The Best Mother’s Day Gift of All

No, it’s not flowers.

No, not chocolate or even a day at the spa. (although…. nah……)

Seriously though.

I know about the best Mother’s Day Gift of All.

emoticon-1The first annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health.

The event starts on Mother’s Day at midnight and will include 24 of some of the most amazing women in the Postpartum/Perinatal field.

From survivors to experts, these women will come together for 24 hours at Postpartum Progress, the nation’s widest read blog about Perinatal Mood Disorders, written by none other than the fabulous Katherine Stone.

I’m deeply honored to be among these 24 women.

We’ve been asked to write open letters to new moms focusing on the importance of maternal mental health. Any angle, length, voice, etc.

Some of the featured authors (besides myself) are:

Rita Arens, editor of “Sleep Is For the Weak: The Best of the Mommybloggers” and author of the blog Surrender, Dorothy

Vicki Glembocki, author of “The Second Nine Months: One Woman Tells the Real Truth About Becoming A Mom … Finally” and featured blogger on with Blunt Force Mama

Catherine Connors, author of the very popular mommy blog Her Bad Mother and contributing editor at BlogHer

Therese Borchard, author of the hit daily blog “Beyond Blue” on Beliefnet, which is featured regularly on the Huffington Post, and editor of “The Imperfect Mom: Candid Confessions of Mothers Living in the Real World”

Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of “Sippy Cups Are Not For Chardonnay” and “Naptime is the New Happy Hour” and a regular on NBC’s “The Today Show”

Ruta Nonacs, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor and author of “A Deeper Shade of Blue: A Woman’s Guide to Recognizing & Treating Depression in Her Childbearing Years”

So as you’re celebrating Mother’s Day this Sunday take some time each hour (or even a bit of time at the end of the day) to read this amazing collection of work. I know I can’t wait to see the entire collection!


Postpartum Mood Disorder Awareness Month Proclaimed in IL!


Dr. Sarah Allen, Chair: 847 791 -7722,

Chicago, Illinois — Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is proclaiming May 2009 Postpartum Mood Disorders Awareness Month in order to raise awareness of the common illness experienced by moms and moms-to-be.

“I am proud to declare May 2009 as Postpartum Mood Disorders Awareness Month in Illinois. By increasing public awareness of these disorders, we can identify women who will benefit from treatment, saving them from unnecessary distress and suffering,” said Governor Quinn.

Here in Illinois, the Postpartum Depression Illinois Alliance (PPD IL) works to promote awareness, prevention and treatment of maternal mental health issues throughout the state. PPD IL offers a helpline (847-205-4455) and website ( for women and their families so they can learn more about pregnancy & postpartum mood disorders and access local resources such as support groups and trained healthcare providers.

“We want women to realize that they are not alone, they are not to blame and with help, you can be well again”. Dr. Sarah Allen, Chair PPD IL Alliance.

The PPD IL Alliance is choosing May, as it is home to Mother’s Day, to educate women and their families and friends about the nature of this illness. Approximately 15 – 20% of pregnant women and 15% of new mothers experience major or minor depression in the first year after giving birth. Symptoms differ for everyone but may include:

• Feelings of sadness, fear, anger and guilt
• Appetite & Sleep Disturbance
• Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
• Lack of interest in the baby
• Many worries and panic attacks
• Possible thoughts of harming the baby or oneself

“In this day and age, I think it’s deplorable that so many women still have to suffer in shame and silence with a disorder that, when identified and treated early, does not have to be an impediment to a woman and her family’s ability to enjoy the birth of a child,” said U. S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) who recently re-introduced H.R. 20, the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act of 2009. “I lend my voice and full support of the work of the PPD IL Alliance and other groups throughout our state and nation who are as committed as I am to working to ensure that all new mothers get the support they need to ensure that this special time of their lives is a safe, healthy and happy one.”

Symptoms of depression and anxiety occur in up to 20% of expectant and new moms, making these the most common complication of pregnancy, affecting nearly 1 million women every year in the United States alone. These emotional disorders cover a wide spectrum, including pregnancy depression and anxiety, postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder, postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder and postpartum psychosis. Yet despite their prevalence, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are under-detected by health care professionals and many women go without treatment.

Vanessa, a survivor of PPD describes her experience:
I was diagnosed with post partum depression 6 weeks after the birth of my son. I was sleep deprived, anxious, short tempered with my family, and plagued by horrible intrusive thoughts of my infant son falling over the balcony, or falling down the stairs. I also couldn’t look at knives and had to hide them away. I was so horrified by the vivid pictures of this in my head. As a result of these thoughts I could barely eat and was always nervous and anxious.
I knew this was not how it was supposed to be since I already had a 5 year old daughter and never suffered from these symptoms after her birth. I was afraid to be with my children alone so decided to stay with my mom for a few weeks. With medication and talk therapy I began my way to recovery. My saving grace was an online support group. I was able to read the feelings of others suffering and post my own. I felt an instant bond and was so thankful. I made a promise to myself and God that if I got through this horrible illness, I would help others. I was able to come off my antidepressant medication after 9 months and I became a moderator for and a telephone helpline volunteer for the PPD IL Alliance. My son is now 4 years old and I feel that time in my life was a blur. I make sure I spread the word about PPD and how common it really is. I feel that this illness was dealt to me for a positive reason. I am able to touch others that suffer and tell them that it isn’t a life sentence. PPD can be treated and cured.

