Warrior Mom Strong with Cotton Babies

Image: Cotton BabiesOnly a few weeks ago, almost 200 Warrior Moms recently joined together in Atlanta for the 2nd Annual Warrior Mom® Conference, showing the world they are #warriormomstrong, thanks to the support of companies like Cotton Babies.

Inspired by our courageous community, Cotton Babies not only debuted a new video (which has already reached over 82,500 people with its message of hope), but they also brought along samples of their brand new line of clothes and gifts, STRONG. Cotton Babies is a great friend to us here at Postpartum Progress. They support our mission and our work, and they were one of the very first to sponsor the Warrior Mom Conference®.

I had the honor and pleasure of attending the conference this year and last year. I’ve seen what #WarriorMomStrong is. It’s women buying tickets for something that is almost a year away in the hope that they will learn more, create stronger connections, and be better able to help other mamas in their communities.

It is moms with anxiety reaching through the fear and out to each other. It is pictures taken on airplanes by women who are shaking, but resolved. It is pictures taken in cars packed with moms making this journey together.

image: Amy DinglerThis is the strength that comes from finally seeing in person a sister you made online. It is strength born of tears on shoulders and the tightest of hugs.

#WarriorMomStrong is also some women realizing that they were not ready to be with us, for many different reasons. It is women giving up their tickets and wishing us well from afar. We felt you.

Strength like this is generous. It is the generosity of time – of volunteers and of attendees who constantly ask, “How can I help you? What do you need?”

Strength like this is brave. It is speaking your truth to a room of almost 200 women.

It is kind. It is offering a shoulder, or a hug, or a handkerchief.

It is bold. It is telling the stranger in the elevator what conference you are in the hotel for, and doing it with your head held high.

It creates a sisterhood. It is groups of warrior moms spreading all over Atlanta to get tattoos and others going just to hold their hands.

credit: Miranda WickerI am still amazed at the strength of warrior moms. For some this was the very first time they had ever left their children, or been on an airplane, or met the people they were roommates with, or ridden public transportation, or been to any type of conference at all. Being surrounded by these women for a few days in October has given me the strength to come home and fight on. It has fueled my fire.

At Postpartum Progress, we are proud to be #WarriorMomStrong and grateful to Cotton Babies for seeing our courage and supporting our work to help all moms feel like the good moms they are. Tell us what makes you or someone you love #WarriorMomStrong, and don’t forget to check out the STRONG gift series from Cotton Babies.

 

Image Credit – Cotton Babies

Image Credit – Amy Dingler Photography

Image Credit – Miranda Wicker

Welcome Sage Therapeutics, Sponsor of the 2016 Warrior Mom® Conference

Sage SponsorIt is with gratitude and excitement that we can announce that Sage Therapeutics has joined the ranks of Warrior Mom® Conference sponsors. We are thrilled they’ll be supporting our community in October for this second annual meeting of perinatal mood and anxiety patients and survivors, and are grateful for the time they are taking to get to know our incredible community.

“Sage Therapeutics? Haven’t I heard that name before?,” you might be asking yourself. Sage made news this past summer with a promising clinical trial of a new medication for severe postpartum depression. We shared this story from Forbes back in July about SAGE-547 and SAGE-217, and the Postpartum Progress staff spoke with Sage shortly after to understand more about what these results might mean for the PPD patient community. Since we first spoke with Sage, they’ve been granted “Breakthrough Therapy Designation” from the FDA, meaning that their medication trials have shown such promise that they’ve been “fast-tracked” in a sense, though they will still be accountable to all FDA approval standards.

When we spoke with Sage, we had a litany of questions. How does this new drug to treat postpartum depression work, and how is it different from the ones that currently exist? What does the treatment look like for PPD patients long-term? What are the side effects? It is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers? How can we be sure that Sage will have the best interests of the patients in mind throughout future clinical trials and possible marketing? Will this treatment be available for underserved women? We asked so many questions we realized we really needed to have a conversation in person. And so, we’re excited to share that Sage Therapeutics representatives Ryan Arnold, M.D. and Helen Colquhoun, M.D. have also agreed to come chat with us in person at the 2016 Warrior Mom® Conference.

Sage is committed to answering our questions and learning how they can help empower each of us to continue educating other moms, the public, and working to dispel mental health stigma. We’re looking forward to introducing them to our community and learning more about Sage’s research.

 

Registration for this conference has SOLD OUT. To sign up for the waiting list, head over to our Warrior Mom® Conference information page.

Warrior Mom® Conference Needs List: A Self Care Tool

Note: This guest post comes from Warrior Mom® Conference speaker Ali Kozoll. While she wrote it thinking of all of the many conference attendees soon joining us in Atlanta on October 14th and 15th, we hope this “Needs List” is a self care tool all Warrior Moms will find useful as we learn together how to better advocate for ourselves. Thanks again to our generous sponsors, who make the conference and all we do here at Postpartum Progress possible!

WMC Needs ListAs an anxious and deeply emotional person I get overwhelmed quite easily, so for someone to ask me to take time to figure out what I need makes me want to cry-laugh while hiding underneath the covers of my bed. And though I initially resisted this practice the first few times I tried it, I’ve found I make it through my events in a much healthier manner than before I made this a habit.

What is a Needs List?

