The Man Behind the Woman Behind Postpartum Progress

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contributed by Julia Roberts– Agency Owner, Speaker, Advocate, Mother of two kids with ARPKD/CHF, both kidney transplanted, Co-founder of Support for Special Needs

FCpost3I do not know Frank Callis, Katherine Stone’s husband, personally. Like many other people, I’ve seen pictures, read posts about him from Katherine, and seen loving status updates to him and from him. Even though I’ve never met him, I do know what it takes to support your partner when they stumble across a mission to help others.

Full disclosure, I have not suffered from a postpartum disorder. Like Katherine though, I stumbled across a voluntary position in the realm of the non-profit world supporting others and I could not do it without my husband, Julian.

To understand I know this for certain, you’d have to know that nearly 13 years ago my daughter was diagnosed at birth with a rare form of a common life-threatening kidney disease (ARPKD) and three months later her then 3-year-old brother was diagnosed as well. We knew we’d soon face kidney and liver failure in our kids and overnight we went from a family welcoming their second child to a family raising two kids with extreme special needs. Just. Like. That.

We didn’t have anyone to talk to and on the Internet we found only staggering odds against the kids to live “normal” productive, healthy lives. I contacted the PKD Foundation, started a chapter in Atlanta, met people facing what we were and I carved out a way for parents of kids with PKD to connect. It has helped a lot of people and I’m pretty proud of that, but if I’m honest, I did it because I needed to connect.

To do this the past 13 years, my family has had to make sacrifices and my husband specifically has had to adjust how we live as a couple and a family.

In order for Katherine to do what she does Frank has to be patient and kind and loving, that is a given. In practicality he has to do more. Katherine doesn’t get a paycheck from her work at Postpartum Progress and in order to do what she does well, she can’t earn a regular check from a 9-5 corporate job. Katherine was successful at and is still extremely qualified for a corporate gig, so there goes a steady salary the family can depend on. Katherine has thanked Frank on more than one occasion for being supportive of her choice to work for zero profit in the non-profit world, to save lives. I and countless others want to thank Frank, too, for everything he does to support the woman we know as Katherine, an original Warrior Mom.

What does that look like day-to-day behind the scenes? It probably means that over the last 10 years Frank has endured listening to dozens of calls at all hours when Katherine spoke to someone who needed immediate support. It has probably meant he held her as she cried because she takes in story after story and remembers her own pain. It has meant watching her relive their story and heal over time as she has helped others heal. It means that Frank has been open to people knowing their personal story and intimate details about their lives in the name of helping other people not feel alone in the often isolating world of postpartum disorders.

FCpost1I am sure on several occasions Frank has gathered up the kids and all that means, while waiting patiently for Katherine to get one more email of support out to a woman struggling, or while she tried to find the link to an old post to share, finished work on a Daily Hope blast of support to women who have come to depend on that reliable contact. I bet he’s had to change plans, arrive later than expected, juggle work responsibilities to support Katherine in a quest to empower women and families in ways we cannot even imagine.

I know it’s meant Frank telling their story of those early days in their family journey  – on the record  - to help others.

Proof:

http://stories.sharewik.com/videos/2086284

FCpost2Thanks Frank. On this 10 Year Diamond Anniversary of Postpartum Progress we celebrate you, too. Thank you for all you have done over the years to support Katherine graciously and lovingly. Thanks for all of the time you devote to making sure Katherine is realizing this mission that came out of creating your family. Your love and continued reinforcement allows her to impact lives in immeasurable, positive ways…which means YOU impact countless lives in immeasurable ways too, and we’re grateful. We know she couldn’t do it without you and your unwavering support and love.

Thanks, Frank, for being the original Warrior Dad and Husband.

