We are thrilled to introduce you to Becky and Sarah and to be sharing the story of how two Milwaukee area moms saw a need, grabbed hold of a dream and ran full speed ahead to make it a reality. What a honor it is to partner with Moms Mental Health Initiative through the entire month of May as we explore postpartum mental health.
When we first met in person at an event to raise awareness about postpartum depression, there was a connection not only between two women who had suffered through a similar hell, but a mutual passion to help all moms suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs).
In the weeks after meeting, we couldn’t stop talking about the things we were hearing from moms in our community. The conversations sounded something like this ::
I talked to a mom who said she has to wait months to see a psychiatrist.
This mom feels so alone. She said her doctor was of no help.
A mom called me today who doesn’t know what to do; she’s even too afraid to tell her husband how she’s been feeling.
After publicly sharing our own struggles with PMADs, moms were reaching out to us from what felt like every corner of our worlds. It became evident that there were not enough resources in our community to help women and families affected by PMADs, and the few resources that did exist weren’t exactly easy to find.
Our vision of helping moms in our community started out small — a website that women in the Greater Milwaukee Area could quickly find through a Google search, click on a list of providers, and then connect with someone who seemed like a good fit.
But after almost two years of brainstorming during our toddlers’ playdates, we decided that our community needed much more than just a website. It needed an initiative aimed at transforming maternal mental health care in the Greater Milwaukee Area.
And so we created Moms Mental Health Initiative.
The cornerstone of our organization is our mom to mom support. We facilitate a private, judgement-free online support group for moms in our community who are experiencing PMADs. We know that moms suffering from these illnesses are often hesitant to talk about their symptoms. They know something is wrong, but they don’t always have enough information to recognize they are suffering from common and treatable mental illnesses. There’s also the stigma that keeps moms from seeking the help they need.
Moms Mental Health Initiative works to break down these barriers to treatment. A mom can come to us first, and through talking with other moms who have experienced something similar, she can begin to see that she’s not alone, and that with the right help, she can get better. We hope to provide the education, support, and hope she needs to get on a path to recovery.
In addition to providing mom to mom support, we are building strategic relationships with health care providers all over the Greater Milwaukee Area who we trust will take good care of the moms we refer to them. That means they have extra training or substantial professional experience caring for women with PMADs. We trust them, so moms can too.
And lastly, we are working hard to educate all of those in our community who are interfacing with women who are pregnant or recently gave birth. Our hope is that all health care providers and even other moms in the community will have enough information to recognize women who are at risk and refer them to Moms Mental Health Initiative where they can find further resources and support.
We won’t necessarily stop there. There are many other things we hope to do, like influence federal and state public policy regarding postpartum depression, and offer professional trainings. The work will get done because it’s what moms and families deserve. Stay tuned!
If you or someone you know if a mom struggling with emotional complications during pregnancy or after giving birth, you are not alone. Our hope is that this upcoming mental health series brings you encouragement and support. We are enthusiastic and confident in our endorsement of Moms Mental Health Initiative and would love for you to explore their site to get connected to resources to help.