postpartum depressionToday, on the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, Climb Out of the Darkness kicks off. For those of you who don’t know about it, Climb Out of the Darkness is an event to raise awareness of all mental illnesses related to pregnancy, childbirth and being a new mom, and to raise funds for our nonprofit Postpartum Progress so that we can do more to help mamas. If you’d like to learn more about it or join in, read here. You can start a Climb and do it at any time — not just today. We welcome everyone joining in, whenever they can!

I said this on Facebook today, but since I know many of you don’t follow me there I wanted to share this message with you:

NEVER in my 43 years did I think my life would lead to what’s happening today. I could never have BEGUN to imagine. Who knew that a terrible experience could lead to a blog and eventually lead to a worldwide event called Climb Out of the Darkness to raise awareness of PPD and already almost $40,000 for Postpartum Progress the nonprofit, all raised by mothers who had the same terrible experience? I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but thank you God for blessing me with postpartum depression, because if you hadn’t it wouldn’t have led to this day. Pardon me while I cry all day long, and probably tomorrow and the day after that too. And to all the Warrior Moms out there past, present and future, whether you have postpartum depression or anxiety or OCD or antenatal depression or postpartum psychosis, I love you dearly and you are not alone.

Postpartum Progress board of directors member Deborah Rimmler came up with this idea, and kicked it off just about three weeks ago right here. At that time we were completely unprepared to end up with more than 100 Climbs and having raised $38,239 at last check — we had no expectations that so many of you would feel so strongly about joining us. You can best be assured that next year we will be ready to make this event even bigger and better.

Millions of women throughout history, and even still today, have had to climb out of the darkness of maternal mental illness all on their own. There was no support. No information. They didn’t know what was happening to them. They were convinced they were all alone. They may have met with shame and stigma and judgment from others. Now Warrior Moms (what we call our fellow survivors) are joining together to prevent that from continuing to happen. We can’t stand for it. We won’t.

So keep Climbing Out, and don’t ever quit.

Climb Out map:

Climb Out list: