This year, more women will develop a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder than diagnosed with breast cancer.
Pregnant moms. Moms of three week olds. Moms of 11 month olds. Moms who just stopped nursing their 15 month old. Moms who miscarried or babies were born sleeping. Rich moms. Under-served moms. Working moms. Stay-at-home-moms. Adoptive moms. No mother is immune to the number one complication of childbirth, yet not much is being said or done to help us be better equipped at knowing the signs and risk factors, asking for help, and even feeling safe in doing so.
Where are the commercials? Where are the ribbons? Where are the donation boxes and fundraisers? Where is the awareness of the illnesses that affect nearly 1 million mothers in the US alone?
Postpartum Progress is a nonprofit organization focused on improving awareness of maternal mental illnesses and providing peer support for women who suffer from them. They create innovative programs that connect women to information and help, and support them through recovery.
To help crush the stigma surrounding maternal mental health and give moms around the world a chance to share their stories and raise much needed awareness surrounding maternal mental health, Postpartum Progress is holding their 4th Annual Climb Out of the Darkness event in June.
Climb Out of the Darkness® is the world’s largest event raising awareness for maternal mental illnesses like postpartum depression. The event is held on or near the longest day of the year annually to help shine the most light on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. It features mothers along with their family and friends joining together to climb mountains and hike trails to represent their symbolic rise out of the darkness of maternal mental illness and into the light of hope and recovery.
I am a mom whose first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. I’ve birthed two sons in two different parts of Virginia. I am a survivor of pregnancy anxiety and postpartum depression and anxiety with my oldest son and postpartum anxiety with my second. I’ve seen a number of midwives, OB/GYNs, pediatricians, and lactation consultants, and therapists during my family building journey – all with varying knowledge of maternal mental illnesses and the resources in the area for struggling moms like me. And frankly? I’ve been outraged over it.
Postpartum Progress has helped me learn about my illnesses when professionals did little more than hand me a script for Zoloft and tell me I would feel better within a year. Postpartum Progress’ commitment to sharing the most up-to-date information on perinatal mental illnesses has given me the knowledge to be my own best advocate for my mental health, allowing me to stand my ground when one of the therapists I saw tried making me believe I caused damage my oldest son because I took Zoloft while breastfeeding (I didn’t). Postpartum Progress’ blog gave me much-needed assurance that I was not alone when I couldn’t bring myself to reach out to friends or family. And their online support group allowed me to vent and ask questions when I realized my new city didn’t have nearly as many resources for struggling mothers like me as the one I moved away from.
This is #WhyIClimb and I’ve participated in Climb Out of the Darkness every year. I want everyone to know about their amazing resources and community that have helped me over the last 5 years when my own healthcare providers fell short of what was necessary to help me.
I want to see Postpartum Progress continue their amazing work for mothers. Donations made leading up to the Climb means Postpartum Progress can continue to be the leading site and non-profit organization focused on postpartum depression. I’d love for you to support my Climb, but there might be one closer to where you live. Please consider joining or donating through them. Even a $10 donation has the power to help a mother who very desperately needs it.
To find a Climb near you, visit postpartumprogress.org/climb-out-of-the-darkness/. You can also search #ClimbOut on social media to see how Climbers from around the world are doing to crush stigma and raise awareness of maternal mental illnesses.