Treatment

Mothers & More Summerville Supports Grants for Women with Postpartum Mental Health Disorders

The Summerville Chapter of Mothers & More has donated more than $4,000 to Postpartum Support Charleston – a decision that came after the national organization of Mothers & More disbanded and the local chapter closed.

As the national organization closed, so did all the chapters, including Chapter 15 with 30 members in Summerville. Because all money raised by Chapter 15 was done so under the Mothers & More name, all funds were required to be turned back into the national organization when the closing date came. Prior to that, the group voted to donate its funds to Postpartum Support Charleston, explained Keri Scougale, former co-leader of Mothers & More Chapter 15.

Members of Mothers & More have launched a new organization, Summerville Moms, which now has almost 40 members. Summerville Moms is continuing where Mothers & More left off by being dedicated to improving the lives of mothers through support, connection and advocacy.

“There was no way to know if we would see any of that money again, but when we got the call that the majority of the funds we worked so hard to raise here locally were able to stay close to home and benefit other mothers in the Lowcountry, we were elated,” said Scougale, current co-leader of Summerville Moms. “As a chapter that was thriving, the closing of Mothers & More was very upsetting to all of us, but we’re glad to see something good come out of it. We are proud and honored to be able to help Postpartum Support Charleston and support their mission.”

The donation of $4,014.75 will further the work Postpartum Support Charleston helping Charleston area mothers struggling with postpartum mental health issues, such as postpartum depression or anxiety.

“This generous donation from Mothers & More Summerville chapter will allow our organization to do so much for mothers in the Lowcountry suffering with postpartum depression and anxiety,” explained Elaine DeaKyne, Postpartum Support Charleston board president. “Not only will we be able to provide more grants to mothers looking for financial assistance with therapy, but this will gives us an amazing opportunity to give back to the Summerville community. We have long talked about bringing a support group and providing more outreach materials to the Summerville area, and this money will allow us to continue spreading our message and offering much needed support to this community.”

Postpartum Support Charleston, run largely by volunteers, works with the local medical community to educate health care providers about postpartum mental health as well educating new moms, moms-to-be and their families about this issue. PSC also offers a number of peer-led support groups for moms who are struggling with postpartum mental health issues. For more information, visit www.PPDSupport.org.

About Postpartum Support Charleston Postpartum Support Charleston is dedicated to educating and supporting mothers and their families, the medical community and the general public about the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression, available treatment options and community resources. We strive to increase awareness, inspire support and break the stigma of this widespread and often misunderstood illness both in our local community and across the country. For more information, visit www.PPDSupport.org.

I Can't Hear You

By: Graeme Seabrook.

People ask me quite regularly about what it took for me to get better. Usually these people are mamas who are suffering and they want a formula, some path they can follow back to their old selves.

I did so, so many things to get better. Almost anything that I heard about or read about I would try. I went to therapy and took medication. I exercised and (sort of) ate better. I made rest a priority and drank more water. I took vitamins and considered acupuncture. Woman Using Megaphone

Writing saved me. Telling my story saved my life, my relationship and my sense of myself as a mother. I couldn't have done the writing without the therapy and the medication, I want to be very clear about that. Everything else that I was doing was also quite helpful, but writing was the key for me.

What I couldn't have known at the time, but what keeps me going on rough days now, is that my writing didn't save just me. My writing reached other women and encouraged them to reach out for the help they needed. My writing reached family members of women who were suffering and gave them hope and resources to help their wife, girlfriend, sister, daughter to heal.

photodune-1061133-woman-with-megaphone-xs-300x199Each of us, every single survivor, is immensely powerful.  Right now there is a mama out there struggling with intrusive thoughts. She thinks she's going crazy. She thinks if she tells anyone they will take her baby. She thinks she's alone. Your story could save her. You could save the mom who can't get out of bed, you could save the mom who can't stop moving, or the one who has washed her children's clothing four times today because she can't stop worrying about that sniffle that's going around.

Telling your story can be healing and empowering. It can free you and lift you. It can help you to look back and forgive yourself and others. It can also help you move someone forward. It can be the hand reaching through the darkness to pull another mama up to the light. Each of our stories is unique and uniquely powerful.

Any day now my daughter will be born and I'll be stepping away from this blog for a few weeks. I already have some great posts lined up from women all over this country who have fought and survived or are fighting a maternal mental illness. If you would like to raise your voice I'd love to have you! Please email me at andrewsmamag@gmail.com.  If there is a place where you share your story and connect with other mamas we would love to know about it! Please leave a comment on this blog.

H.O.P.E.

Hold On Pain Ends

Hope. It's essential. It's vital. It gives us strength and comfort. It can get us through the darkest night. For so many women it is the one thing they desperately need to get through the postpartum period. Hope that they won't always feel like this. Hope that this won't harm their children. Hope that their relationships can survive this. Hope that someone will understand. Hope that someone will help.

Hope is one of the first things that Postpartum Depression, Anxiety and OCD tries to steal from you. Depression tells you that no one cares, Anxiety tells you that you are ruining everything, OCD tells you that you will hurt or be unable to protect your baby. They are liars. But when your own brains seems to have turned on you, where do you find hope? How do you hold on until the pain ends when you honestly can't see an end to the pain?

