Author: Jenn Mullen

Mother's Day letter

A Love Letter to My Boys on Mother’s Day

To my sweet boys, 

You are too little to truly understand this, but you are my entire heart. You hold it, carry it, and bring it with you wherever you go. I hope you can feel it even if I’m not there – whether it’s on a Monday when I’m at work and you’re with Daddy, or when you’re at nursery school playing with your friends. My love is there always. It’s a cloud of love surrounding, protecting, and guiding you. 

The moment I found out I was carrying you inside of me, my heart grew and my heart helped shape yours. I instantly fell in love with both of you even before I knew who you were, but yet I felt like I already did, somehow. I rubbed my swollen belly with awe and tenderness, sang you “our” songs, read you countless books, and told you endlessly how much I loved you. Nothing, absolutely nothing could have prepared me for how much I would adore you. Each of you are exactly who you’re meant to be. Perfect in your own ways, beautiful in mind and soul. 

Although I was not at all prepared for how enormous and intense my love would be for both of you, I was also not ready for the fear and anxiety that overtook my mind. The panic, terror, and sheer fright that something awful would happen to you clouded my life. Suddenly I was afraid of everything and everyone. I wanted to protect you and keep you within my bubble of fierce love. As time went on, I learned that I could not live like that for myself, but more importantly, I could not go on like that for you. Just know that it was my love that created this discourse, but it was also my love that pulled me out of those dark, stormy clouds. You’re both the rainbows at the end of the my storm. My love for you will always be your constant, your light in the fog, your sunshine radiating through the clouds. 

You’ve both given me so much to be grateful for. You’ve taught me a lot- unconditional love, continuous patience, and true, pure joy. This Mother’s Day, I honor both of your beautiful souls, for without you, I would not be a mommy, your mommy. 

All my love always & forever, 


jenn mullen

Surrender and see where it can lead you.

“It took me a while to learn the true meaning of patience and surrender, but I have finally accepted that healing doesn’t happen on our schedule. It doesn’t have a clock or a calendar.” Yolanda Hadid

Tonight’s theme is yoga class was surrender. This notion has always been a hard pill for me to swallow because I love having control & planning ahead for everything, but as we talk about #maternalmentalhealthday I realized that I haven’t truly surrendered. I haven’t surrendered to fully forgiving myself for my postpartum anxiety because I still mourn those early moments. I haven’t truly surrendered to the change in my life not just being a mom in the emotional sense, but the physical sense, too.

My mental health changed and went through a major shift. I’m lucky to be on the opposite end now. I’m lucky that I didn’t struggle with anxiety before my boys, but I’m super lucky that I know how to cope with it now. Momming ain’t for the faint hearted, that’s for sure. But aside from not recognizing my emotional state, I also see my physical self as a stranger. My body is a totally different one and the things it once did are so much harder for me now. Two c-sections in two years is no joke, people. It’s not the easy way out of delivering a baby. My core is shot. My ab muscles are so shifted and separated. For awhile, I hated my body, but then somehow something magical happened, I surrendered. This body that I don’t recognize created life- two beautiful, healthy, amazing little baby boys. Does my body look the same? Not even a little. Does my body feel the same? Nope, but here’s the thing, I’m surrendering to that pain and fueling it into a new strength, a new love for myself.

Yoga has been my most cherished form of self love and self care. I take my practice very seriously and sometimes I let my ego speak rather than my soul. I get mad at myself if I can’t get into a pose that I was able to do prior to my boys. But then it seemed to shift tonight, I surrendered and this happened…My very first head stand since having my babies. I let go of my fear of not being able to do it, fear of falling, or fear of failing and I breathed in love. The love for my family, the love for my yoga practice, and the love for me.

Surrender and see where it can lead you. 

An Open Letter to My Warrior Mom Friends

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“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” — C.S. Lewis

I came across this quote today and it stood out to me so bright like the gleaming sun reflecting off of the ocean during a sunset. As a thirty-something year old woman, I’ve had many friends throughout the different stages in my life – childhood friends, high school gal pals, college partners in crime, and a lot of those friends are still a major part of my life, but nothing, and I mean nothing could prepare me for the friendships I made during my struggle with my postpartum anxiety. 

I walked into a center for maternal wellness when Jake was 2 months old without realizing that I would meet fellow warrior mamas who were struggling with the same issues that were suffocating me. I surveyed the ladies I met with a closed heart and mind for fear of judgment. I didn’t want to share my story or admit to the things that were weighing me down. Momming should be easy, right? Rainbows, butterflies, and unicorns with a splash of glitter for everyone!!  Well, not so much. I always wanted to be a mom, so how could I admit that my anxiety was literally taking over my life? What kind of a mother would that make me? So I kept my distance, casting judgments in my mind like “They looked normal,” or “Why are they even here?” It wasn’t until I decided to go to a peer group therapy session that I saw beyond their masks. It was such an “aha moment” when I heard how there were all feeling similar emotions, tangled up in the same worry, paralyzed by the same fears, and triggered by the same situations. I quickly realized, “I’m home and these are my people.” I started to open up more, slowly letting my guard down, no longer afraid of the judgment or criticism. These women are my go-to’s, my life-lines, my cheerleader. I can remember clear as day when I walked out of that group in the middle of a panic attack because my baby was crying (one of my biggest triggers), and one of those angel moms followed me out with her beautiful baby girl. She gave me the space to be, to cry, to find calmness. We found out that our babies were exactly 2 weeks apart, we both had older sons, and lived a couple blocks from each other. The stars had aligned with this one. I found my person. My warrior mom bestie. I am so thankful for her friendship and all of the women who contributed to my story.

