PM: I met him when I was 14 or 15.
JWK: How old were you when you got pregnant?
PM: I was pregnant when I was 18. We were sort of on-again/off-again for a few years. We had a really toxic relationship. We were teenagers and we were just both young and had been through a lot of broken stuff together.
JWK: Did he have a drug problem of his own at the time.
PM: We both struggled with drugs and alcohol at a young age.
JWK: Is it true that when you were pregnant with Justin that you faced pressure to abort him?
PM: There were definitely people very close to me that were pressuring me but I just knew that I wanted to do whatever it took to be a good mom. I thought about the other options and I didn’t know if I would ever be able to go through with any of them. So, I just thought “Well, I don’t have a choice. I need to do whatever it takes to be the best mom that I can be.”
JWK: The suicidal situation was before you were pregnant?
PM: Yes. Six months before I got pregnant I was in the hospital for trying to commit suicide.
JWK: And it was then, as I recall, that you had a religious experience that led you to Christianity.
PM: Yeah. Before Justin was born, when I was in the hospital at 17 when I tried to commit suicide, I had a man come in to visit me. His name was John. He was the director of the youth center that I used to hang out at. He would come to the hospital and he would bring me food and, you know, talk to me. I would just listen to whatever he had to say because he would bring me McDonald’s and all kinds of food. He would just really encourage me. He said “You know, when you hit rock bottom, you have nowhere to go but up.” So, one day I was just desperate and I cried out and I just said “God, if you are real then I need you to show me what you have planned for my life because I’m not doing such a great job and, if you have something better, then I need to know what that is.” And so, in that moment, I had an encounter and it sent me on a path of teaching and it’s something that I could never, ever shake.
JWK: But you did have some lapses after that.
PM: Yeah, absolutely. I wasn’t all cleaned up by any means. It’s been a messy faith. It’s been a journey.
JWK: But it was the beginning of the change in your life.
PM: Yes, it was the beginning of the change.
JWK: I’ve had depression is my past as well. Do you see the scars from your past as blessings now? Are they gifts that help you relate to other people?
PM: You know, in the moment, everything is really painful, obviously to go through those kinds of things, but I don’t know that I would go back and change it just because it made me who I am today. It also helps me to be able to use my story for good and help other people.
JWK: As indication of how much your life has come together, you’re actually producing movies now.
PM: Yeah, I produced a movie short called Crescendo…It’s got (11) international film festival awards. It’s doing really great.
JWK: Becoming a movie maker seems like quite a turn in your life. How did that happen?
PM: I’m also producing on a full-length feature called Day One. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve just been connecting with the right people and letting them know that I’m interested in doing this.
JWK: How did Crescendo and Day One, particularly, come about?
PM: Crescendo came actually through (Movie to Movement founder) Jason Jones. I’m friends with him and he thought this would be a good fit because the goal was to raise $10 million for crisis pregnancy centers. Because I lived in a pregnancy center the whole time I had Justin, he knew I’d be able to relate.
JWK: How about Day One, your first full-length feature? What’s that about?
PM: It’s the true story behind an organization called To Write Love on Her Arms. It’s the true story…Renee. She was an addict and she wanted to go to rehab. It’s the story of her healing. What happened was there…there were five young adults that lived in a house with her trying to detox her for five days before they put her in this rehab center…She used to cut nasty things on her arms and (one of the guys) wrote a blog called To Write Love on Her Arms and it turned into this great big organization. It’s pretty exciting.
JWK: When can we expect to see that?
PM: Hopefully next year at some point.
JWK: You’ve also in the midst of starting your own foundation called Round 2. Can you tell me about that?
PM: The idea behind Round 2 is that, when you get knocked down you get knocked down in Round 1 of life, there’s Round 2. So, we’re gonna be helping people that have been through really hard-to-overcome situations like suicide attempts, self harm and drug and alcohol addiction…So, our first initiative is called Speak Up, Listen Up. We’re encouraging people to share their story with other people and to listen to someone else’s story so that we can not only not keep things inside but also encourage other people. I know some people need counseling but not everyone can afford it. Our first idea is to help fund counseling for those that can’t afford it.