Last weekend, my family and I were privileged to take part in Postpartum Progress’s Climb Out of the Darkness in the South Sound. Before we left my son asked the following questions?
“What is the walk about? It is walking and grabbing moms along the way for support?”
Children so often utter profound truths if we listen closely.
June 18 started out dark and drizzly. This seemed an appropriate way to start an event symbolizing the climb from darkness into light. Nearly 100 men, women and children walked around Capital Lake together, bringing hope and awareness of perinatal mood disorders.
Picture strollers filled with toddlers wearing capes declaring that their mammas are warriors. Older children walked with their parents. I walked with my children’s hands in mine and my brightly clad husband nearby.
More than 600,000 women will experience postpartum depression this year. Postpartum Progress’s research indicates that 1 in 4 new moms will experience symptoms such loss of appetite, sleep difficulties, anxiety, rage, sadness, withdrawal, a constant feeling of being overwhelmed, or a lack of interest in her child. The Climb Out of the Darkness walks that take place across the country are to encourage and support every one of those women, because no mom should ever feel alone.
This year the South Sound team raised $10,000 to further the mission of Postpartum Progress. The money will be used to advocate for support and resources for new moms, provide free education material to doctor’s offices and support groups, maintain private support forums for struggling moms, and train survivors of maternal mental illness to be effective peer support leaders.
Leading the charge here in Olympia were Kristin Jacobson and Jessica Juergens, fearless warrior moms who dedicate countless hours every year to making sure no mom feels alone or unsupported during the wild roller-coaster that is postpartum mental health. When we reached the base of the hill we were to climb, each woman threw away something that was holding her back. I threw away self-doubt, written neatly on a river rock. I then cared a hope stone up the hill and into the light and beauty found at the top.
With my family and these brave women surrounding me, I knew we could accomplish anything. I know that next year will be just as powerful and inspiring as this year’s walk. I encourage each of you to join me next June.