One in seven pregnant and new moms will have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder.
After my first child was born, I became one of the one in seven.
At my postpartum check up, Mardi, my labor and delivery nurse, recognized that the symptoms I was having were more than what people call "the baby blues". I had lost 15 pounds because I had no appetite. When I talked to her, it had been five nights since I had slept and I was too frightened to drive anywhere because I couldn't concentrate on the road. I felt isolated and cut off, and on top of everything, I had a paralyzing hopelessness that I would never get better.
I was scared. No one I knew in any of my area moms' groups were going through what I was experiencing. Mardi urged me to talk to my physician and ask for a mental health referral. Then she spoke to my husband and called my mother and my sisters, and arranged for my neighbor to check on me. Mardi saved my life by creating a community around me.
Along with a mental health counselor and the care and comfort of people around me, I came through to see the other side. It is because of my community's support that I know that asking for help is vital to recovery from postpartum depression and mental health. When we share our stories of challenge, we inspire and give hope to others who now find themselves where we once were. Everyone around me kept the threads of my life from unraveling when I had let go of the stitches. Because of their time, care, and love, and most important of all, their belief in how I would get better, I did. I would not have survived without my community.
My struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety was one of the most terrifying points of my life and one that I will never forget. I was able to survive, the only word that fits with what that time in my life was like, because of the support and community of those who were there for me.
This is why I support Climb Out of The Darkness, an annual walk and climbing event to raise awareness and funds for the postpartum website, Postpartum Progress. The climbs are held on the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, June 20. Women around the world climb, hike or walk to signify climbing out of the darkness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and into the light. Milwaukee's climb will take place at 9 a.m. at Havenwoods State Forest.
Postpartum Progress' mission is to provide families with a stronger start by increasing awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and have a resource site where information is available to moms seeking information on symptoms and treatment. Katherine Stone, the founder of PPP, is a dedicated advocate for women who are seeking help and information with PP disorders. Her hope is for all postpartum moms in the midst of struggling with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders to know that they'll get themselves back. The people they were before their illness, will be there again.
Join Milwaukee on June 20, 2015 for the annual Climb Out of The Darkness hike, at Havenwoods State Forest at 9 a.m. Click #TeamMilwaukee for information on how to register. We hope to have you climb along with us as part of the community of warrior moms who are surviving and thriving with the hope and support of others.
Join Postpartum Progress and climb out.
Postpartum Progress: together, stronger.
*To learn more about the symptoms of postpartum mood disorders, please visit Postpartumprogress. com
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