Get PPD Support on Twitter with #PPDChat

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I’m happy to welcome Warrior Mom Lauren Hale as a contributor today. If you’re on Twitter and don’t know about #PPDChat, be sure to listen up! It’s one more great way to use social media to get peer support for PPD and related illnesses. Lauren also blogs at My Postpartum Voice.

When I first joined Twitter a little over five years ago, it was not for any particular purpose. Social media was starting to make waves and I figured, why not? My blog was nearly a year old and I wanted to explore new ways to reach people with what I was sharing.

I started blogging to reframe a pregnancy after two very difficult episodes of Postpartum OCD. My second episode tacked on PTSD for good measure. (A gold star for surviving the first go-round?)

As I got to know Twitter over the next couple of years and saw people holding “Twitter parties” for brands, I began to think, “Why can’t I do that for women and families with Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders?”

On May 3, 2010, after consulting with a few trusted fellow Postpartum advocates including Katherine Stone, Amber Koter-Puline, and Ivy Shih Leung, I decided to go for it. I was remaking my blog over and figured there’d be no better time to add an extra dimension to the outreach I already actively provided.

#PPDChat was born.

I had no idea what would happen – if I’d be the only one there, talking to myself about Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders, if lots of people would show up, or if people would think I was crazy for wanting to openly discuss something which for so long only lived in whispers behind closed doors.

Our first chat was relatively well-attended (I don’t have the numbers) and the evening chat was even larger. Since then, the hashtag has taken off. Sure there have been times when I’ve contemplated giving it up altogether. But I’ve persevered, hanging onto the initial ideal that if I help at least one person per day, my personal hell for nearly 5 years was all worth it. (With two episodes, the first sadly untreated, it took me 5 years to even recognize myself after my initial episode).

The #PPDChat community is amazing. Some of the most resilient, astounding, compassionate, and all around forces of nature are members. These mamas (and some dads!) are tenacious and do battle with hell every day. Even while battling hell themselves, they do not hesitate to reach their hands and hearts out to those around them also battling. To watch a battle cry requesting help get answered by this community is nothing short of mind-blowing.

Not only do we have the two moderated chats every Monday at 1pm and 830pm ET, but we also have a closed community available for mamas (and dads) on Facebook. The hashtag is available 24/7 as well for anyone in need of support.

The one thing which has amazed me is the respect the hashtag has retained. Rarely, if ever, is it spammed or attacked. In a world in which people are often stigmatized for openly admitting to struggling with mental health issues, this is amazing. With every tweet using the #ppdchat hashtag, the stigma for Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders is torn down just a little bit more.

I hope you’ll consider saying, “Hi!” to our amazing group soon – because once you do, you will no longer be alone in your fight. In fact, you’ll have an army by your side, ready to fight right along with you.

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About Katherine Stone

is the founder & editor of Postpartum Progress. She was named one of the ten most influential mom bloggers of 2011, a WebMD Health Hero and one of the top 25 parent bloggers using social media for social good. She also writes the Fierce Blog, and a parenting column for Disney's Babble.com.

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  1. Lauren, I honestly think #PPDChat may be THE best and most far-reaching thing any of us has ever done to support moms with PPD and raise awareness. Thank you so much for your dedication to it!

    • Amber –

      Thank you so very much – now I need Kleenex. I really appreciate the way everyone has supported it and helped it grow. It’s been amazing to see it develop over the past couple of years. I am in constant awe of the way the women support each other and lift each other up. It truly is one of the most beautiful things I have ever had the privilege of participating in.

  2. postpartumandpigtails says:

    #PPDChat was there to help me when I was scared & lost & just beginning my road to recovering from PPOCD. I don’t know where I would be without all of the support I have received.

    I now volunteer & help moms who are going through a PPMD & at times it blows my mind how many still do not know about Postpartum Progress or the #PPDChat community. I make sure to point them to all these amazing places & the more we talk about it the more others will know where to turn!

    Thank you Lauren!

    • Excellent point – we MUST talk about the available resources otherwise no one will know they exist.

      I realize not everyone is web-savvy like we are ;-) but for those who are, Postpartum Progress and the many other blogs which discuss Postpartum Mood Disorders are an invaluable research.

      I’m glad you found us and found support in our community. We are thankful for you too!

      Warmest,
      Lauren

  3. And that’s how my journey started as I ‘stumbled’ across that hashtag. I eventually took my mask off, had another baby & am now determined to help any mother out there too scared, too sad, too confused or too frightened. Lozza, if it were not for you, I have no idea where I would be today. What I do know is that I would feel alone, would be silent & we’d all be letting stigma win. I love you & thank you for being courageous & brave for us all to start the conversation & be able to get the support we all deserve & are entitled to. You are the person that this quote was talking about: ‘why doesn’t someone do something. Hang on, I am someone’.

  4. I’m all teary-eyed reading this. #PPDChat is such an amazing and wonderful resource. Just knowing it was there has been a huge help to me in dealing with the fears of “What if I end up with PPMD again?”, and I can’t even put in to words how much of a help and support it was the first couple of weeks after my most recent baby when I had the Baby Blues (true blues, only lasting a couple of weeks postpartum, not PPD being incorrectly labeled the Baby Blues). The women at #PPDChat are a fantastic and courageous group and I love all of them, even though I’m not able to participate very often.

    Lauren herself… no words. She’s done so much to help all of us, and to fight the stigma. #PPDChat is awesome because she’s awesome. I don’t know where I or many others would be without her and her “baby”. Thank you Lauren, from the bottom of my heart, for everything you you. <3 <3 <3

Trackbacks

  1. […] I have found a community of mothers who really understand this, through Postpartum Progress and #ppdchat on Twitter. I can go to my phone or computer any time of day or night and find someone who has been to this […]

  2. […] social media as an aid for my blogging, I stumbled upon a community of women (and a few men) called #ppdchat on Twitter; this network of women with perinatal mood disorders (like me) became crucial for me. […]