Stand Together for Moms With Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

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climb tee 2015Three years ago Postpartum Progress started an event called Climb Out of the Darkness®. We had no idea what it would become. We only knew we needed an event that would bring together moms from around the country and around the world who wanted to stand together, publicly, to raise their voices and stand up for maternal mental health.

The 3rd annual Climb Out of the Darkness is happening this June, on Saturday June 20th in most locations. At this event, moms like you (and hopefully, INCLUDING YOU) will walk paths and hike trails in solidarity with every mom who has ever had and will ever have postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum psychosis, postpartum PTSD, or depression or anxiety during pregnancy. We want the world to know how common perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are, and that we need more and better help.

There are already more than 1,200 registered participants in the 2015 Climb Out of the Darkness. The events are being held in places like Anchorage, Alaska and Gainesville, Florida. London, England, and Topeka, Kansas. Concord, Massachusetts and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Detroit, Michigan and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Raleigh, North Carolina and Camano Island, Washington. We currently have 10 Climbs in California, 8 in Texas, 6 in Pennsylvania, and 6 in Washington, and in Colorado and in Florida. There are 5 each in Michigan and New Jersey. We have group Climbs and we have private family and solo Climbs. We have teams led by survivors, teams led by doulas, teams led by therapists and teams led by hospitals.

climb map 5 26 2015

The more of you who join in, and bring along the family members and friends and colleagues who care about you and who care about the mental health of mothers, the better. When we join together in massive numbers, we cannot be sidelined. We cannot be ignored. It’s easy to participate. Registration is free. You are not required to raise money, but if you do decide to fundraise for our nonprofit and you raise $100 or more prior to June 30th, you will receive our official 2015 Climb Out of the Darkness t-shirt (the design is pictured above).

No matter your level of participation, we want you to be part of the Climb. If you’d like to see what it looks like to be standing side by side with other women who have been through exactly what you have, check out some of our photos from past Climbs.  If you have questions, check out our FAQ. If you want to find and join the Climb closest to you, check out our map and Climb listing. If you don’t see a team in your area and want to start one, go for it!! Just email our event manager Amanda Hope at

If you were thinking you were alone in the world when it comes to struggling with PPD or a related illness, just look where women are climbing!!

  • Alabama: Anniston, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa
  • Alaska: Anchorage
  • Arizona: Phoenix, Tucson
  • Arkansas: River Valley
  • California: Berkeley, LA/Valley, Long Beach, Mission Peak, Palmdale, Sacramento, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Upland, Walnut Creek
  • Colorado: Boulder, Colorado Springs, Durango, Ft. Collins, Red Rocks
  • Connecticut: Meridien, Fairfield, New Haven
  • Delaware: Wilmington
  • Florida: Gainesville, Miami, Orlando, Sarasota, Satellite Beach, West Palm Beach
  • Georgia: Atlanta, Savannah, St. Mary’s
  • Illinois: Chicago Downtown, Chicago Western Suburbs, Mt. Vernon, Rockford
  • Indiana: Ft. Wayne, Indianapolis, New Albany
  • Iowa: Mason City
  • Kansas: Topeka, Wichita
  • Kentucky: Louisville
  • Louisiana: New Orleans
  • Maine: Portland
  • Maryland: Baltimore, Gaithersburg, Hagerstown
  • Massachusetts: Concord, Groton, Lincoln, Worcester Co.
  • Michigan: Detroit, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing
  • Missouri: Columbia, Kansas City, St. Louis
  • Montana: Missoula
  • Nevada: Las Vegas, Mesquite
  • New Hampshire: Portsmouth
  • New Jersey: Chatham, Hoboken, Jersey Shore, Lincroft, Long Valley
  • New York: Buffalo, NYC, Rochester, Hudson Valley/Housatonic (CT)
  • North Carolina: Charlotte, Raleigh
  • North Dakota: Bismarck
  • Ohio: Cincinnati, Newark
  • Oklahoma: Oklahoma City, Tulsa
  • Oregon: Corvallis, Eugene, Portland
  • Pennsylvania: Central PA, Emmaus, Lancaster County, New Castle, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
  • Rhode Island: North Kingstown
  • South Carolina: Charleston, Little River
  • Tennessee: Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville
  • Texas: Amarillo, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas/Ft. Worth, El Paso, Houston, Pearland, Tyler
  • Utah: Ogden, Salt Lake City, Springville
  • Virginia: Centerville, Fairfax/Loudoun Counties, Fredericksburg, Richmond, Virginia Beach
  • Washington: Bellingham, Camano Island, Kitsap, Olympia, Redmond/Bellevue, Seattle
  • Alberta: East Red Deer County, Edmonton
  • British Columbia: Kelowna, Victoria
  • Nova Scotia: Cape Breton, Halifax
  • Ontario: Ottawa, York
  • Saskatchewan: Moose Jaw, Regina
  • Prince Edward Island: Charlottetown
  • United Kingdom: London
  • United Arab Emirates: Dubai


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The Connecting Threads Among Us

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Did you catch the Mother’s Day Rally last Sunday?

