I have a secret identity. I appear to be your average suburban mom, but in reality I am humpty dumpty. Underneath this mommy mask of semi-put-together mess, I am broken. When I broke, I broke deep and all the kings horses and men couldn’t put me back together again, at least not the same. There are cracks and holes, spots weakened and worn down. Motherhood exposed flaws and issues that were probably there all along, just under the surface:
Eight months into motherhood, I read a story in a magazine. That story about a mother who was suffering from postpartum OCD - a form of PPD, saved my life. I saw myself in those pages. I was able to hand it to my husband and say, “This is me.” My recovery started there. I can’t remember if it was in that story or when I googled “Postpartum OCD,” but from there I found Postpartum Progress.
Postpartum Progress started out as a blog written by Katherine Stone who had found herself struggling with PPD. Postpartum Progress spoke to me (and all moms struggling) in what Katerine refers to as “plain mama english.” There was no hard to understand medical jargon, no scare tactics or fear. It was like a warm hug saying, “Yep I’ve been there too, and here is how we’re going to get out.”
I’ve been following Postpartum Progress and watching it grow ever since. When I finally got to meet Katherine Stone in Chicago last year, (literally running into her getting out of an elevator) I cried and hugged her. She saved me and so many others. Her passion shines through in everything she does as she advocates for maternal mental health, as well as helping mothers find services and get help.
In 2011 Postpartum Progress launched Postpartum Progress Inc. PPI, a 501C non-profit, is focused on “vastly improving awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like postpartum depression and the number and quality of services and support for women who have them.” One of the ways they do it is through the annual Climb Out of Darkness Event.
On June 21, women across the globe will be participating in the Climb Out of Darkness event to raise awareness for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like postpartum depression (PPD), anxiety, OCD and psychosis. Postpartum depression, which affects 1 in every 7 women, is the most common complication of childbirth. So, on the longest day of the year, PPD survivors and supporters will come together to hike or walk, to symbolize their collective rise out of the darkness, to eliminate the stigma of maternal mental illness and to raise fund to support PPI.
In Chicago, there will be a climb starting at Buckingham Fountain at 10:00 a.m. Moms and others are all welcome to join the climb by registering. Registration is free. To learn more about Climb out of Darkness see the FAQ page. If you want more information on the Chicago Climb you can contact climb leader Celeste Chapko at email@example.com.
Melissa is mom to 4 kids and 2 angels. She chronicles the sticky bits of motherhood at Peanut Butter in my Hair.
See more of Melissa's stories here.
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