I’ve been home for a few days now from Postpartum Progress’ first ever Warrior Mom Conference. In these past few days I have gone through a plethora of thoughts and emotions I haven’t experienced in awhile. There is such an emptiness when you leave people who understand you without question and support you without judgment. I realize, I miss my tribe.
|Warrior Moms at the Informal Meet & Greet… can you see me?|
This whole whirlwind of a weekend started early afternoon on Friday when I met a fellow Warrior Mom with my Climb Co-leader as we ventured from small town Connecticut to the booming Beantown of Boston. The drive was long and very traffic filled. Anxiety rose in me (I hate traffic). Nerves were twitching in my body but I was with company that completely understood. When we finally reached our hotel, The Lenox, in the Back Bay area of Boston, I was instantly hugged by Postpartum Progress’ founder, Katherine Stone, followed by several other wonderful Warrior Moms. I was in an overwhelmed trance… long drive, finally being around all these beautiful women…
Then we met the Warrior Mom who traveled the furthest, all the way from England. A remarkable woman I am glad to call my friend. Starving, we all went to dinner and gabbed on about things moms talk about… our kids. Following this much needed dinner was an Informal Meet & Greet. Let’s just say us Warrior Moms took over the hotel bar! So many hugs, so many drinks, so many more hugs!
|Banner provided by our fabulous sponsor, Cotton Babies|
|Warrior Mom Selfie (yes we used a Selfie Stick) early Saturday morning|
Saturday was an intense day of learning. First off was and introduction by Warrior Mom-In-Chief Katherine Stone and the conference coordinator, Susan Petcher. We had a variety of speakers that taught us about Self-Fullness, Privilege, Postpartum Illness statistics… I am a lover of learning and embraced all the information. First was Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders: The Basics by Dr. Ruth Nonacs. In this seminar we learned all the factors that could cause Postpartum Depression and several treatment options including non-medicinal treatments such as psychotherapy, light therapy and possibly acupuncture. Next came Range of Perinatal Emotional Complications by Mara Acel Green, LCSW. Did you know how rare Postpartum Psychosis is? It only occurs 0.01%-0.02% of the time. Did you know that Paternal Depression has a 10% rate? And yet with the overwhelming statistic of over 85% of women who will have a Postpartum Illness, sadly only 14% of them will seek help. Up third was Dr. Lakeisha Sumner who discussed the rates of Postpartum Depression in women of color. I loved a term she used: H.O.P.E. – Hold On, Pain Ends. So true. She was followed by Peggy Kaufman who taught us about connection and how one size does not fit all. My favorite seminar was Kate Kripke’s Thriving In Motherhood After Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders. I learned that it is okay to give myself self care (or Self-Fullness as she described) and not feel guilty about it. I learned how to become a thriving mother. Lastly, we heard from Divya Kumar, SCM, CPD, CLC with Expanding Outreach To Underserved Communities. She spoke of privilege or lack of and intersectionality.
The day didn’t end there…
|Pilates Self Care (I’m at the far left)|
Then we branched out to various Self Care groups late afternoon, I jumped at the chance to attend the Beginner Pilates class. I love the one we have at work and couldn’t wait to get some exercise in from a long day of sitting. Taking deep breaths in and letting the air out was like a rebirth to my system that has been suffering so long from Depression and Anxiety. It was a much needed relaxation break.
Quickly after, it was dinner time. All of us Warrior Moms who were comfortably dressed in Tees and Yoga Pants now were out in style. Glammed up for a mouthwatering dinner of steak or halibut. The night was led off with fabulous speeches by Susan Petcher, the organizer of this event, and Deborah Rimmler. At the end of Deborah’s toast, she read this poem created to the tone of Paul Revere’s ride. It was a beautiful reminder of how strong we all are.
|Ready for the Warrior Mom Dinner|
Katherine Stone and Myself
Sunday made everyone cry. I am usually more emotional but I think my medications tend to hold me back so my crying was limited to tiny tears. We first discussed how we could help in Social Media. I appreciated the comment made that even if our blogs get just 1 reader, we are still making a difference. If we help just 1 person and that person helps someone else, we have started a snowball effect. Next came the crying. I had the great responsibility of being a MotherWoman Peer Facilitator for this event. First we watched their emotionally engaging video (there was not 1 dry eye in the room including myself) and then we split into groups of 10 or less. Like Kismet, I was placed with my Co-Facilitator in the Forest Green room (must of known I LOVE green). We shared our stories, what we have learned and what we still need to do.
The common theme amongst us all was… GUILT. (Or should I say, REGRET).
Regret of time we missed with our children. Regret of feelings we had toward our children. Regret because we went to get pedicures or hiked and left our children. Regret, regret, regret. It was during this session that I realized even though I will be Postpartum Depression & Anxiety free for almost 9 years, I still carry some residual demons from back then. I still feel guilty/regret for missing almost 2 weeks of my newborn daughter’s life being in the hospital. I still feel guilty/regret for what I put my husband and family through. Then I feel guilty (no regret here) for still blaming myself for everything.
|Another great banner by Cotton Babies|
When I arrived at work Monday morning, I was filled with emptiness. It was quiet at my desk when only a day before was filled with chatter of many women, my tribe. I couldn’t feel on Monday. I wanted to turn back time. Of course being the women we are, we filled our Facebook group with chatter and emotion so that emptiness could fade. Now I am happy. Happy to be home to hug and kiss my daughter I once hated. Happy to spend time with my best friend, my husband. Happy to have met all these lovely ladies and happy to know they are still there in internet land when I need them and I am there for them when they need me. Happy knowing…
I AM THE BEST MOTHER FOR MY CHILD AND I’M ONE GOOD MOM!