Postpartum Progress at 2nd Annual PPD Awareness Day

Postpartum Progress at the Massachusetts State House for the 2nd Annual PPD Awareness Day

On June 14th State Representative Ellen Story and Massachusetts State Senators Joan Lovely and Bruce Tarr hosted the second annual PPD Awareness Day at the Massachusetts State House in Boston, Massachusetts. Postpartum Progress was thrilled to be a co-sponsor of this event that brought together stakeholders in maternal mental health from across the Commonwealth to share their expertise and knowledge.

There were many state legislators and non-profit organizations present, as well as care providers and representatives from local hospitals. The event works to raise legislative awareness of PPD and related illnesses and increase access to the various services available in the state.

Postpartum Progress at the Massachusetts State House for the 2nd Annual PPD Awareness Day

Postpartum Progress founder and CEO Katherine Stone and Warrior Mom Margaret Rice spoke during the program. Also speaking were Dr. Jayne Singer from the Brazelton Institute, Maria Merced and Yaquelin Ocana from the Lynn Community Health Center, Cate Johannessen from the Every Mother Project, Dr. Michael Yogman, and State Secretary Marylou Sudders.

The speakers shared how their individual organizations and programs are meeting the needs of families across Massachusetts, specifically those women and their families who are underserved and at high risk for PPD or another maternal mental illness.

Margaret Rice | Postpartum Progress at the Massachusetts State House for the 2nd Annual PPD Awareness Day

Margaret began by describing her personal experience with postpartum anxiety and OCD. Her honest description of the symptoms she faced while her first child was still a newborn resonated with the other survivors in the room and helped the care providers understand how lonely and lost a new mom can feel. Most impactful, she highlighted a huge gap in community supports by explaining that when looking for peer support, she was unable to find a support group available after her working hours. When she turned online for support, she found Postpartum Progress and realized she was not alone.

In town for the Concord Climb Out of the Darkness®, Katherine spoke about how Postpartum Progress is supporting the families in Massachusetts and how our Warrior Moms are able to reach thousands of women with our online programs, in-person events, and educational tools. Katherine described how reading the work of Dr. Jean Watson Driscoll was the first time she heard anyone speak of postpartum anxiety and OCD in a way that let her know someone understood. She pointed out that seeking help for mental illness is often not linear, making the argument for professional social media and online networks that help direct women to services and help.

She spoke about downloads of the New Mom Checklist, distribution of over 71,000 Hugs Cards, and the over 2.6 million blog pageviews in 2015; and she thanked providers like Mara Acel-Green, Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Women’s Mental Health, and the Lynn Community Health Center who go above and beyond to help families struggling with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. And most importantly, she emphasized the hard work of volunteers like Candice Brothers, Molly Lawney, Ashley Fitzroy, Margaret Rice, Alexia Johnstone, and Joyce Miner. Postpartum Progress’s mission of “Together, Stronger,” speaks to how state and national initiatives and organizations can work to empower every new mom, across the globe.

Being a guest at the 2nd Annual Bringing PPD into the Light was an honor and a privilege, and we’d like to thank Representative Ellen Story and State Senators Joan Lovely and Bruce Tarr and their staffs for inviting Postpartum Progress to co-sponsor this amazing event. We’d also like to acknowledge the hard work of the Massachusetts State PPD Commissioners as well as the incredible co-sponsors who work tirelessly to help new families: MotherWoman, Every Mother Project, Birth To Three Family Center, and the Cape and Islands Maternal Mental Health Taskforce.

We know Massachusetts moms are reaching out for help, and we are so fortunate that there is a network of support we can turn to to make sure they get the care they deserve.

What If You’re Still Fighting PPD?

winding path through trees Last week was a big week here at Postpartum Progress. It was the site’s 10th anniversary, and therefore the 10th anniversary of Katherine’s start as a powerful advocate for women with postpartum depression and similar mood disorders. In celebrating that anniversary, you may have seen stories from a whole list of women who credit Katherine and her work with saving their lives and getting them to where they are today.

But what if you’re not better? What if you’re still fighting PPD?

Being exposed to a slew of stories from people who did recover and who are better while you’re not can leave you with questions of, “Why me?” Or, “Why not me? Why are they better when I’m not?”

You may feel as though you have done everything you’re supposed to and it hasn’t worked. You might wonder why it’s seemingly easy for some people but not for you. And you might look at all that celebrating and feel like giving up.

What I want you to know is this: You will get better.

[Read more…]

A Whole Lotta Warrior Moms Say Thank You, Katherine, for 10 AMAZING Years

Katherine ComputerI dove headfirst into blogging about Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders because of Karen Kleiman.

But I grew into an online advocate because of Katherine Stone. She embraced me as I fumbled through the early days of running a blog, a website for struggling women, and my third pregnancy after two terrifying episodes of Postpartum OCD (which, incidentally, is what Katherine also struggled with during her experience with a PMAD).

If I had a question about something online, I turned to Katherine. She always got back to me and sometimes prodded me to do more and be more involved. More importantly, she always treated me as if I were equal to her, this amazing woman who had no fear about discussing the nitty gritty about PMAD’s online.

Postpartum Support International dragged me onto FB but where I flourished was on Twitter. I noticed, back in the early days of Twitter, that people were having these “parties” for certain products. I thought to myself, why can’t we do that for PPD? I floated the idea by Katherine and a couple other bloggers (Amber and Ivy). They were absolutely on board and Katherine whole-heartedly supported the beginning of #PPDChat.

