When I started this blog chronicling my survival as a mother postpartum, I sought out other blogs with a similar focus. My research took me all the way to South Africa. I found Lebogang and her blog, For His Love. A woman living a totally different life in a totally different part of the world felt the exact same way as me. I was so glad to read my story on her pages with a different set of characters and timeline, especially since she was further along in her story, which meant I, too, would make it. After all, that’s what the badge in the bottom right hand corner of her page said:
I survived postpartum depression. You can too.
This image was like a magic talisman to me. I clicked on it, half-expecting, I think, the spontaneous appearance of the how-to handbook for solving all my problems. This mythical handbook did not appear – but Postpartum Progress did, which is, really, the next best thing.
Postpartum Progress is the brainchild of Katherine Stone. She has built and branded a maternal mental health empire. It started, as she says, with the blog, then a conference, and is now building its nonprofit status. But while it started with Stone and her own struggle with postpartum OCD, its success is in the amazing community she’s created for women who all-too-often feel completely alone.
Simply their social media feed is enough to inspire hope, with affirmations, informational tidbits, and links to in-depth articles. The blog and website offer a wealth of information and resources, that would help any woman while away the wee hours of the panicked postpartum morning before the doctor’s office opens. And that may be precisely the point that Postpartum Progress exists. To offer a voice and ear 24/7 to a struggling population whose problems do not adhere to office hours and are not as cut and dry as a short symptom list.
A disclaimer on all their pages states that the information and advice is not a substitute for professional care and consultation. However, it is a place to start the journey and a companion throughout it. It offers a place for women who have no vocal allies in their everyday lives, due to stigma, to find friends and examples of success despite struggle.
It is organizations like Postpartum Progress that give me hope for the empowerment, validation, and vindication of all women suffering from perinatal mood disorders. Even ones like me, who are post postpartum.