Postpartum Progress is like my 3rd child. I carry it around with me every day. It's part of who I am. You can imagine then, that it can be tough to give it over to someone else. Or 23 someone-elses for that matter.
A few weeks before Mother's Day, letters from the participants start coming in. I sit and read them and am continually surprised by these women's stories and how each chooses to tell them. I see so many common themes.
On one side, there are healthcare professionals telling us that it's okay to be imperfect and that we have to give ourselves a break. That our kids are going to turn out alright in the end. They encourage us to reach out for professional help if we have any of the symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety or OCD or PTSD or psychosis. They even share that sometimes, despite their best efforts, there are women that can't or won't accept the help they offer. I'm reminded that we could use so many more providers like them.
And then there are the mamas who, when they're sick, can't begin to give themselves a break no matter what anyone says. Some of whom summon up the courage to reach out to healthcare pros who then proceed to completely blow it. Others who, thankfully, had excellent doctors and supportive family members and who began to mend as quickly as humanly possible. I read the stories of the ones who are still suffering today and are only now half-convinced that they really will get better. (They will.) And then there are those who have made it to the other side and can look back with amazement and awe at the strength they never knew they had. The ones that shout from the rooftops so that others will be better prepared and won't suffer alone.
These women are a cross-section of the world out there … the internet-connected one at least. And they are the tip of the perinatal mood and anxiety disorder iceberg, a leviathan that stretches across race, education levels, cultures and paychecks.
If you are reading this and you are somewhere afloat on the iceberg, be heartened. These are just a few of the women who understand what you are going through. They are all around you and you just don't know it yet.
Links to the Amazing Participants of the 2010 Mother's Day Online Rally for Moms' Mental Health
12:01am My introduction (with video)
1am Amy Gagliardi, Lily's Kids Inc.
2am Sera, Laughing Through The Chaos
3am Meeka Centiman, LCSW, Postpartum Resource Center of Kansas
4am Julie Hersh, Struck by Living
5am Teresa Twomey, PSI Connecticut
6am Ann Douglas, author of "The Mother of All" series of parenting books
7am Adrienne Griffen, Postpartum Support Virginia
8am Victoria Mason, The Mummy Chronicles
9am Meagan Francis, The Happiest Mom
10am Alison Palmer, Elliot Hospital
11am Allison McDonald, No Time for Flash Cards
12pm SarahViz, In the Trenches of Mommyhood
1pm Mindy Roberts, The Mommy Blog & Momversation
2pm Ninotchka Beavers, NinotchkaBeavers.com
3pm Suzanne, Pretty Swell
4pm Marlene Freeman, MD, MGH Center for Women's Mental Health
5pm Alexis Lesa, depressionsandconfessions
6pm Tamra Hood, Surprisingly Sane
7pm Blair, Heir to Blair
8pm Jessica Zucker, PhD, PBS' This Emotional Life
9pm Casey Mullins, Moosh In Indy
10pm Amber Koter, Beyond Postpartum
11pm Katherine Stone, Postpartum Progress