Calling All Homestead Warriors – A Giveaway!

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Helloooooo, lovely ladies!

We haven’t forgotten you! Hopefully, by now, some of you who signed up for postcard love from the Warrior Mom Conference have received notes of hope, tinged with a bit of Boston magic, from our attendees. I want you to know that all the attendees were so thrilled to have the postcards to send to you and several attendees offered to fill out multiple cards. The love for all of us, there or not, was overflowing.

While we were together in Boston, there was a lot of discussion about those who couldn’t join us. You were there, Homestead Warriors. We felt you. Your presence was felt in everything we did this past weekend at the first ever patient centered maternal mental health conference.

And now, it’s YOUR TURN, Homestead Warriors.

Today, we’re announcing a giveaway just for you. That’s right – if you were unable to join us in Boston and live in the US or Canada, you are eligible.

All you have to do is comment below with what you’re going to do just for you today. That’s right – just give us a peek into your self-care and BOOM. You’re entered.

Winners will be announced on July 24th at 12:00N ET.

Oh, what are you entering to win, you ask?

These lovely prizes:

HSW Giveaway 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HSW Giveaway 2

 

 

 

 

HSW Giveaway 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, without any further ado, let us know what you’re doing in the self-care realm!

Winners will be notified by email so make sure you leave us that information.

Good luck, dear Homestead Warriors!

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Warrior Mom Conference Re-cap

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This past weekend, over 100 Warrior Moms from around the world gathered in Boston for the first ever patient-centered conference on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. To call it a success would be a massive understatement. We didn’t want it to end.

Postpartum Progress’ #WarriorMomCon was ground-breaking and centered on connection, education, support, and healing. Women who had once struggled with being able to simply get out of bed came together with fiery, sparkly, joyous passion. We were united in our intense desire to collectively raise our voices. Being there this weekend was our way of telling the world that perinatal mental health issues are REAL and we want to do our part to raise awareness in our communities.

Warrior Moms gather at the Lenox Hotel before the start of the conference

An informal gathering on Friday evening was the start of all the excitement, as Warrior Moms began arriving in Boston. We introduced ourselves, hugged, and the conversations started flowing. You could feel the buzz of fierce energy in the air.

Katherine Stone opens #WarriorMomCon

Katherine Stone opens #WarriorMomCon

On Saturday morning, the conference got underway. Founder and Warrior-Mom-In-Chief, Katherine Stone, kicked us off with an inspiring keynote emphasizing how Postpartum Progress exists because of the dedication and drive of her tribe, Warrior Moms all over the world. She stressed that she may have founded Postpartum Progress, but it wouldn’t be the powerhouse life-changing non-profit organization that it is today without our commitment to the mission of increasing maternal mental illness awareness and providing peer support.

The first panel entitled Educate & Empower: Panel and Moderated Discussion on Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders was filled with eye-opening information on just how many women are affected each year by postpartum depression and anxiety disorders, and how the term “postpartum” isn’t even completely accurate given that 60% of these conditions occur during the “antepartum” period – or during pregnancy.

from left to right: Dr. Ruta Nonacs, Mara Acel-Green, Peggy Kaufman, and Dr. Lekeisha Sumner

Take-aways during the first session:

  • Dr. Ruta Nonacs, Psychiatrist, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School: “PPD is preventable if we can identify the women who are at the greatest risk.”
  • Mara Acel-Green, Founder, Strong Roots Counseling: “Postpartum Depression can happen even when a child is adopted. PPD occurs in approximately 20-25% of adoptive moms.”
  • Dr. Lekeisha Sumner, Clinical Psychologist quoted Maya Angelou: “As soon as the healing takes place, go out and heal.”
  • Peggy Kaufman, Director of The Center for Early Relationship Support at Jewish Family & Children’s Service: “Say the word JOY. It’s very powerful.”

We broke for lunch into small groups, and then met back up for an afternoon full of inspiring knowledge sharing.

Kate Kripke, LCSW presents

Kate Kripke, LCSW presents

 

During her “Thriving After PMAD” session, Kate Kripke, LCSW, Founder, Postpartum Wellness Center of Boulder shared tips and exercises for thriving after a postpartum mood disorder. My favorite quote from Kate’s beautiful session: “Give yourself permission to love yourself.”

 

 

 

Divya Kumar presents on privilege

Divya Kumar presents on privilege

Our final speaker of the day was Divya Kumar, Sc.M., CLC, PPD, Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center. Divya’s presentation focused on teaching us how to reach underserved moms and families in our local communities and how privilege can limit our perspectives and advocacy. My biggest lesson learned: “Don’t make assumptions. Be conscious of privilege.”

We finished up the day with Self-Care workshops where we learned the importance of self-care and how there are endless options for taking time to pamper yourself. Adult coloring books, knitting/crocheting, massage, yoga/pilates/meditation, walking, talking with friends – online via Twitter chats and other social media or in-person, and the list goes on.

Warrior Mom self-care: adult coloring!

Warrior Mom self-care: adult coloring!

The evening ended on a high note: the Warrior Mom Celebration Dinner. It was spectacular.

