Tag Archives: Climb Out of the Darkness

Warrior Mom, Climber of Mountains

22 Jun

I slept for almost 13 hours last night after climbing 4.2 miles and 4,300 feet up to the summit of Mt Washington for Climb Out of the Darkness yesterday. 13 glorious hours. And as I massage my sore muscles, I am struck by the fact that I just accomplished an amazing feat.

In the last five years, I have struggled with three lumbar disc ruptures, a neck strain that sent me to physical therapy, and have been diagnosed with kidney disease. I have birthed two babies, leaving my core in ruins and with little time or energy to care for myself. And I have found myself fighting to love my body where it is while also wanting it to be better – stronger and more healthy.

Conditioned by society and pop culture, despite the wisdom of my rational mind, I have pulled and tugged at my stomach, cursed my thighs, and wondered how I would ever teach my girls to love their own bodies, when I could find only criticism for mine.

But today, in the shadow of yesterday’s glory, I am inspired by what my body was able to do and the courage it took to continue up the mountain. One rock at a time, I ascended 4,300 feet into the clouds. Though my back ached and my legs wobbled beneath me, I pressed on, honoring my body’s strength for the first time in a very long time. I am filled with gratitude for each and every pound that carried me up the hills and traversed the ravine.

As I crawled up the final push yesterday, I said out loud, “this is for every morning I thought I couldn’t get out of bed. For that moment when motherhood so overwhelmed me that I wanted to run away and leave it all behind.”

I have always been a Warrior Mom. Now, I’m also a mountain climber. Watch out world, there’s nothing I can’t do.

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Melissa and Juli, Andrew and Saige, and my husband Adam. I could not have done it without your support. Thank you.

You can learn more about Climb Out of the Darkness HERE.

I’m Back

11 Jun

Recently, I stood in a public space for four hours and advertised my experience with postpartum depression and anxiety. You would think that after years of blogging about how I suffered, I’d be used to speaking about PPD, but there’s something unique about face-to-face interactions.

b.good benefitMy local b.good restaurant was kind enough to host a benefit night that my new friend and fundraising partner, Candice, cleverly named “Take a Bite Out of Stigma.”  We felt so professional, with our glossy signs and our fancy raffle tickets, and I’m convinced we appeared professional as we greeted customers, shared b.good tattoos (fake, I promise!) with the kids, and spoke about PPD.  But deep down?  There was a part of me that wanted to shrink back from the arena, that wanted to hide behind the 15 latex balloons that announced our presence.

But then?  Then my local bestie walked through the doors and I found myself squeeeeeeeing and running to hug her.  An older gentleman stepped through the doors only to walk back out and stand at our poster, reading carefully through the information, returning later to hand me a twenty dollar bill with only a few words exchanged.  I met moms who had a multitude of questions about PPD.  I saw old friends and heard about how I was inspiring people.  And I sat with Candice and we talked about our common hell over milkshakes and strawberry lemonade.

We walked out with over $250 for Postpartum Progress, a new partnership with a great local company, and a feeling of empowerment and sisterhood.

And now?  Now we have a new video promoting our Climb Out of the Darkness and the faces of our warrior moms, with an up-and-coming musician.

Special thanks to David Gray for the use of his beautiful new song.  It speaks right to the hearts of the Warrior Moms.  We?  Are BACK.  I have watched this as least 2 dozen times and it still gives me goosebumps.

You can donate to Climb Out of the Darkness HERE.  Those are the faces of your wives, your sisters, your daughters.  You neighbors, your childrens’ teachers.  Your mother.  Honor their recovery by supporting the recovery of moms just like them.

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All local donors can be entered to win our amazing local raffle, including a night tour of Wallace Observatory!

All non-local donors are entered to win a $20 gift certificate to my Etsy shop, Crocheted Happiness!

Phone It In Phriday

30 May

See what I did there?

I am buried in Climb Out of the Darkness (HAVE YOU DONATED YET?), Warrior Mom Conference, and preparing all the new hat designs for their July debut.  My music studio’s recital is this weekend, I’m exercising 6 days a week, and with the added responsibilities of household chores, I’m barely keeping up.

But as I lifted my bicycle onto the car rack yesterday, I had a thought.

Six months ago, I would NEVER have been able to do this.

Lift the bike.

Take both kids out for a ride on my own.

Juggle motherhood, two home businesses, non-profit work, and preparing a child for kindergarten.

Make phone calls to hospital executives and sound official.

