Monday, June 13, 2016

Why I Climb

On Saturday, I will lead Team Hoboken's fourth annual Climb Out of the Darkness, to benefit Postpartum Progress and shine a light on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. There are more than 180 Climbs around the world - find one near you here.
I Climb because...
... perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are the most common complication of pregnancy, affecting around 20% of all new mothers.
... only 15% of the women who are affected, get help. That leaves 85% suffering silently - or not even realizing that they are suffering at all, and thinking this is just how motherhood is supposed to be.
... suicide is the second leading cause of maternal death in the first year postpartum.

I Climb because...
...I felt so isolated and alone. So unbelievably sad. So full of despair. So sure that I had ruined my life by becoming a mother. 
...I sobbed loudly, let tears run silently, and tried to find the words to explain how I felt, but couldn't. ...I stopped eating, barely slept and could hardly speak. 
...I couldn't meet my daughter's eyes, for fear of her seeing how I just didn't care. 
...I froze with fear every time she stirred, anxious at the thought of having to take care of her. 
...I froze with fear every time she slept, anxious at the thought of her stirring. 
...I spent months "going through the motions" of motherhood, trying to feel, bond and love.
... I made lists: lullabies to sing to her. Activities to try with her. Schedules to stick to. Anything to make it through yet another day. 
...I can't imagine how those weeks and months were for Evan, who juggled work, our colicky and reflux-suffering newborn, and the care I needed. For my parents, sister, in-laws and friends, who watched me crumble constantly. 
...I handed my baby to anyone who offered to help - baby nurses, friends, family members, anyone. If it gave me a moment of reprieve, I took advantage. 
I Climb because...
... Postpartum Progress was a crucial part of my recovery. Their tools, resources, stories, information, forums, Daily Hope emails and community of Warrior Moms were instrumental in letting me know I was NOT isolated and alone. I would get better.
... I got better. I slowly but surely had more good hours than bad, then good days than bad, and then good weeks than bad.
... every time I share my story with an audience - be that in a magazine, at a conference or at the playground or a five-year-old's birthday party - at least one person shares their struggle with me. Every. Single Time.
... every time I get a call, text, email or Facebook message from a suffering mom, I drop whatever I'm doing to connect them with help. To listen to them. To work through that day's struggle with them. 
... these calls, texts, emails and Facebook messages come from friends, friends of friends, neighbors and total strangers, all seeking support from someone who has been there.
... every time I help a mom, I tear up, flash back to my own dark days, and then heal a little bit more myself.

But really? This right here is #WhyIClimb.
           Family.           Love.          Support.          Healing.           

To help moms like these: 
And these: