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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