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Join Us at The Postpartum Progress Private Forum

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Postpartum ProgressSome pregnant or new moms just don’t feel comfortable having conversations on the Postpartum Progress Facebook page or commenting here on the blog knowing that what they type will be open for all to see. You might not be ready to talk about your postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, pregnancy depression or other illness in public, and that’s perfectly understandable. This is why we created the Postpartum Progress Private Forum, in partnership with a company called Smart Patients. If you’d like to ask questions or talk about what you’re going through without everyone else being able to see it, we’d love for you to join our forum. We hope it’s a place where you’ll feel safe talking with other moms who are struggling with the same things you are.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Go to this link: https://smartpatients.com/postpartumprogress
2. Underneath the Warrior Mom logo on the left hand side of your screen, input your email address and click “Request An Invitation.” 
3. You’ll then receive an email from Smart Patients inviting you to join Smart Patients. Be sure to check your spam file if you don’t see it in your inbox. 
4. Click the link in the email and choose a name and password. 
5. You will then be automatically added to the Postpartum community on Smart Patients. From that point on, clicking this link –https://smartpatients.com/postpartumprogress – will take you to the community

You’ll notice there are other communities at Smart Patients, particularly for those with various types of cancer, but you’ll want to follow those conversations tagged “postpartum.”

In just a couple of months we already have more than 160 members and the forum continues to grow as moms begin to feel more comfortable using it. Once you’ve joined, be sure to check out How To Use This Site and then read our Must Read Guidelines & Ground Rules.

We’d love to have you. If you have any questions or problems joining the Postpartum Progress Private Forum, please email us at postpartumprogress@gmail.com.

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Get Your Climbing Boots Ready, Warrior Moms – Climb Out 2014

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Defocused City Lights

Today is the winter solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. If all this darkness is getting you down, never fear … we’ve got some fab news to brighten your day.

Get your “climbing boots” ready, ladies, because  we’re so very excited to ask you to save the date for the 2nd Annual Climb Out of the Darkness, which will be held on the longest day of the year –Saturday, June 21, 2014.

Climb Out

This year our event will be bigger and better than ever, so mark your calendars and GET READY TO CLIMB!! We’ll be honoring the struggle, getting out there and showing our Warrior Mom strength, and letting the world know about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

We absolutely can’t wait to climb with you!!

Photo credits:  © Gudellaphoto – Fotolia.com, © diego cervo – Fotolia.com

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Introducing the Warrior Mom Leadership Team

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Warrior Mom LogoThere’s something very exciting that I’ve been meaning to tell all of you about — well, a lot of things, actually, but I can only tell you about this one for today – but I’ve been so busy working offline for Postpartum Progress that I hadn’t gotten to it yet.

You may have noticed that this week’s posts here on Postpartum Progress were written by Warrior Mom Jen Gaskell. Jen is part of the brand-spanking new, amazingly talented Warrior Mom Leadership Team. The WMLT features a group of survivors and bloggers who have been dedicated over the years to raising awareness of postpartum depression and all other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. They will be blogging all year long on Postpartum Progress, sharing their wisdom and experience. I am beyond thrilled that each and every one of them said yes, because you can’t find a better group of peer advocates.  I’m sure many of you already read their blogs and follow them on Twitter, and if you don’t you should.

It has taken me nearly ten years to create an editorial team here at Postpartum Progress, mainly because this is my baby and because I knew it had to be a group of women that would bring the utmost in quality, care, trustworthiness and authenticity to this space.  Women who have shown dedication to helping other pregnant and new moms struggling with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Women who have been through this and come out on the other side. Oh and, of course, women that know how to write. I’ve found them.

So … [insert drumroll here] … announcing the Warrior Mom Leadership Team (in alphabetical order):

Jenni Chiu  MommyNaniBooBoo

Cristi Comes  Motherhood Unadorned

Esther Dale  Through The Tunnel

Robin Farr   Farewell Stranger

Jen Gaskell   Tranquila Mama

Christina Gleason    Well In This House

Lauren Hale  My Postpartum Voice

Jaime Harker    James And Jax 

Lindsay Maloan With A Little Love and Luck

Jennifer Marshall Bipolar Mom Life

A’Driane Nieves   Butterfly Confessions

Susan Petcher   Learned Happiness

Alexandra Rosas   Good Day Regular People

Diana Stone   Diana Wrote

Anne Marie Tonyan Lindsay  Do Not Faint

Miranda Wicker   Finding Walden

We may be adding a few more to the team, but for now I hope you’ll welcome them all and keep an eye out for their amazing words. And, I’d add, as always, we have the amazing Kate Kripke, LCSW, who continually shares her wisdom as someone who treats moms with our illnesses. Her posts continue to be some of the most popular ones on this site.

So, get set for even more great stories and content from Postpartum Progress!!

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