A little over a month ago I attended the first ever Warrior Mom Conference hosted by Postpartum Progress. And I'm finally ready to write about it.
Let me just say that the act of packing my things and preparing to travel to Boston, (where I would be sharing a room with three total strangers for the weekend!) was no small task. Once again I focussed on those small, concrete tasks and ended up on the train into the city. On my walk from the train to the hotel, my eyes were darting all around me wondering "Could that woman I just passed by be another Warrior Mom?"
The night before the conference officially began there was an informal meet and greet at the hotel bar. I am NOT good at small talk but everyone was so excited to be there, so welcoming. People were recognizing each other from the Facebook groups we had been interacting in for months. It was both overwhelming and amazing feeling the presence of that many of us in one space for the first time.
The next morning it all began with this sign as we walked in:
And then this video
created by Jill Krause of Baby Rabies in collaboration with Jenn Labit of Cotton Babies:
After which, there was not a dry eye in the room. That video spoke to all of us. It spoke to me. When I was struggling the most, I had no idea that postpartum anxiety even existed. I learned about it through a divine accident when I stumbled upon Jill's blog post. And that's how I found Postpartum Progress. My daughter was over a year old when that happened. How my husband and I survived that first year of her life will always be a mystery to me. Reading that blog was my A-Ha! moment. I put a name to all the shitty feelings I was having and realized - Oh crap, I'm not alone.
The rest of the conference was a beautiful balance of emotional and educational support. It was personally fulfilling but also touched upon my love for professional development. The doula in me LOVED hearing about all of the resources and evidence based information I can now share with my clients. I feel like I have a mission to be more attentive during prenatal visits and postpartum work.
Friday evening brought us to a special dinner for all conference attendees. We dressed up, had a beautiful meal and celebrated all of us being together. That night I drummed up every bit of my courage and introduced myself to Jill. I told her my story, about how her blog helped pull me out of that terrible time. I thanked her for sharing something so deeply personal because, without it, I'm not certain how I would have found help or Postpartum Progress. As I took this picture with Jill and Katherine Stone it felt so surreal.
Being with these strong, fierce women that are putting themselves out there and throwing down ropes to help pull out the mamas that are currently struggling made me realize that I must do exactly the same thing.
This is something I am passionate about. Bringing awareness to postpartum mood disorders must be on my radar as a mom, as a doula and as a member of my local birth community. The Postpartum Progress Checklist for Maternal Mental Health is now something I am introducing to all of my clients. It's a step in the right direction and a way for me to throw down my rope.