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

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