Apply for the Postpartum Progress Warrior Mom™ Conference Diversity Scholarship

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Postpartum Progress Warrior Mom™ Conference Diversity Scholarship -postpartumprogress.com

Postpartum Progress Warrior Mom™ Conference
Diversity Scholarship

October 14th-15th, 2016, Atlanta, GA
Application Due: March 15, 2016

One of the goals at Postpartum Progress is to expand our reach and support so that all women are getting the information and help they need. Women of color get even less access and have even fewer options than the general population. Enacting real change in maternal mental health can only be achieved when we listen to the voices of and provide support for all women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including those from perennially under-served communities.

Because of this, the Diversity Scholarship was established to provide financial assistance to Warrior Moms from diverse social, racial, or ethnic backgrounds so they can attend the 2016 Warrior Mom™ Conference to expand their advocacy, contribute to the conversation, and increase their knowledge of peer support in perinatal mental health. The scholarship helps support travel, lodging, and registration for these Warrior Moms at the event. Two awards of up to $775 (which covers the $175 registration fee plus up to $600 for expenses) are available.

Applications for awards must be submitted by midnight on March 15, 2016. All applicants will receive notification of their acceptance status by April 15, 2016. Email wmc@postpartumprogress.org with any questions.

Moms can apply for the Diversity Scholarship here through March 15, 2016. You can also register now for the conference. Our second conference is focused on the Warrior Mom community: the volunteers, climbers, blog readers, forum members, and staff that have changed the face of PPD for so many women and families over the last 11 years. We’re calling it Together, Stronger.

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Warriors

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shadow-401178_640It’s difficult, this life filled with flashbacks and sidebars with a brain dead set on defying you at every turn. Frustratingly so. A life which seems to ebb and flow between complicated and blissfully simple when we think back to the before but get stuck wondering if there ever was truly a before.

Before what?

As I sit here, contemplating all that I have been through with my mental health this morning, I realize there have been challenges all along. Some were smaller than others, but they were there, pebbles along my path to the mountain I would eventually run smack dab into.

What does this all mean? Does it need to mean anything?

Life is a journey, I’ve come to realize, and it can either be on a smooth highway or a bumpy back road. The scenery is better on the back roads. So much richer. Particularly this time of year when fall captures the trees and dresses them up for one last ball.

This has been a particularly tough week for some reason. Sleep has eluded me for the better part of the week, I’m healing from a nasty cold, and I am fighting some dental stuff. In the midst of all of this, I forgot to take my medication yesterday.

I am trying to be kind to myself. To listen to my body and do what it needs me to do without guilt but that’s not quite working because the guilt is rapidly rising and I’m unable to find my life boat.

So here I sit, sipping coffee, arbitrarily typing, hoping that as my neurons fire into the keyboard something will finally spark and start my engine.

Deep down, though, I know today is just a tough day at the end of a rough week at the end of a tumultuous month with more unknown in front of us. I also know that this too, will pass. That I’m stronger than all of this.

Know what? You’re stronger than all of your stuff too. You are. Do what you need to do for you today and then do just a little bit more. And tomorrow? Well, deal with it tomorrow. Baby steps. We’ll all get there eventually. Together. Because we? Are warriors.

{photo credit: Pixabay}

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Grateful

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grapes-690230_640Today, I did something for myself. I went to a salon and had my hair done. Not just a simple trim, wash, and go. Nope. I had a full hair color session complete with highlights. It was a huge deal for me to walk into somewhere completely new, trust someone I never met before with my hair, and not feel an ounce of anxiety over any of it.

As I sat down in the salon and waited for the stylist, Fight Song by Rachel Platten came on over the radio. I shared, in the conference Alumni group, that it was a sign I was precisely where I needed to be at that moment. I sighed, sank into the chair, and let my mind wander away until it was time for me to move over into the chair. Once I was seated in front of the mirror and saw my reflection, a funny thing happened. It was the first time, while at a salon, that I didn’t hate my reflection. I finally, finally looked like ME.