PPD IL Alliance is the Illinois subsidiary of Postpartum Support International, the world’s largest non-profit organization supporting women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

For more information about pregnancy & postpartum mood disorders & PPMD Awareness month Contact: Dr. Sarah Allen, Chair IL PPD Alliance
847 791 -7722

MOTHER’S Act Blog Week Participation List

Welcome to Blog Week for the MOTHER’S Act

Above you’ll see a tab for the MOTHER’S Act Blog Week. Clicking on it will take you to more information (including a snazzy graphic) for this week’s action.

We want you to email Susan Stone @ Perinatal Pro to be added to the growing list of supporters for The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHER’S Act. This important legislation will aid with funding for increased legislation, education, awareness, and treatment services for mothers who struggle with insidious Perinatal Mood Disorders silently every day.

We also want you to call the Senate HELP Committee. Raise your voice and let them know you care and new Mothers DESERVE this legislation. They NEED it. The MOTHER’S Act will save lives!

Our movement here is applauded today by Sen. Robert Menendez, the primary sponsor of the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHER’S Act.

“Postpartum depression is a condition that is not only more widespread than most realize but also more debilitating than most realize,” said Menendez. “We need to make sure these mothers are fully supported and informed, rather than scared and alone. Working together with a nationwide community of mothers, we are so close to enacting this important legislation into law. What we need is an intense dose of public pressure. This Blog Day helps reinforce the type of grassroots movement that will create the pressure that is needed, and I commend the participants. I invite mothers, fathers and anyone else who believes we need to better support those with postpartum depression to contact their Senators and urge them to vocally support S.324”

Please leave a comment on this post with your blog post URL in which you encourage others to:

Email Susan Stone (

Provide a Link to Read the Bill

Include a link to Mary Jo Codey’s Interview

State whether or not you’ve called the H.E.L.P. Committee.

You can find links and more participation guidelines by clicking here.

Thank you for your participation. Don’t forget to pass it on!

Blog Week for Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHER’S Act starts at midnight!

candle-wicks1Are you excited?

I am!

Starting tonight at midnight, you’ll be able to get the low-down on all the details of this week’s blog campaign to show support for the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHER’S Act.

(By the way, there’s an interview with Mary Jo Codey on the way too!)

There will be blogging, twittering, facebooking, myspacing, DIGGing, and whatever other form of social media you’re into.

There will be calling.

There will be sharing, paying it forward, and strength in numbers as those of us dedicated to supporting new moms in the perinatal period raise our voices in support of this important legislation.

Even if you don’t do blogging or social media, call the H.E.L.P. Committee members to let them know you support this legislation. There will be a call script provided at midnight as well. And if you’re in the mood, there will also be a suggested letter to the editor for you to send into your local papers.

Let’s make this one for the record books, folks!

Blog Day 2009 for MBSMA: Speak up NOW!

Recently, I’ve joined forces with Susan Dowd Stone over at Perinatal Pro to support The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHER’S Act (or MBSMA.

I strongly support the passage of this legislation. I have been out in the cold without resources. It’s not a pretty place to be! I will not let another Mother struggle the way I have on my watch!

On April 20th, 2009, we’re holding an online rally. One we hope will spill over into the phone lines of the Senate H.E.L.P Committee and onto the desks of Senators on Mother’s Day, showcasing the support America has for the MBSMA!

The focus of this rally is to increase signatures to a growing list of supporters at Perinatal Pro and encourage phone calls to the Senate H.E.L.P. Committee in support of the MBSMA.

Grand Central for this rally will be here at Sharing the Journey where we’ll be featuring an interview with Mary Jo Codey, another tireless advocate for the MBSMA!

We’ll also have a list set up for you to register your blog posts. (Guidelines for participation in this list will be posted later this week) Don’t worry, if you don’t have a blog you can still participate by leaving a comment to let us know you’ve phoned the H.E.L.P. Committee. You’re also encouraged to email, twitter, or share the event at Facebook. (Click here for the Facebook Cause associated with this event)

Contact information for the H.E.L.P. Committee, a call script, and a quick Postpartum Mood Disorder Fact Sheet will also be provided. Just in case you’re wondering, no, you don’t have to be from the state of any of the H.E.L.P. Committee Members. It’s a federal committee so anyone can contact them regarding legislation in review.

The MBS MOTHER’S Act needs to be passed now. American Mothers cannot wait any longer. They do not deserve to suffer in silence and fear judgment from loved ones, from their community. They deserve to be educated about Postpartum Mood Disorders so they won’t feel guilty or confused when the harsh waves come crashing down around them after the birth of a loved child.

We’re not asking much.

Just your voice in support of the MBS MOTHER’S Act in one post at your blog. Your name added to the list of supporters at Perinatal Pro.

And in return you can rest easy knowing that you have brought light to a new Mother’s world.