HopeThis is why we are here. THIS is what we do. You may have noticed that our tagline - "Educating. Supporting. Healing." We exist to show moms, dads, families, and providers that there is a way out of this. Each path is different. Some include medication, therapy, support groups, online groups, diet changes, exercise, vitamins, acupuncture, massage... there are as many paths as there are women. The important thing is that there is also hope.

950,000 women will suffer from a maternal mental illness (depression, anxiety, OCD or psychosis) each year. That's 1 in 5 new moms. What they need most of all is hope. They need to know that they are not alone, that in fact they are far from being alone. They need to know that they can reach out for help and help will reach back. They need to know that if they can just Hold On, Pain Ends.

How can you help? You can share this post with a new or expecting mama. You can share it on social media. You can contact us and volunteer.  You can donate time or money or both! You can ask a new mom how she is doing - and listen to her answer.

If you need help please reach out. Please know that we are here. Please Hold On until the Pain Ends. Please have HOPE.

By: Graeme Seabrook.

You Were Never Alone

By: Graeme Seabrook.

I hear it all the time: I thought I was the only one! I hear it in support groups and I read it in the comments on blogs and on Facebook. I hear it over the phone and I read it via messenger. Each mother is totally and completely sure that she is alone in her illness, that she is the worst to ever have these symptoms and that it is her fault.

Approximately 950,000 mothers will suffer from a Maternal Mental Illness each year. That is almost ONE MILLION MOMS. That is more than four times the number of women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer about 210,000.

Not only are you not alone now, you never were alone. When your world drained of color and everything turned grey, you were not alone. You were not the only mother who threw all of the knives out of the house or who wouldn't go near the stairs or the bathtub because of the images in your head you couldn't control. You weren't alone when you were raging and screaming or when you broke down afterwards from the guilt and fear. You were never, ever alone.

holding-hands1Right now there are almost a million moms all across this country who are right there with you. They are at work, at school, driving carpool and making dinner. They are questioning and second guessing and hating themselves and wishing it could be different.

They are going to therapy and to the doctor. They are going to acupuncture and yoga and running and swimming and coloring and dancing and they are trying so hard to be kind to themselves and to heal.

They are reaching out to each other and opening up to each other and they are discovering that they are not alone. They were never, ever alone.

They are deep in the depths and they are climbing towards the light. They are in recovery and they are recovering from the recovery. They are deciding not to have children again and they are announcing pregnancies and they are leaving things up to fate.

They are learning to turn guilt into regret and let it go and they are teaching and supporting each other on that road.

None of us were ever alone. When you felt like you were in the deepest hole and could not, should not ever be rescued I was right there too. I felt that too. Every year almost a million moms will join us. None of them will ever be alone either, even when they don't know it, because we are already here.

So, what can you do? Oh, so many things!

Tell your story, if you're ready. Telling your story, to a friend or on a blog or in the comments section on another post - telling your story anywhere can be so powerful and freeing.

Tell a pregnant friend: Tell her that 1 in 5 new moms will develop this complication of childbirth and that if she does there is so much help available to her.

Get and give support: Find a local support group and join! Go to get help or go to give it. Go. We offer three support groups each month, with more to come!

Most of all remember:

We are here. We will be here. You are not alone. You never were.

ME TOO.

By: Graeme Seabrook.

To me those are the most powerful words in the English language. In any language, come to think of it.

When my son was born I lost myself. I became an angry, sensitive, anxious, scared, jumpy woman who tried to cover all of those feelings and who failed. I failed a lot.

Family and friends told me that they loved me. My mom told me that I was a great mother. She told everyone how great a mother I was. It made me feel like the biggest fraud on the planet.

My family told me exercise and fresh air would help.

My doctor told me that medication would help.

My therapist told me that talking about it would help.

I took walks, I took the pills and I spilled my secrets and I waited to feel better, to feel normal. And I did feel a little better, but I still felt so alone.

Then, one day I wrote a blog post about what I was going through. I wrote about the panic attacks when I tried to leave the house and the anger that seemed to come out of nowhere. I wrote about sleepless nights and how desperate I was to just enjoy my baby and how heavy the guilt was that I couldn’t. I clicked ‘Publish’ and I waited for the condemnation to roll in.

The first comment was simply two words on my Facebook page: Me too.

And I started to cry. I rocked and cried while the emails and comments and messages came in one after the other from moms who were going through the same thing, or who had gotten through it. That is when I really started to feel better.

METOOWe are, none of us, alone. About 950,000 of us will suffer from a maternal mental illness each year. That’s 1 in 5 moms. When you are struggling it can feel like you are all alone, but here’s the thing you need to know: Depression LIES. Anxiety? LIES. OCD? LIES!

There are so many moms just like you, and me. We are stronger when we are together, when we can look each other in the eye and say: Me too.

We would love to have you join us at one of the three support groups that we run in the Charleston area. Please click on this link for more information.