We come from all walks of life and parent with contrasting styles, but the constant is this, we have a bond so deep, so real because we came out on the other side together. In a world full of so much discourse, it’s easy to get swept up in negativity, but these women filled me with love and positivity. So here’s to the moments that we all said, “Me too” and realized we weren’t alone in this crazy thing called motherhood.  They are part of my story, a hand in my healing, and a piece of my heart.

Jennifer Mullen 
“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.”


open letter to my son jenn Mullen

An Open Letter To My Baby On His First Birthday

One year ago today, you came into a family that loved you so much from the moment we found out about you. One year ago today, you taught me that a mother’s heart has no limits. One year ago today, I fell so deep, so hard, and so fast in love with you. Your birthday is a day to celebrate you, but it’s a day to celebrate Mommy, too.

I know babies are supposed to learn from their mommies, but here’s the thing, my little angel, Jake, you taught me so much about myself as a mother, wife, friend, and person.  My love for you was so fierce from the start that I was overcome with extreme obsessive behaviors, worries, anxiety, and fear- but those feelings stemmed from my love for you. All my life, I’ve always wanted to be a mom to a bunch of beautiful babies. I was so extremely blessed to become pregnant with ease. I felt as if my life truly began when I became a mother, so why is this first birthday so hard for me? Why do I feel like my heart is so heavy?

It’s because my PMAD stole my early moments of you.

I was always so worried about you- worried that you weren’t eating enough, worried your belly hurt from reflux, worried about creating the perfect schedule for you… non-stop racing, worrying all day, every day.  The distress and anxiety manifested in this manic version of myself. I was obsessed with making everything perfect for everyone- your dad, your brother, and most importantly you. I held the panic attacks inside, only saying what I was really feeling through my PMAD treatment. Sometimes I don’t think I was even completely honest with myself and my feelings. I cried as I held you, wondering why you were entrusted to a mom would felt fanatical, panicked, and fretful. Suffering with Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder wasn’t something that I wanted to focus on during the first year of your life, but it happened. It was beyond my control. I fought so hard to manage it for many months.

Now at the one year mark, this is what I’ve learned, I can hold onto the guilt, sadness, and shame or I can honor it as a learning experience and release it into the universe because it no longer serves me. I keep asking myself ‘Why did this happen to me?’ I think there was a reason that I can now see. It was to teach me that life with a baby is imperfectly perfect. Even moms make mistakes. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom, it means I’m learning and you’re my teacher. I thank my lucky stars that I was blessed with you and please know that besides my mixed emotions, your birthday is one of my favorite days ever. The moment I saw you, it was pure, organic, phenomenal love.  I want you to know how sorry I am that I spent the first part of your life living as a “mind-full” mom, rather than a “mindful” mom living and treasuring the present moment of your beautiful infancy. I know I can’t get those moments back, but I promise you going forward, I will stay in the now.

This was a hard year for mommy, but know baby boy, it was all for you. I just wanted everything to be perfect for YOU. My sweet Jake, you make my heart smile and all I want for you is happiness, health, laughter & love.  I choose to view your birth as my rebirth as your mom.

I promise to practice mindfulness, patience, and flexibility.

I promise to be your imperfectly perfect mom…the perfect mom for you and your brother, James.

You have my heart always & forever. Happy First Birthday to my beautiful, blue eyed angel.

Love always, Mommy

Jennifer Mullen
Preschool Teacher Room 208
Piner Elementary School

jenn mullen shares her PMAD survivor story

My PMAD Journey Led Me to Mindfulness

Have you ever wondered how you became the person you are? This question haunted me for awhile because I had realized that the person I once was, has left the building—ok, ok, she left the building but it was for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Even typing that makes me wonder, “What?! How did I get there?” Thinking back to my pre-baby life, I can remember myself as fun, carefree, and maybe at times a little stubborn and bitchy. But never anxious- never manic- never this distorted version of myself. So this recollection always led me back to, how did I get here because I followed the path I had always envisioned for myself- college, teaching young children, home by the beach, happy marriage, & beautiful, healthy babies. I had literally managed to get everything I’ve ever wanted for myself, so what changed? Well on my road to recovery, I realized- I changed, I evolved, I bloomed. Becoming a mother is beautiful and amazing but oh my stars, it’s mostly terrifying and filled with doubt and worries. The constant anxiety and obsessive behavior over •every. little. thing.• took over my life. I could’ve gone down a dark, slippery slope and just accepted this version as the new, crazy, manic me, but I fought and clawed my way up that hill. Once I reached the top, the view was so clear, so obvious. The new me is an improved version of me. I’m still fun (within limits because, you know, adulting is tiring). I can be carefree in the sense that I’ve accepted to live each moment in the present and stop obsessing over the past and future. I can still be moody at times, but as soon as that mood or emotion enters my mind, I choose to release it as it no longer serves me in a positive way.

Through this crazy journey, I have learned that becoming mindful is my greatest asset because it has allowed me the gift of time- the present. I’ve often asked myself this question, do I want to be a Mindful Mom or a Mind-full Mom? To answer, I want to enjoy the little moments and celebrate the milestones with peace. Life tends to speed by, and it’s easy to fixate on the little shitty things, but that’s when we miss out on those big, beautiful moments. I turned my lemons into a refreshing lemonade- with a splash of vodka on the side…see, i can still be fun.

So here’s the deal…It does get better- I’m living proof and for those days that might seem harder than others, I remind myself- a bad moment doesn’t make a bad day and a bad day doesn’t make a bad life. Stay strong, trust the journey, and lean on your tribe.

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