Each year, 1 in 7 women face maternal mental illness. That is a staggering statistic. In my personal experience, I’ve learned that once you face maternal mental illness once, you’re more likely to experience it again. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression nearly eight months after C was born. I fell through the cracks the first time. My OBGYN only asked me if I was “feeling depressed” at my 6-week appointment. There is so much more to depression than feeling depressed.

When I got pregnant with Baby Jo, I already had a plan in place in the event that I experienced a recurrence of an antenatal (during pregnancy) or postpartum mood disorder. My preparedness had a lot to do with the work of Postpartum Progress. Postpartum Progress is a non-profit organization supporting moms with postpartum depression, and is supported by tax-deductible donations. They work to raise awareness of postpartum depression and related disorders, and to provide more and better support to those who need it. If it wasn’t for the work of this excellent organization and the community of women I met through it, I would not have been adequately prepared for the antenatal and postpartum mood disorders (PPD, PPA, PPOCD) that I experienced with Baby Jo.

Kristin Novotny babywearing

I am now a two-time survivor of postpartum mood disorders. I climbed out of that dark hole twice and, let me tell you, it is a climb. That’s why I am leading a team in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on June 28th for the second annual Climb Out of the Darkness event. Team Green Bay will be climbing for the millions of women who experience these disorders every year. We’re climbing for ourselves, our children, and for all the women who need support in their personal climbs out of depression.

Please consider joining my team, either in person or in kind with a donation. If you are local to Green Bay, Wisconsin, I’d love to meet you and share this climb with you! You may register to climb with Team Green Bay or support us in donation through our team page on Crowdrise, by clicking here.

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