#PPDChat is now the go-to hashtag for PMAD support on FB. There’s a closed FB group with over 350 members. I may have started it, but it wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the experience, support, and genuine caring flowing from Katherine in my early online days.

She inspires more than simple advocacy (although few of us would dare call it simple – it is EXHAUSTING but worthy), she saves lives, she kicks stigma in the ass repeatedly, and genuinely cares about the people who reach out to her.

I don’t think she has any idea how many lives she has changed. How many advocates now exist because of her decision to live her life out loud. To stand up, shouting until she is heard, when the world expects us to sit down and be quiet. The passion in her heart far exceeds capacity and overflows abundantly to those around her.

To her family, a sincere and heartfelt thank you as well for sharing the woman of your lives with us. For without your support, all of us would not be the women we are today. I would be remiss to not acknowledge your important role in Katherine’s work.

Be proud – your wife, your mother, your daughter – she saves lives.

Below are several blog posts, written by women who celebrate how Katherine has affected their lives. To read them, you will need a box of Kleenex. These are women from all walks of life, women who found themselves covered in the dark mud of a PMAD but were yanked out of it by Katherine or found Katherine after they found their way out and now reach down behind them along with Katherine to rescue others who find themselves trapped in the mud hole of a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder. (Because let’s face it, no one wants to go muddin’ in a PMAD!)

Katherine, you’re changing the world with every breath you take, every stroke of the keyboard, every post, every outreach, every encounter, every awkward step outside of your comfort zone. You are loved, your work has wrapped the world over and made it a brighter place. We are always climbing out of the darkness with you and we will never stop.

Keep on keepin’ on, lady.

You’re not alone, and neither are we.

 

PP Blogathon Button

Jenny @ Tranquilamama: My Lifeline Through PPD & PPA

Robin @ Farewell Stranger: Postpartum Progress: 10 Years of Magic

Jennifer @ Bipolar Mom Life: The Relief In Finding Postpartum Progress

Danielle @ Velveteen Mama: My Postpartum Progress

Charity @ Giggles & Grimaces: Hope In A Computer

Jenny @ Jenny Kavensky’s Blog: It Takes a Village

Erin @ Erin Margolin: Happy Tenth Anniversary, Postpartum Progress

Morra Aarons-Mele @ Women & Work: In Celebration of Katherine Stone and 10 years of Postpartum Progress

Tina Duepner @ The Duepners: Cheers to 10 Years

Esther @ Journey Through PPD: Happy 10th Anniversary To Postpartum Progress

Ravion Lee @ Vain Mommy: Postpartum Progress Turns 10: The Woman Behind The Change

Kristina @ Sew Curly: Postpartum Progress Is 10

Rita Arens @ Surrender Dorothy: In Celebration of Katherine Stone

Katie Sluiter @ Sluiter Nation: I Am Not Alone and Neither are You

Cristi Comes @ Motherhood Unadorned: Postpartum Progress: Kicking Ass for 10 Years!

Tabatha @ Tabulous: A Love Letter To The Woman Who Saved My Life

Susan @ Learned Happiness: First and Last: Happy Anniversary, Postpartum Progress!

Deborah Forhan Rimmler via My Postpartum Voice: Guest Post – On Meeting An Angel

Beth @ Beth Bone: Thank You Just Doesn’t Seem Enough

Andrea @ Good Girl Gone Redneck: Happy 10th Anniversary, Postpartum Progress

Julia Roberts (not THAT one, the other one!) via Postpartum Progress: The Man Behind the Woman Behind Postpartum Progress

Jess @ Just Jess In the ATX (note – this was not written for the anniversary specifically but was shared to the FB page for the blogathon to show the impact Katherine had on Jess’ life and recovery, therefore, it’s shared here): Picture Perfect 

Lots of Exciting News At Postpartum Progress

It’s been a very busy few weeks and the next couple of months are going to be even busier, so I wanted to share with you where I’ve been, and even MORE importantly where I’ll be. I love to meet Warrior Moms in person, so if you’re at any of these places please come say hello!

In the last week, I’ve been:

1) Fighting back against the mistakes the media makes about postpartum depression, over on the Huffington Post. Please check it out and let me know what you think! If you like the story, make sure you give the post a Facebook like so that the media knows how much we care about this issue.

2) Talking about postpartum depression on CNN’s HLN website

3) Talking about judging and being judged as a mom on HLN’s “Raising America”

4) Writing about how women shouldn’t tear each other down on Babble

TODAY (Tuesday):

I’ll be chatting on HuffPost Live about postpartum depression with other guests at 1:30pm Eastern.  If you want to watch the live streaming conversation, just click here.

Upcoming:

1) April 16-19 I’ll be in Washington DC at TEDMED, a medical technology and healthcare conference. It’s the health version of the other TED conferences and TED talks you may have heard about. I’m so thrilled to be a TEDMED Scholar this year. I’ve always wanted to attend this conference but could never afford it (the registration fee is $5,000), but this year I’ve received a full scholarship so I’ll be going and representing the voice of moms with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders!

2) April 27th I’ll be speaking in North Carolina, hosted by the UNC Center for Women’s Mood Disorders. If you’d like to learn more or attend, click here.

2) May 2-5 I’ll be speaking at the Mom 2.0 Summit in Laguna Niguel, California.

3) May 9-12 I’ll be attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Orlando. Thrilled to be invited this year and to attend a conference where I get to bring my family!

I really hope to see many of you soon!