NICHD Moms’ Mental Health Matters Initiative Launches

We’re so pleased to welcome Dr. Triesta Fowler to Postpartum Progress today. Triesta runs the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s (NICHD) National Child and Maternal Health Education Program. We worked with NICHD to bring them together with Warrior Moms at our conference last year in order to provide valuable patient input into the development of materials that can be used to help moms and families. Here’s the wonderful result of that work:

mmhm_productcollage_nichq_largeIn July of 2015, we had the privilege of meeting some of you at the Postpartum Progress Warrior Mom® Conference. We showed you preliminary versions of materials that would eventually become the cornerstone of  Moms’ Mental Health Matters initiative, our effort to equip moms just like you with the tools to handle perinatal anxiety and depression. We aimed to develop something that could resonate with all women, and we needed your candid input.

You provided insight into every aspect of the content and the design of the materials, explaining to us how these tools would have impacted you and your families. We learned that it was crucial that we expand the focus beyond postpartum depression, offering information about both anxiety and depression, occurring both during pregnancy and after the baby is born. You suggested language that would resonate with mothers and their partners to empower them to get the help they need. You offered feedback on how we could best use images and design elements in ways that would draw you in. Most importantly, you drew from your past experiences, selflessly sharing your stories in order to help future mothers.

We couldn’t be more excited to announce that the Moms’ Mental Health Matters initiative has launched, and the materials that you helped create are here! You can learn more about the initiative and view, download, or order the materials here. Please feel free to share this information and these materials throughout your communities. We hope that they will help you continue the important work that you do to support moms with depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy.

Sincerely,

Triesta Fowler, M.D.

Coordinator, National Child and Maternal Health Education Program

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute of Health

Triesta Fowler Lee

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.

Sign Up: Postcards of Hope

WMC Postcards of Hope

One of our favorite activities at last year’s conference was writing Postcards of Hope to send to all the Warrior Moms at home. We heard from you for weeks after the conference in 2015, thanking us for sending a little love and light your way. We know not everyone can make it to Atlanta this year, and want you to know that we will be thinking of you, carrying your stories and courage with us as we gather together for the Warrior Mom® Conference on October 14th and 15th.

If you’d like a postcard with a handwritten message of hope and encouragement from an attendee of the Warrior Mom® Conference, you can sign up starting today. We can’t wait to send a little bit of the conference home to you!

How to Sign Up

You can sign up from September 26 – October 7th, 2016. The first 180 people to register will receive a postcard shortly after the conference concludes on October 15th.

So, go! Sign up now and grab your postcard!

Be sure you tune into to the Postpartum Progress Facebook page and follow the #warriormomcon hashtag and list on twitter to keep up with all that’s happening during the conference weekend. We’ll live-stream some sessions and events and keep you in the know!

(Many, many thanks to Samantha for volunteering to organize Postcards of Hope this year!)

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.