Social Good: How Much Can A Blog Really Help People?

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postpartum depression supportI’m asked all the time what kind of impact Postpartum Progress has had. It may be advertisers or brands, deciding whether they should partner with us. Media people wondering whether we have any credibility. Donors trying to decide whether to fund our nonprofit.

There are numbers. I know, for instance, we have put nearly 2,000 stories out on the internet to support women with postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, depression during pregnancy, postpartum psychosis and more. I know we have millions of page views, not to mention our presence on Twitter and Facebook and in the parenting media.

What counts, though, is the lives of pregnant and new mothers. Have we provided a helpful and encouraging place? Have we created a message of empowerment? Have we reduced stigma and raised awareness? Have we raised the percentage of women who get treated for PPD (which is currently only 15%)?

For everyone who has asked, we think we should leave it to some of our readers to answer those questions:

Because of you I sought treatment as soon as I was sure that I was not feeling right.  I could say thank you a thousand times over and it would never be enough. – S.C.

Reading the blog posts today on your website was a tremendous wake-up call for me.  I (coincidentally) have my yearly exam with my (new) OB tomorrow, and I plan to bring up my feelings of postpartum depression with her … [your blog] provided me with the assurance that I needed to understand that I am not alone in what I am feeling.  Most importantly, I was given the impetus to start truly addressing and treating my PPD.  I hope that in this case, some things are better done late than never … — C.D.

I am writing to thank you for your wonderful website.  It has truly helped me get through the toughest, most confusing time in my life.  Your story sounds VERY similar to mine and I found real comfort in knowing that I am okay and not alone.  I have been diagnosed with PPD and PPOCD and thought I was going crazy before I read your stories. I think you are doing a fabulous job of informing others of the seriousness of the disorder.  I am still fighting my battle, but I know I will win when I see the other survivors who have come out on the other side.  – D. R.

You have given me the strength to pull all of my pride to the side and step out to become a stronger mom. – J.P.

My husband and I both love your blog.  It’s helped us to realize that there’s hope, even in the darkest of days.  I can’t tell you how much that means to us. – P.M.B.

I wrote to you several times during my experience with PPD and you were a huge support to me.  It has been so much work to get better and has taken a lot more time than I thought.  I really believe I will be stronger for it and that I will be able to help others in the future.  You have been instrumental in helping me to see that this can happen to very normal women and that it wasn’t my fault. – K.M.

I just wanted to let you know that my first therapist appointment went well … I feel very hopeful, and I am so happy to know that I am not the evil person that I was imagining.  Again, thank you for your words of encouragement for myself and so many others. – J. G.

You made a difference in my life.  Even now about 4 months from starting to feel good (after therapy and medication) I still almost daily visit your site as well as others.  I think it is a great thing that you are doing!  I cannot begin to thank you for your dedication to this cause.  It is wonderful and you are making a difference…..I’m living proof!  — K.T.

Your blog has become my home page to help me stay current for both my private practice and for our support groups … I appreciate your dedication.  – M.C. (social worker)

I cannot tell you the immediate relief I felt knowing that I was not the first mother to have these horrible thoughts … I cannot thank you enough for sharing your story.  You saved me the months of agony you went through.  Because of you I’m no longer afraid to tell my husband, my family and my healthcare provider about these thoughts … I know that I need help, but I also know that I am not crazy.  Thank you. – S.C.

Your blog was instrumental in helping me wade through the care of my daughter during her darkest days.  – J.K.

I am in tears looking at the pictures of the PPD survivors.  It is so encouraging!  Thank you also for such an informative resource.  I feel too often women suffer longer than they have to because they are unable to find inappropriate treatment.  – M. G.

I use your website, your words and your hard work to help the mothers with whom I come in contact.  They may never be able to tell you how much they appreciate it, so I wanted to take the time.  – S.M. (community outreach coordinator, child abuse prevention program)

Thank you for writing the article “The Symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis (In Plain Mama English)”.  I was hospitalized twice last year with postpartum psychosis.  I was unable to put my experience into words.  I’ve shared your article with my husband, family and friends.  It feels so good to finally express my experience in words that people can understand … Thank you so much. – A.B.

Your website has meant the world to me in my struggles with PPD. It helped me to find the right help I needed…I honestly don’t know what I would have done without your help! – A.M.

Thank you for doing what you do.  Thank you for having the strength to talk about your battle and recovery.  Thank you for helping me, for developing a site that keeps me informed and for sharing things I’m not strong enough to share.  I am good now, better than good, thinking about baby number two … Never thought I would get here.  Thanks from the bottom of my heart.  – K.W.

Your site has been such a tremendous help to me this past year … like, more than you know.  I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for continuing to educate, and most of all for bringing hope to women struggling like me.  At times like this when I feel as though I can’t take another second, I remember that other women have made it through to the other side.  I hang onto that thought tooth and nail.  It gives me strength to push through.  – K.M.

I am doing so well now.  I feel like a different person than I was before.  I am incredibly grateful for the resource your blog is to those of us who are suffering!  I have attached a picture if you would like to include me in your Warrior Moms photo album.  It feels so good to be able to say “I survived!” – S.S.

Thank you so so so much for starting such a life changing blog. I just found it today and I wish I would have known about this three years ago after my first born. I will be sharing this with every single mother I know. It should be mandatory for OB/GYNs to share this site with all mothers and mothers to be!

Reading all of this gives my heart an extra ounce of peace and allows my mind to grip the notion that maybe I am really “normal” with all the quirks and challenges of my postpartum life. THANK YOU. These two words can’t even begin to express my gratitude for what you do with this website. — N.R.

Postpartumprogress.com has been my angel through my recent battle with postpartum depression/postpartum anxiety … This website has been a crucial part of my recovery and I thank all of you for your encouragement. — K.M.

This site is a real lifeline for me, whenever I start to feel hopeless I just log on and read the stories of moms who pulled through. — K.

Your website is amazing – it is helping to save lives and I know you don’t take that statement lightly – it shows in the work you do to keep mothers like myself going on. — K.A.

After finding the Postpartum Progress site and reading all of these amazing stories, I have finally felt like there are other people who get it! The site is the reason I ended up finally getting the help I needed. — A.B.

Reading Postpartum Progress was when I began to feel like a warrior instead of a failure. — S.

We’ve decided to add a new Testimonials tab to the site, nested directly underneath About in the top navigation menu. That way when we’re asked, all we have to do is point to your words. If you’d like to add your thoughts to this page, email us at postpartumprogress@gmail.com.

And for those of you who are writing a blog about postpartum depression or a related topic, or a blog about any other illness or issue that is deeply meaningful to you and is aimed at helping others, never give up. NEVER. GIVE. UP. You can change lives. Blogs help people. Social media makes a difference.

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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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Comments

  1. This is great. Sometimes I do doubt if I’m making any little dent in helping someone with a mental illness. Especially since my blog stats are nothing to write home about. But when I receive that one email telling me that I helped someone feel not so alone. Well, that’s why I keep going. If I can help just one person it wasn’t in vain.

    Always kudos to you and your site :)

  2. Thank you for this nudge, Katherine. Especially now, when everyone is pimping their cause in honor of Mother’s Day, it’s easy to get frustrated and say “Is this thing on?” But I feel that if I reach one person, that is one person more than before, right? I just keep swimming.

    You’re amazing and inspiring.

  3. This is the FIRST place I tell women to go when they even HINT at possibly having a problem.

    I agree that this site should be printed in a pamphlet that gets handed to every single mother as she walks out of the hospital.

  4. I wish more practitioners read this blog. It’s been an amazing source of information and support for me.