entrepreneurship provides, Simmons is most grateful for the opportunity to help other women and advocate for maternal health on their behalf. “I think that it's important that we talk about morbidity and what that is and what that means for women who are pregnant,” says Simmons of doing her part in furthering the conversation on maternal health to be more inclusive. “A lot of times when we talk about postpartum issues it’s in the context of when a baby is produced, but women who miscarry also go through postpartum, and this is a huge group of women.” 

Simmons’s goal is to help any and everybody who can benefit from the nutritional and health building blocks on their journey. “Whether it's mental health decline, whether it's a nutritional deficiency, whether it's hormonal imbalance, morbidity, “I want to do my part in advancing maternal equity,” Simmons says. “That really is my focus.”