Instagram photo by @jzb2

Instagram photo by @jzb2

Day 2 started with a panel discussion around “Raising Awareness Online” moderated by Katherine Stone and featuring Jill Krause of Baby Rabies, Morgan Shanahan of the818.com, both leading professional bloggers who have written openly and honestly about their experiences with postpartum mood disorders. They were joined by Jennifer Labit, the founder of Cotton Babies, the official sponsor of the Warrior Mom Conference. It was an empowering and engaging session on how to amplify your impact online.

from left to right: Morgan Shanahan, Jill Krause, Jenn Labit, Katherine Stone

The conference wrapped up with a final session presented by MotherWoman’s passionate Founder Annette Cycon and Program Director, Liz Friedman. After sharing their own experiences with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, Annette and Liz led the group in a guided meditation followed by their support group guidelines. We then broke into small sharing circles where were were able to share our own stories and experience peer-to-peer support and healing.

Instagram photo by @danielle.nelson

Instagram photo by @danielle.nelson

Seven years ago I experienced postpartum psychosis after my first child was born, and five years ago I suffered from antenatal psychosis during my second pregnancy. Those were some of the most isolating and terrifying times of my life. I found Postpartum Progress after I had begun my recovery journey, and I am eternally grateful the blog existed when I stumbled across it. If I wouldn’t have had maternal mental illness, I may never have found Katherine Stone & Postpartum Progress, and might not have met this incredible community. My Warrior Mom friendships are the gift of light born out of my darkest moments and I will treasure them always.

One in seven women will experience a postpartum mental illness {postpartum/antepartum depression, anxiety, ocd, psychosis}. Chances are, if you haven’t gone through it yourself, someone close to you has or will in the future. Postpartum Progress is here to help, every step of the way. Share this video and it’s message. We can conquer postpartum mental health disorders together. We are warrior moms.

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Warrior Mom Conference – Need your Questions

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We wget answersant to hear from our warrior mom community as we begin our first ever Warrior Mom Conference.  The first morning of the conference is filled with an amazing panel of speakers.  We will have a moderated question and answer session.  Follow along with us on social media as we live tweet the question and answer session.  We want to hear from you.  Our speakers that are part of the Educate & Empower panel are Dr. Ruta Nonacs, Mara Acel-Green, Dr. Lekeisha Sumner, and Peggy Kaufman.

Here are a few questions to get you thinking.  What do you wish you had known about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders? How can we help moms access treatment more easily?  What obstacles have you faced with regards to finding the right treatment?  How can we increase our reach to underserved communities?  What type of community supports should be in place? If you have encountered obstacles in finding community support, what were they?  Submit your comments to the Facebook page.

 

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The Power of the Warrior Mom Community

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Our small but might COTD!

Our small but mighty COTD!

On our way down, at the Climb Out of the Darkness, a miracle happened: I forgave myself for my prenatal anxiety. The power of the Warrior Mom community, right there in person, surprised me; I’m used to participating in our online community. As we walked, the other moms compared experiences, and each noted that she could mark the darkest time as the weeks she could hardly remember. For one Warrior Mom, pregnancy was a blur of anxiety, and she felt better “the minute she gave birth.” For another, pregnancy was a dream, but anxiety and depression had obliterated her memory of her baby’s first months. Then, a thoughtful pause allowed me to realize that there was a shadow over my memory, too. Next came a wave of understanding, as I forgave myself for taking so few pictures of my giant belly, never finishing that expensive and involved knitting project, and everything I can’t recall.

I remember few moments from my third trimester of pregnancy, and I need help from my husband to put those moments in any sort of chronological narrative. I have struggled with anxiety all my life, and it has always been at its worst during times of anticipation. In other words, I hate waiting. Waiting for my grades in junior and senior high, as well as college, gave me panic, anxiety, stomach aches, even bouts of depression. I had a fantastic pregnancy, right up until the HypnoBirthing course ended, the major baby growth milestones slowed, and the real waiting began. I needed to remain on my anxiety and depression meds while I was pregnant, so I wasn’t just waiting to meet my baby. I was waiting for his birth to reveal whether or not he had experienced “defects” that wouldn’t show up on any prenatal testing. I was waiting to find out whether I would experience the worst-case postpartum mental health crises that I could not stop imagining. I knew that I had may risk factors, but I had finished the work of educating myself and my loved ones. I had to “wait and see,” a phrase I loathe. Did I mention that I hate waiting?

As we completed our small but mighty Climb Out of the Darkness, swapping stories with ease and without judgment, moments of silent understanding reached the deep reservoir of guilt I had held onto for almost three years. These amazing, strong Warriors inspired me, of course, but they also allowed me to see myself from an outside perspective. Did I not deserve the kindness, empathy, and understanding that I felt for them? Of course I did! I deserved their empathy, too. I soaked it in. It may have rained that day, but I let some warmth and light into a cold, dark place inside that I had hidden away.

I am writing to you from the train, on my wait to Boston for the Warrior Mom Conference, and it just so happens that I have this chance, at this time, to reflect on the power of being together as survivors. Leaving my house, choosing what I will wear, anticipating having to talk to people in person at a hotel or a conference–these things trigger huge anxiety for me. But I know that I will find so much healing in this community. This time, excitement outweighs anxiety as I anticipate soaking up the power of all these Warrior Moms, together, in one place.

Note: if you are not coming to Boston, check our the Warrior Mom Conference Facebook page for updates on how you can still participate, follow our live tweets at #WarriorMomCon, look out for a giveaway post, and get together with a friend! Coincidentally, I lucked out and booked myself on the same train that Lauren Hale is riding–community can even find you, sometimes!

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