Back when I was experiencing Postpartum OCD, there is no way I would have done something like I did today. Nope. For me, back then, pushing my boundaries was as big as managing a trip to the grocery store with an infant strapped to my chest or sometimes, just making it through the day without a panic or rage attack. My world was so small then. So dark. So scary. So…hopeless.

But now?

It’s bright.

It’s filled with self-care.

It’s filled with warm people who know where I have been because they have been there as well. They get me.

It’s a lovely place to be, to be honest.

For that, I am grateful. But not in the way you would think.

In college, one of my favourite professors would often babble on about how one had to taste the sour grapes life offered in order to fully appreciate the sweet ones.

Postpartum OCD (and friends depression, PTSD, and antenatal depression) was my big ole’ bunch of stinking sour grapes.

This life now? The happy full one filled with amazing strong women, genuine happiness, personal strength, and boundaries larger than I ever thought I would see? My sweet, sweet, sweet grape.

If you’re in the midst of a bunch of sour grapes right now? Know that your sweet grapes are waiting for you. They are.

{photo credit: pixabay Grapes, bunch, fruit, person holding}

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Guest Post: Doing It All Again

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I had the pleasure of meeting Graeme in Boston at the first ever Warrior Mom™ Conference this past July. She’s simply fabulous and her hugs are amazing. She’s also wholly dedicated to mamas with Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders. I’m glad she’s sharing this post today. I can almost picture her exhaling in her oasis. Read on…maybe you’ll be able to picture it too.

veranda-349696_640At the back of our little house is a screened in porch. We’ve never really used it. It’s where our family and friends who smoke go to smoke. It’s where we keep the grill that cannot sit outside even though it has a cover on it. It’s where most of my gardening projects go to die.

Or it was.

A while ago I found an online coupon for pressure washing and when the gentleman came to wash the house I shamelessly used my super pregnant belly to get him to clean out the porch as well.

Then I bought paint. And hanging plants. And an Adirondack chair and a rocking chair. And a rug. Eventually there will be a fan, a space heater, and some art out there as well. I’m doing all of this because I’m pregnant and I’ve been here before.

When my son was born I couldn’t leave the house without having panic attacks for a few months.  I wasn’t anxious or scared about any particular thing. There was no specific fear I could counter – I just could not leave the house and I definitely could not leave the house alone.  He loved being outside though. Just opening the door and standing on the front step could calm him.  It made me feel like crawling out of my skin.

My postpartum depression was filled with rage and angst. There was no place in the house that felt like it was mine. There was no place that I fit.  I was itchy and uncomfortable and hyper-sensitized all the time.  I couldn’t sleep if there was clutter, or too many people, or things out of place. So I didn’t sleep. Then the four- month sleep regression hit and NONE of us could sleep and things got really bad really quick.

Now it is a little over two years later. I’m much better.  My little family is much better.  My son kisses my belly every day before I leave him at daycare and says, “Bye Bebe! Bye Mama!” There is no fear in Adam’s eyes when he comes home from work. When my daughter isn’t trying to score a goal on my ribs, I can actually sleep.

I’d like to keep it that way.  I’ve been back on my medication for about two months now.  I reach out to other mamas who are heading into ‘round two’. My bookshelf is full of recommendations from my friends and doctors. I’ll start seeing a therapist next month to get even more ready.  My diet and exercise are much better and I have a plan mapped out of what to do and who to call if I start to spiral after this baby arrives.

Soon, very soon, I will also have an oasis. I will have a way to be outside without having to be outside. I will have a place that is mine, a place where I fit and where I can feel safe and calm.  In my daydreams I can feed my daughter there while my son plays around us.  If the nightmares come instead, I will have a haven, an oasis.  It is one of many reasons that I can face the fears with strength and hope.

My story didn’t end with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. We’re still in the early chapters yet.

 

20150711_181851-1Graeme Seabrook is a mother of one, soon to be mother of two, blogger, businesswoman, nail polish fanatic, and survivor of Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. You can find her at her blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter as Honestly Mama G.

 

 

{photo source: pixabay}

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