A needs list is just what it sounds like: a list of needs, made with intention. You can use this list any time you find yourself preparing for an emotionally-based occasion, which, let’s be real, could be any day of the week. I offer this tool to you now in anticipation of our Warrior Mom® Conference, which I understand will be a wonderfully rich and beautifully emotional weekend of connection, discovery, kinship, and healing. Making a Needs List will set you up to feel as prepared, supported and whole as possible during a potentially emotionally charged (even if in a good way) weekend or event.

Getting Started

Before you begin, set aside 15-30 minutes to spend with yourself to build this list. Start by asking yourself the following question…

“What do I need to feel full, whole and taken care of?”

Now, if you’re anything like me, that question alone causes anxiety. But never fear, we’re going to break it down more simply in order to cultivate the possibility of fulfilling our own needs. Sometimes the process of admitting we actually have needs or the concept of getting our needs met can bring up a well of emotion, so if it does, please know that you are not alone. Allow any and all emotions that may arise to flow through you and out. You might feel grief, anxiety, skepticism, anger or any combination of myriad emotions (Remember my resistance to this process? Yeah, that was anger). Breathe with it, sigh it out, or perhaps put a pen to paper and write about it. However you choose, vent it out. This way you’re clearing the cobwebs in the way of creating your Needs List.

What is a Need?

Needs are simple things that feel doable and not overwhelming. If anything on your list does feel overwhelming or anxiety-producing, it is not a need. It may be a want and/or potentially unnecessary for this list. The things on this list are for YOU. This is not to be confused with a “to-do” list and it is not a list of things you need to do for others.

The Needs List Journaling Page

Next, you’re going to break down the main question into three areas of focus. You’re going to fulfill the needs of your Mind, your Body and your Heart by answering these questions.

wmc needs list worksheet examples

(click to view larger)

“What does my Mind need to feel full, whole, and taken care of?”

“What does my Body needs to feel full, whole, and taken care of?”

“What does my Heart need to feel full, whole, and taken care of?”

For each section, write down your answers for before, during & after the event. As you will see in the examples, it is important for you to be as specific as possible. Vagueness keeps things more abstract, whereas being specific grounds each item on your list.

Download the free Warrior Mom® Conference Needs List journaling page here and let the examples be only a guide as you explore what your mental, physical, and emotional needs are as we get closer to the Warrior Mom® Conference.  Your personal needs will be different. Your goal is to have at least one thing in each section.

Finding Support

The fourth and final step in this process is perhaps the most important…

Share your list with someone you trust will support you (ie: hold you accountable). Find another Warrior Mom to share your list with, perhaps, or a loved one at home who knows who you are planning to take care of yourself and will support you in doing so. Your ‘needs advocate’ could be your partner, another family member, a close friend, or even your therapist.

Because I frequently travel for work leading emotionally charged events, I always make my Needs List leading up to my departure, and so I hope you will find this helpful. You can try it before the Warrior Mom® Conference and then use it moving forward to prepare for things like big outings, family holidays or anything that feels potentially draining or emotionally exhausting. I won’t lie to you. It takes constant commitment, this self-love, but in the words of Oscar Wilde “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance”. And who doesn’t want that?

Remember, no stress. This is not a task to accomplish, this is a radical commitment to your own well being. You can fulfill your own needs, mama, and you deserve it.

 

Northside Hospital Is a Title Sponsor for the 2016 Warrior Mom® Conference

Northside Title SponsorEditor’s Note: We sat down with Dr. Diane Wulfsohn, clinical psychologist at Atlanta’s Northside Hospital to learn more about the hospital’s maternity services and commitment to educating their expectant families about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like PPD. We are grateful for their sponsorship of our 2016 Warrior Mom® Conference and look forward to seeing Dr. Wulfsohn in person in October.

 

The Warrior Mom® Conference is proud to introduce Northside Hospital as a 2016 title sponsor. One of our guiding beliefs at Postpartum Progress is that “perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are a women’s health and a children’s health issue.” Northside Hospital’s commitment to all aspects of women’s health care makes the partnership between their organization and Postpartum Progress a natural fit.

While women’s healthcare in all aspects is one of Northside Hospital’s leading services, they are most well-known for their outstanding maternity and infant care, including a 34-bed high-risk pregnancy unit and a Level III NICU.

For more than a generation, Northside Hospital has been Atlanta’s leading maternity care provider, delivering more babies per year than any other community hospital nationwide. (About 15,000 a year at their main campus in Sandy Springs! That’s a LOT of babies!)

With so many new moms coming through their doors every year, Northside Hospital is dedicated to ensuring both moms and babies get the best pre- and postnatal care available, which includes making sure moms are informed about postpartum depression and its effects on new mothers and families.

Through a vast array of childbirth education materials, including classes available in-person and online, moms are introduced to the symptoms of postpartum depression, made aware of the risk factors, and assured that the illness can be overcome.

Moms who are identified as at-risk while in the hospital, either by nurses noticing signs of postpartum mood disorders, concerned partners, or by patients self-identifying and requesting help, are visited by staff members in the Behavioral Health Services department. Those visits are free of charge for moms.

Northside Hospital, through the Behavioral Health Services department, offers screening and treatment for postpartum depression. Services at the Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic are offered on a sliding scale for those who may need financial assistance while trying to get better.

We are thankful for Northside’s support of new moms, babies, families, and the Warrior Mom® Conference. Together we can make a positive difference in the lives of mothers battling postpartum mood and anxiety disorders.
Still interested in attending the Warrior Mom® Conference? Add yourself to our waitlist by clicking Get Your Warrior Mom Con Ticket Here.