When I launched Band Back Together in September, I was a mommy blogger. Like the name or not, when you start a site called Mommy Wants Vodka, that's the niche. I'd come across other sites that did Good Things, but not many. Turns out, running a Do Good Site is a lot of work. But the rewards, they're even greater than anything I've ever done for Mommy Wants Vodka.
To celebrate our one year anniversary, we're going to work to highlight other sites around the Internet that are Doing Good. Every Tuesday at noon (central time, yo), we're going to bring you a story of why someone else chooses to devote their time Doing Good.
You know our beginnings. Now it's time to see theirs.
For our inaugural post, I'd like to welcome someone who is a dear friend of mine, Katherine Stone, from Postpartum Progress.
In 2004, I started a blog about postpartum depression.
I started it after I recovered from my own devastating bout with postpartum OCD, with the thought that maybe I could help someone else. I had no idea that seven years later I’d still be writing about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and actually be heading up a national nonprofit advocating for women who postpartum depression. My only hope was that I’d somehow be a helpful voice for other women who were just like me. I just couldn’t stand the idea of women feeling alone and ashamed with nowhere to turn.
As everyone on Band Back Together knows, having someone who has been through the same thing you have acknowledge and validate your feelings and offer you support can make an enormous difference in your life. Nothing – not a doctor, or a supportive friend – can take the place of talking to a person who REALLY gets it because they’ve been right where you are, too. They know exactly how you feel.
That’s the purpose of my blog Postpartum Progress. We are made up of a group of “Warrior Moms” who’ve survived perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and moms who are currently suffering during pregnancy or in the first year or so after delivering babies. We know PPD. We know the guilt, and the shame, and the fear and the confusion and the questions. Oh the questions! There are so many questions and concerns that women have, and they aren’t answered at most nameless, faceless static health websites. That’s why we exist.
If you are suffering, I want you to know a few things:
- You are not alone. You have the most common complication of childbirth and are one of hundreds of thousands of women (yes, I said hundreds of thousands) who are going through the same thing.
- You didn’t do anything to deserve this. You didn’t cause it. It’s not a sign that you have a defect of character or are a bad mom. It’s not a sign that if you’d only work harder to be a better (mother/wife/friend/exerciser/worker/prayer/whatever) you’d be okay. It’s an illness. A real and serious illness that requires professional treatment.
- The best thing you can do for yourself is to get help. Getting help is a gift to both you and your baby, NOT a sign of weakness. By reaching out during this scary time, you are displaying your strength and your courage under fire.
- You will be better. You will get back to your old self. You will be able to handle and enjoy motherhood and your baby will love you. In the meantime, Postpartum Progress has got your back.
We offer the most comprehensive set of resources you can find anywhere, with tips on everything from help for depression after miscarriage and dealing with mental health insurance problems, to explanations of the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety in plain mama English that everyone can understand.
We talk about the common feelings and worries of women with PPD, from anger and rage postpartum, to dealing with setbacks to handling the guilt of breastfeeding problems, to horrifying intrusive thoughts, and having more children after PPD. There’s so much to deal with when you are a pregnant or new mom going through these very real and very serious illnesses, and we want you to have as much support as possible.
My focus now, while continuing to maintain and expand the blog and our other projects like Daily Hope, is to raise funds through our nonprofit to create more and better services for moms. While nearly one million women suffer each year, only 15% of them ever receive professional treatment. That is a very serious public health problem that cries out for more awareness among both consumers and healthcare providers. We hope to fix this, and fast.
The future health of our nation’s families depends upon it.