Last year I decided to be a Sherpa and organize a Climb Out of the Darkness event in Fredericksburg. It got me completely out of my comfort zone and I am so proud of what I was able to accomplish – especially because it was just me who did the organizing and promoting. Because of the Climb, I was able to host a screening for Dark Side of the Full Moon, a documentary on postpartum depression and other perinatal mental illnesses. This got the attention of Postpartum Support Virginia, who didn’t really realize just how big of a gap in resources there was between Richmond and Northern Virginia. I helped them organize a local workshop for people interested in becoming volunteers or support group leaders and medical professionals wanting more information on how to help women suffering from maternal mental illness.
In a few months, my city went from zero support groups to TWO. I honestly don’t know if this would have happened if I hadn’t volunteered to lead last year’s Climb and bring more attention to the need Fredericksburg has for better resources to help mothers who are suffering. But I have to believe the work I did helped.
Climb Out of the Darkness has grown so much over the last three years and I cannot wait to see how big it gets this year. Of course I want to be part of that, so I’m Sherpa-ing it up again this year and organizing Fredericksburg’s second Climb Out of the Darkness event. I’m not planning any movie screenings, so I’ll be able to focus more on reaching out to local business to help me spread the word (and hopefully raise money along the way). My biggest hope this year is that people will remember seeing the event in the local newspaper or on the community board in Starbucks and participate this year.
What exactly is Climb Out of the Darkness?
Climb Out of the Darkness® is the world’s largest event raising of postpartum depression (PPD), anxiety, PTSD, psychosis and pregnancy depression. The event was created by and benefits Postpartum Progress Inc., a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization that raises awareness and supports pregnant and new moms with these illnesses.
Women around the world participate in this grassroots event by going on a hike outside on the longest day of the year to shine a light on PPD and related illnesses. The event is open to anyone and everyone who supports our cause. Anyone can participate, as long as they register.
What is Postpartum Progress?
From their website: Postpartum Progress is a peer-to-peer 501c3 organization that works to create an atmosphere in which women can recognize when they need help for maternal mental illness, feel safe reaching out for that help, and know that a community of thousands of other mothers stands beside them and behind them.
But here’s my version: they’re a saving grace. After the loss of my first pregnancy, their blog was the only place on the internet that confirmed my suspicions that postpartum depression CAN happen after a miscarriage. Since then, it’s been a place of valuable, up-to-date information and support, especially since moving away from everything I knew in Northern Virginia to Fredericksburg.
Climb Out of the Darkness is a family-friendly event that is free to register for. You can register to walk with us or you can register simply to show your support to all the moms and families who are affected by maternal mental illnesses – no worries if life gets in the way and you find you are unable to attend! Fundraising is also optional.