Its easy to feel alone when you’re in the midst of postpartum depression. Isolated, insecure, anxious, paranoid. You feel like something is fundamentally wrong with you…like no one in the world will understand…like no one will be able to help you. Its heartbreaking to be in that pit when you see other moms around you enjoying their babies.
Its also easy to feel alone when you’re working as an advocate for moms mental health. Its an uphill battle. There’s an unbelievable amount of misinformation and ignorance. Negative stories, sensationalism, terrible comments on stories and blog posts that can be so disheartening. It can sometimes make you feel like giving up.
As a mental illness fighter and mental health advocate I understand both sides of the coin, so I’m constantly inspired by the work Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress continues to accomplish. This week she celebrates TEN YEARS fighting for moms mental health, and in that time has built a community of warrior moms who are there for each other, who educate and inspire each other. She’s a leader, a resource, a friend.
In all that time, she has never given up. Her passion and dedication is unparalleled.
And the movement created by Postpartum Progress is bring families back. It is kicking PPD Ass and taking names.
I officially met Katherine in 2011 at BlogHer where I took her Pathfinder Day session “blog as change agent.” I was just a little newbie blogger, so green and uneducated about blogging, but Katherine always showed respect. She saw my passion and encouraged me.
She asked me to write for Postpartum Progress back then and after a short time I started struggling with my own mental health and backed away. She never once made me feel guilty for it. I of course had my own guilt to deal with, but when I finally told her what was going on her response was “Why didn’t you tell me?” not why did you stop writing, but what can I do to help.
That pretty much sums up Katherine for me: what can I do to help?
What can we do for moms and families dealing with Postpartum Mood Disorders?
How can we better educate doctors?
How can we educate media?
How can we better educate families?
How can we continue to build our support community?
How can we make a bigger impact?
For ten years she has stepped away from a paycheck to do what in her heart she believes in vital for families. I hope she’s been paid in an abundance of love and kindness because that’s what she’s given to those of us privileged to know and love her.
Last year, I saw Katherine again at BlogHer 2013. We got to participate in the BlogHer Fashion Show together, which was fun but nerve-wracking for those of us who are more reserved, shy and anxious. I could be wrong but I feel another kinship with Katherine in that as well.
She does what she does regardless of fear or shyness, and that takes strength and courage. She’s one of my mental health heros.
Thank you Katherine for all that you do! And thank you to all those who are a part of Postpartum Progress. Each one of us is making a difference in the lives of families. We’ve created a movement led by a very special lady.
Are you struggling during pregnancy or postpartum? Do you know a loved one who is? Send them to Postpartum Progress.
Also for more information, here is a great piece by CNN that just ran this week.