Greetings Warrior Moms and all my fellow Climbers,
Katherine and more than 100 amazing Climb Out of the Darkness leaders have been working furiously behind the scenes to get ready for 2014’s Climb out of the Darkness. Many people are asking what we plan to do with the funds we raise and what we did with the money we raised last year. Great questions. And they are easy enough to answer with a list of specific projects that I’ll set out in a minute. But here’s the thing. What we, and by we I mean all of us volunteers, supporters and lovers of Postpartum Progress, need to get our head around is this—what we are setting out to do is much bigger than this list of projects. We are raising money so we can put on our big girl panties and our ass-kickin’ boots to become an even bigger force for awareness and support for moms with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
This, my friends, is no small feat. And while keeping the proverbial lights on at the blog and creating great new educational tools for moms and their health care providers are really important and critical projects, they aren’t enough. They aren’t enough to end the suffering of women who struggle with maternal mental illness without knowing they have a treatable disease. They aren’t enough to ensure that there will be comprehensive and quality medical care for all these women. They aren’t enough to halt the generations of women who suffered in silence or who were shunned for their illness. They aren’t enough to stop the damage being done to the families caught in this cycle.
I am going to stand on a mountain top on June 21st and scream ENOUGH!! —Enough. With. The. Darkness.
Yes, my big girl panties are on. And, for the record, they have gotten just a wee bit bigger during motherhood. But so has my ass-kickin’ strength, thanks in large part to overcoming my postpartum OCD. And we are going to do our very best here at Postpartum Progress to create a world-class non-profit that has the staff to maintain our existing programs and to grow our delivery capabilities so we can double the awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders around the world in the next five years. And to do this, we need to free up Katherine’s time to focus on leadership and strategy, like going after grants with foundations and corporate sponsorships so we can create even more powerful programs reaching even more women. With a powerful organization behind us with significant funds to invest, we can start to launch a major global awareness campaign. And we know we can succeed because we are powered by you — Warrior Moms. Our strength and unique knowledge comes from the fact that we serve a motivated community of survivors who engage with us in a variety of ways to help our community heal. And we know how to connect with families struggling with maternal mental illness with inspirational, hip, and evidence-based information.
Back to the question at hand. We can say to potential donors that a $10 donation, for example, will keep the lights on for our blog for a day. For $50, donors can help us educate and support more than 20,000 moms for just one week of the year. Last year, Climb Out of the Darkness raised $42,000 last year and with that money we:
- Developed and will soon distribute an important infographic that shows the downstream effects on mothers, families and societies from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders
- Updated our non-profit website (the .org) and thus tripled its traffic, reaching even more women with the message that perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are temporary and treatable
- Launched a private forum for women struggling with maternal mental illness that now supports more than 340 moms across the country
- Continued to run and grow the most widely read blog in the world on maternal mental illness, with 1.1 million pageviews last year
- And we still had enough funding leftover to continue our project to develop educational materials for moms and their healthcare providers.
This year our goal for Climb Out of the Darkness is to raise $100,000, and as of today — the first day of Maternal Mental Health Awareness month — we have already met nearly 30% of that goal thanks to the tireless survivors and current sufferers of these illnesses who believe in us and are standing up and speaking out on our behalf. But let’s also say that even $100k isn’t going to allow us to accomplish our biggest objectives. It takes $3 million dollars to launch a real, multi-pronged, effective public awareness campaign to forever change the course of women suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. We’re excited about all we have the opportunity to accomplish, but we’ll never be able to do it without you. If you feel Postpartum Progress made a significant impact on your recovery, or even helped save your life, we need you. Stand proud with us as we tell our friends, families and neighbors that we have big goals. Join us in the Climb. And, in the meantime, you can tell everyone you know that Postpartum Progress will be launching some pretty amazing stuff in the next 24 months, including updating and expanding our blog including a Spanish language version, creating a video PSA, and starting the development of a mobile app that supports moms through PPD and related illnesses.
Join me in kickin’ ass and thinkin’ big!
Deborah Rimmler, Board of Directors, Postpartum Progress
photo credit: © Kevin Largent – Fotolia.com