Announcing Homestead Warriors

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Homestead Warrior GraphicPostpartum Progress’ first Warrior Mom Conference happens in less than 100 days. The first ever patient centered conference on maternal mental illness will take place in Boston, where 125 women will gather together and go through a ton of Kleenex.

Tickets sold out quickly so if you weren’t able to get a ticket or couldn’t attend for other reasons, we have exciting news for you!

We are THRILLED to announce an at-home conference for those who are unable to join us in Boston. We’re calling it the Homestead Warriors program.

We’ll be asking you to join in and participate with those at the conference on multiple levels because we want all of you to be part of this amazing event. We are all in this together, according to the Homestead Warrior mission statement:

As Warrior Moms, we all journey from pain to power. We are held, we are strong, and we matter. No mom is ever left behind.

While this is all about a journey, it does not need to be a physical one, as many of us know.

Here are some ways you will be able to participate in the Homestead Warrior program:

Postcards of Hope: Sign up to receive some love in the mail from a Warrior Mom! Blank postcards will be available at Conference Registration for attendees to fill out with messages of hope. We will mail these to women who have signed up to receive them after the conference.

Warrior Wall: Those of you at home can send in postcards with stories, art, messages of hope, etc, to be gathered into a piece of art to be displayed at the conference. You may not be there physically, but your spirit will be there for all to see. Your postcards may also be displayed via our nonprofit’s Instagram account!

Photo Collage: Send in your photo! Homestead Warriors will be asked to email in photos of themselves and families to be collected into a giant shield-shaped graphic for display at the conference and the Postpartum Progress website.

SWAG: We’ll be setting aside to-be-announced swag items for giveaways during conference week.

Q&A Session: Our 3 hour panel, Educate and Empower, (topics to cover symptoms, treatments, research, and cultural competency) will include a Q&A with questions submitted by the Homestead Warriors. With limited time, we’ll be holding on to the unused questions for future blog posts, crediting our Homestead Warrior Moms. This panel will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube July 12th. A few questioners will be selected to record their questions for the presentation.

You’ll want to stay tuned to our official conference FB page for details and to sign up for events as they are announced!

 
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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.

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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