Warrior Mom Conference Countdown

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Warrior Mom ConferenceThere’s nothing like connecting with another mom who has been through postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, psychosis, or has experienced any of these illnesses during pregnancy.  An instant understanding and sisterhood binds you together, as you share your story and recognize yourself in a kindred spirit.  The truth is that, though there are many brilliant medical professionals tackling the challenges facing women with maternal mental illness, only another survivor can truly know what you’ve gone through.  And so we come together, digitally, and find solace in our camaraderie.  The Postpartum Progress blog, Facebook page, and private patient forum have connected women just like me to support and evidence-based information for 10 years now.

It’s inspiring to witness the support community the Warrior Moms have created and exciting to think that in only 165 days, we get to bring over 100 of them face-to-face at the inaugural Warrior Mom Conference.  As wonderful as digital hugs are, I have to tell you that nothing, nothing beats meeting another survivor in person.

We’re hard at work behind the scenes here at Postpartum Progress, creating an amazing conference experience that will educate, inspire, and empower our Warrior Moms.  We can’t wait to announce our conference schedule, which will feature some of the leading experts in maternal mental health along with self-care workshops, and advocacy training.  We’ll be connecting with the folks at home with our new Homestead Warrior Mom program, and have thrilling ways for our conference attendees to connect with peers from across the country.  But most importantly, we just can’t wait to see our Warrior Moms in person and give them real, honest-to-goodness hugs.

Want to be in the know?  You can keep up to date with the latest Warrior Mom Conference news over on our Facebook page.  Visit the official conference webpage.  And be sure to follow us on twitter @WarriorMomCon!

Want to sponsor our conference?  Email us at wmc@postpartumprogress.org.

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Minority Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion Survey

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postpartum depressionPostpartum Progress is hard at work behind the scenes to improve our support and inclusion of minority and underserved women in our community outreach and engagement. While we often feature stories on the blog from mothers of color and offering Spanish versions of the blog and nonprofit’s website are in the works, we want to go above  our current efforts to develop programs and initiatives that will reach and engage minority women both online and off, all across the country.

However, in order to do that, we first need to know what your experiences have been, and what we can do better to help you. We’ve spent the last month developing a survey that we hope will help us gain some insight into what women of color experience with their mental health during pregnancy and postpartum, levels of awareness & education on postpartum mood disorders, cultural stigma, and barriers to treatment you’ve faced.

It will help us determine what kind of support you desire and how Postpartum Progress can improve on building a community that’s inclusive.

The survey was created by our new intern Denise Carter from Emory University’s Rolllin’s School of Public Health, with input from myself based on my personal experience with PPD and anxiety. Denise is currently getting her Master of Public Health in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education. She also has a Bachelor’s in social work, with minors in non-profit management and African-American studies. She has extensive experience and a passion for helping women of color care for and improve their mental health-we are thrilled to have her helping us!

The survey is 100% confidential and anonymous-your identity will not be tracked. Please feel free to answer honestly and with as much detail as possible. The more we know about your experience with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and what kind of support you need, the better we can help be an effective and valuable organization: changing the landscape of maternal healthcare locally and globally. Will you join us in this mission?

You can access the survey here: http://fluidsurveys.com/s/minority-engagement/

Questions, comments? Send them to us: addyeb@icloud.com or denise.carter02@gmail.com

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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.



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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