Since it’s Mother’s Day every day here, we wanted to be sure you were given the opportunity to read all the poignant and powerful essays that were published for this year’s Mother’s Day Rally. We are so grateful for the Warrior Moms who shared their stories with us and made the day an inspiring one for so many.

You don’t want to miss these stories, friends. They are an opportunity to behold the connecting threads that run through each individual experience with postpartum mood disorders. Each woman’s experience is unique and yet, we find a powerful “me too” when we talk about the struggle.


The Return by Cristina Spencer

Rising from the Ashes by Jen Gaskell

That July Afternoon by Robin Neidorf

Fahrenheit by Kimberly Zapata

Batman to the Rescue by Joanell Serra

A Different Breed by Lauren Hale

Happy Mother’s Day to ALL Mothers by Esther Dale

Before Kids by Susan Petcher

Growing Roots Through Mud and Metal by Sarah Bregel

Mad at You by Joyce Munro

Mother’s Day–It’s MINE by Raivon Lee

Newton’s Second Law by Kaly Sullivan


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Join Your Sisters & Raise Your Voice for Maternal Mental Health

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We’re getting closer ladies! It’s almost time for our 3rd annual Climb Out of the Darkness®. We already have more than 150 teams in 44 states and 3 countries. More than 1,000 Climbers, many of them mothers just like you who know what it’s like to be in the deep darkness of postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and more.

Please join us this June. We can only succeed if we work together to eliminate stigma and make sure all mothers get the information and support they need. It’s time to Climb Out!

Registration is free. You are not required to fundraise, but those of you who raise $100 or more by June 30th will receive our awesome official 2015 Climb Out tee. Here’s what it looks like:

climb tee 2015

You’re going to want to be wearing that t-shirt, I’m pretty sure. I know I’ll be wearing mine proudly!! (Note: those who have joined the Climb early and already raised $100 by May 15 will receive their shirt to wear at the Climb. Otherwise, your shirt will be sent in August.)

To find a Climb in your area and learn how to register, click here.

To get answers to frequently asked questions about the Climb, click here.

Can’t wait to Climb with you!

~ Katherine, CEO & Founder, Postpartum Progress

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Help Save Massachusetts Program Helping Moms with PPD

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I am twice blessed. Not only do I get to be on the board of directors of Postpartum Progress, Inc. and have the honor to work with Katherine, our other directors and an army of Warrior Mom volunteers to help educate and encourage moms suffering from postpartum depression, anxiety and other mood disorders to get the help they need, but I get to live in one of the few places in the world where a government has taken active steps to recognize the seriousness and treatability of these diseases: Massachusetts.

A great new program in Massachusetts started last year to promote the mental health of new mothers by building the capacity of providers serving pregnant and postpartum women to effectively prevent, identify and manage depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after birth. This program for mothers was actually the child of an earlier and very successful program called MCPAP, which was founded in 2005 to develop a similar capacity for primary care physicians to effectively diagnose and treat children with mental health concerns. MCPAP gives primary care doctors ready access to a team of regional experts (each with a child psychiatrist, a social worker, and a care coordinator) who are on call for telephone consultations.

Recognizing that there is a direct correlation between a mother’s mental health and the mental and physical health of her children, Massachusetts legislators had the wisdom to try to similarly treat mothers.  In just a small state like this where there were 72,000 births last year and when at least 1 in 7 mothers suffers from a pregnancy related mood disorders such as anxiety or depression, at least 10,000 children and families are at risk when their mothers don’t get the critical postpartum support they need.

MCPAP for Moms was launched in July 2014 is now a model on the national stage for ensuring healthy families. In many areas of my state, especially rural ones where I live, there is a glaring lack of health care providers who understand the diagnosis and treatment for mothers suffering from pregnancy related mood disorders. All obstetrical providers who come into contact with new mothers can now call a warmline and receive guidance from psychiatric experts as well as referrals in their community. In addition, the program provides capacity building training from another great advocate and leader, MotherWoman, for support groups and professional coalitions across the state to strengthen the skills of the medical community in each unique county of our state. Already, more than 400 mothers and their families have been directly impacted by this program.

Unfortunately, in the world of governments which are always looking at budget shortfalls, the MCPAP Program is presently not being funded at a level that would allow it to keep the Moms portion. Truly, we all understand that there are many, many worthy programs and not enough budget funds to go around, but in this case there is already in place a requirement for commercial insurers to cover the cost of serving their members. This revenue stream is expected to add $1.6M to the state operating fund, which will more than offset the $500,000 in funding required to keep MCPAP for moms alive and growing.

As we see play out in various crises all over the world, untreated mental health issues can have disastrous consequences. Massachusetts must continue to be, and I’m not exaggerating here, a world leader in providing mental health screening and treatment for our children and their mothers. If you live here in this great Commonwealth with me, please contact your state Senator and tell them this:

Our mothers deserve quality professional care to treat postpartum related mood disorders. 10,000 children’s live will be directly impacted if we fail to ensure the MCPAP for Moms project stays in place, so please make sure that MCPAP (Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project) funding is increased to $3.6 million on line item 5042-5000.

Alternatively, any mom can sign the online petition at asking for the program to be funded by clicking the link.

~ Deborah Rimmler

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