I am exceedingly honored to have Katherine Stone on the blog today. In 2004, Katherine founded Postpartum Progress after her own fight with postpartum OCD. This is truly one amazingly dedicated woman, working to “kick PPD’s ass” and I for one am here 110% to support her mission.
She very recently earned non-profit status (congratulations!) and is expanding her important work. Please consider supporting her efforts (as I have done) by making a financial contribution if you feel inspired to do so. Also, please check out her blog and the non-profit site for comprehensive resources for moms just like you and me, Warrior Moms, who are fighting postpartum and perinatal mood disorders. Thank you Katherine for sharing this valuable information, and for doing what you do for families.
GUEST POST By: Katherine Stone, Mom, Founder & Author, Postpartum Progress (the blog), Board President, Postpartum Progress Inc. (the nonprofit), Columnist, AOL’s ParentDish, Twitter: @postpartumprogr
Did you know that more women will suffer from postpartum depression and related illnesses in a year than the combined number of new cases for men andwomen of tuberculosis, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy?
In fact, there are nearly 1 million women each year developing new cases of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, compounded by several hundred thousand more still suffering from illnesses that were never treated the previous year, and at least 1 million children whose future health is at stake.
Did you also know that only 15 percent of women who suffer are receiving the professional help they and their families need and deserve? This is a major public health concern, given what we know about the long-term effects of untreated antenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety on both mom and baby.
While it is true that in the last decade people have begun speaking more openly about the topic of PPD, our experience with tens of thousands of mothers is that:
- Women still don’t always recognize when they have postpartum depression or a related illness
- They are afraid to reach out for help
- They often don’t know who to reach out to for help
- They are given misinformation by doctors and community members
- There are few supports available to them, especially in rural and low-income areas
Postpartum Progress Inc. (PPI) is a newly-formed non-profit focused on vastly improving the number and quality of services and support for women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like postpartum depression. Our mission is to ensure that as many pregnant women and new mothers as possible will:
- Know enough about all of the perinatal mood & anxiety disorders that they will recognize when they are suffering and be open to treatment;
- Know how and where to seek effective help;
- Feel safe and comfortable asking for help, and
- Have specialized services and support available to them no matter where they live.
One of Postpartum Progress Inc.’s projects is publishing the most widely-read blog on postpartum depression and anxiety, also called Postpartum Progress. It was created in 2004 and has since helped more than 450,000 women and healthcare providers. It is recommended as a resource to patients by such hospitals as Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of North Carolina Hospital.
Many technologically-savvy survivors of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders now proudly display Postpartum Progress Warrior Mom “badges” on their own websites and blogs. One wrote, after adding the Warrior Mom badge to her site, “I honestly never once thought of myself as a ‘Survivor.’ That perspective, that term, brings me a sense of peace I would have never, ever thought possible.” There are even moms getting Warrior Mom tattoos now!
Additionally, Postpartum Progress created the first (and only) public photo album – The Surviving & Thriving Mothers Photo Album – featuring the survivors of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders with their children, to combat negative stereotypes and stigma. The album now features more than 100 survivors, and we are adding more every year.
There’s much more on the way, so Postpartum Progress Inc. really needs your support. We are designing better patient education materials for hospital labor and delivery units, for instance. We can’t create the best and most compelling design possible — one that new moms won’t throw out — without funding for that design and for the production.
We hope you’ll consider making a donation to PPI help us continue and expand our work!