Write sponsorship emails to major companies.

I may be phoning it in here, but I’m definitely in the arena in all the other areas of my life.  It’s a good kind of busy.  Amiyrah would call it “full.”  I like that.  Full.

My blog may be neglected.  My toilets may be dirty.  But my life is full.

gratuitous adorable toddler photo

gratuitous adorable toddler photo

 

Climb Out of the Darkness 2014

2 Apr

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 3.08.38 PM

I’ve written extensively about my experiences suffering from postpartum depression, postpartum OCD, and antenatal depression and anxiety.  I don’t shy away from telling how devastating my first couple of years as a mother were, both for me and my family.  And I’ve told you how I found myself severely depressed when I was only 7 weeks pregnant with my second baby.

Today, I’m asking for your help.  I’m asking for you to support my work as an advocate for moms, for babies, and for families.

Postpartum Progress, and its founder Katherine Stone, were instrumental in my path to wellness.  Because of Katherine, I found an amazing doctor who gave me the tools (and the medications) to make my second pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum experiences joyful.  Because of Katherine, I found support from mothers just like me.  Because of Katherine, I found my voice as an advocate and writer.

Postpartum Progress is growing, taking on new challenges and projects, and is as dedicated as ever to decreasing stigma and increasing awareness of antenatal and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders.  And that?  Takes money.

15-20% of all women will get a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder like postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. That’s 1 in every 7, more than the number of women who will get breast cancer.  That’s your mother, your sister, your daughter, your friend.  And quite possibly, you.

Please help me help new moms by donating to my Climb Out of the Darkness hike!  I’ll be climbing Mt. Washington with a team of women from Massachusetts and New Hampshire in June!  Yup, climbing a mountain.  Me.  Because that’s how much I love Katherine and believe in what Postpartum Progress is doing for women all over the world.

If you can’t donate, please pass this along.  Ask your friends, family, neighbors.  Let them know there is an army of Warrior Moms hiking in solidarity in June on the Summer Solstice.  Together we can drop kick despair.

Talking Climb Out and PPD With My Oldest Daughter

20 Jun

If you’d like to donate to our hike, head on over to Crowdrise!

Climbing Out of the Darkness

3 Jun
As you may know, I do a lot of work with Postpartum Progress, a nonprofit that helped to give me back my life when I was suffering from postpartum depression after Emily’s birth and to get quick and successful treatment for the antenatal depression that struck during my pregnancy with Sydney.

Climb Out of the Darkness

Thanks to Katherine Stone (the founder of the nonprofit and blog) as well as the community of women I met through Postpartum Progress:

– I was connected to one of the top perinatal psychiatrists in the country.
– I’ve made lifelong friends & have built a solid support network both online and off.
– I’ve become empowered to write about my experiences and help other new moms who may be suffering.

I’ve recovered from postpartum depression, and even though I still live with an anxiety disorder, the support & resources I received through Postpartum Progress continue to benefit me today.   My battle with PPD was hard-fought and that’s why I’m committed to helping moms learn the facts about perinatal mood disorders, removing the cultural stigma surrounding mental illness, and making sure moms who are struggling have a reliable place they can go to for support and resources.

To honor my victory over PPD, inspire others who are still struggling, and support the work of Postpartum Progress, the family and I are participating in Climb Out of the Darkness; a national event to raise money and raise awareness. We’ll be joining mamas and their families in 36 states (and 6 countries!) as they hike and climb their way through trails, hills, and mountains on June 21st and 22nd.

Money raised from this event will fund two specific projects:

 1) Create an info-graphic that correctly represents the prevalence of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders as well as its impact on society for use with the media and to raise awareness.

2) An info sheet for moms that would be available in doctor’s offices about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and getting help. It can be used anywhere in the world but this first version will be in English — if we raise enough money we will do French and Spanish as well. While there are pamphlets out there, we feel they don’t do enough to educate new parents or get them the real help they need.

I’ll be doing my hike with the girls on Saturday, June 22nd at Great brook Farm State Park near our home – would you please consider making a donation in my honor? It can be any amount.

If you are able to do so, thank you! If not, I understand and all I ask is that you please share this post and info with others who might be willing to help fund our efforts.

If you live nearby and would like to join us on our hike, please let me know!  We have two families already joining us!

Thank you so much.  It’s hard for me to ask for help (and truthfully? hiking is not my cup of tea) but I believe in what Katherine Stone and Postpartum Progress are doing.  She changed my life.

Susan

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