While we enjoyed all the workshops that the LPA National Conference had for us, we also loved participating in other events- like the Fashion Show! Check out Addie in her first appearance in the LPA Fashion show at #lpaSD2014!
Tag Archives: LPA
We went to Dan Diego for the LPA National this year, and though it’s only our second National Conference, like last year, I was blown away by the fantastic hotel that was chosen as the main site. The Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego offered many comforts in the rooms, wonderful on-site food, is within walking distance to all-things awesome, and has gorgeous views from both towers (where guest rooms are located)!
When we pulled up to the hotel, it was about 1am. Eight of us unloaded from a shuttle service we’d all taken for a nominal fee from the airport located just a few miles away. Immediately men were there to take our bags and help us to the front desk where I checked in and asked a bunch of questions pertaining to our reservation. Because we were staying there under the conference rate (unbeatable) and when I’d first booked the night of July 4th was full, I ended up needing to make 2 different reservations to get the dates we wanted. Though understandable, I was bummed to learn that we would have to switch rooms the next day, but not to worry about that- we could stay in the room as long as was necessary to get our other room ready- a HUGE relief when you’re talking toddler, luggage and pregnant mama.
We started out in the Harbor Tower, getting to our room, searching through our suitcases stuffed with rolled up clothes until we found our PJs and toothbrushes, then passed out in the comfy bed. I was happy that although it was the 4th of July and there was a lot of celebrating going on, I didn’t hear it through the walls. We were able to get a great night’s sleep, and thanks to the time change and a nap on the plane, we were up pretty early!
We wandered out to get breakfast at Café 222 (I’ll tell you all about that in another post) and then we headed back to the hotel… on our way stopping at an awesome playground and community garden to swing, walk, and talk about outdoor gardening all-year long! It was SO cool to just happen upon a superbly clean (not even a cigarette butt or graffiti in sight) city play area with such a beautiful garden and maintained path.
When we got back to the hotel from our breakfast and walk, we packed up anything that had been unpacked, checked out the view and then got a call that my parents had arrived! Addie was just ready for a nap, so Dave went to meet them and collect their luggage until their room was ready- awesomely, by the time he got down to the lobby, their room was already ready (3 hours before check-in time!) and he helped them get to their room and settle in before he headed out for some snacks.
When he returned, we moved into the room where we would stay for the remainder of our time with the help of a bellhop and a sleeping toddler perched on my shoulder. This time our room was in the other tower, the Seaport Tower, on the 29th floor. Because we had to switch rooms, they actually gave us a higher floor (better view) without asking! The rooms were almost identical, with the biggest difference being that the bathroom layout was a bit different making the door open as you would expect, where the first room it slid open (which was really cool!).
We had a room with 2 double beds, thinking Addie would be in her own bed, but because she’s two, she ended up in our bed most nights- which made me wish we’d gotten a king, but the beds were comfy and we made it work! The table by the window was great for sitting and looking out over the city and I loved that we had a comfy chair so that I could sit and read while Addie napped (everyone made use of that chair for the same reason!). We also could relax in the room with the single-serve coffee and teas they provided which were actually good! The desk in the room was perfect for getting the work done that I could without WiFi, which was only free in the lobby, and the large TV in the room got PBS- making everyone happy when the adults wanted an extra 10 minutes of prep time and the Miss wanted to go, go, go on an adventure (from the Cat in the Hat theme song!).
The biggest drawback of the room was the fridge that was not only really small, but didn’t get cold enough to hold anything that could spoil. At conferences, we like to bring or buy food while we are there to save money on eating out, but not having refrigeration made that hard. Being able to rent a microwave for the room, however, is pretty awesome! The sink in the bathroom also seemed really high- and I’m tall. While the look is clean and modern (which I love), it’s not easy to actually use (I stood on my toes to wash my face over the sink without spilling water everywhere).
Finally, the pool! While we didn’t make it to the pool designated for adults only, we did get to spend some time at the 4th floor pool, which was beautiful! We walked right out from the elevators, to the deck, which is easily accessible from either tower and grabbed as many towels as we needed (no need to steal them from your room!), parked ourselves on some chairs near the steps and enjoyed playing the friends, splashing and sipping water. There is deck-service, which is awesome, for anyone who wants to order something to eat or drink right from their chair! Addie and Dave spent a lot of time in the pool- with Addie playing on the steps and jumping in from the side with the other kids. Me? I lounged my big, pregnant belly in the sun for a dose of vitamin D and a nap! The chairs were so comfortable, I would have stayed there had Dave not reminded me we needed to get dinner before Addie’s bedtime!
We really loved the hotel and all the grandeur it offered while still being affordable (at the conference rate for us), but wish the lobby had been a bit more conducive to meeting people. Last year at the conference the hotel lobby was built in more of a compact and circular feel, with the lounge closer and lobby seating closer together, as well as the hotel restaurants close-by. This made it easier for people to connect and bump into each other. With the lobby being planned in more of a rectangle with the bar at one end and a café at the other, and minimal seating, it was hard to bump into people- although easy to find a place to meet up if you planned it.
The Manchester Grand Hyatt made staying in the city such a luxury- close to good food and meet up spots like the The Seaport Village and within walking distance to the Gaslamp Quarter and convention center- this is the place you want to stay, whether business or pleasure, on your next trip to San Diego!
I was unable to find anyone who recorded (or even took a picture!) of the LPA Speakers’ Night, but I wanted to share my piece with you. I plan on recording me speaking it, but wanted to share it with you (written) in the meantime. So, without further stalling, here is my LPA Speakers’ Night Piece entitled: Keep Pushing.
As I embark upon the birth of my second child, I find the title of my piece ironic.
While that’s not my birthing mantra- that one is just breathe- Keep pushing is my mission in life.
Letting ourselves be defined by anything, even things that are so apparent, like our gender, sexual preference, race or disability is no way to live. It’s no way I will let myself or my children live, so why do other people expect me to allow such behaviors from them?
The answer is simple. The answer points a finger. The answer stings. The answer is me.
People treat others as they are allowed to. Sad? Pathetic? Lame? You bet. But it’s the truth. We love to take advantage of life- be lazy where we can be. We often, as humans, forget the implications of our language.
We let people call us homo, fat, crazy, midget, whore. Because as a culture stopping these things is too “politically correct”. We fear that we are being “too sensitive”, we aren’t raising tough kids, or we ourselves do not have thick skin.
“Good luck this time!”
“Good for you- trying again.”
“Sucks you didn’t know before she was born.”
“Is there anything they can do for her when she’s older to make her taller?”
Fellow humans have said these things to me. Why does the world view dwarfism as something to be cured, rather than embraced as a difference?
We don’t want to question what others say. We give up our right to know about ourselves when we don’t ask the hard questions.
“I don’t know.”
“We will learn together.”
“Let’s come back to that.”
“This is my first one.”
Doctors have said these things to me. Why is the education about dwarfism so slim that many medical professionals fear the diagnosis of dwarfism- offering patients little education and less options.
My mantra, Keep pushing. For respect, for knowledge.
Do you see it yet? Do you feel the need to push?
There is change that can be made. There is change that needs to be made. There are generations coming up behind you and me, behind the children being born today and the children following them. There are millions of people yet to be born, and thousands will have a form of dwarfism.
But they will not be dwarfs.
They will be painters and doctors. They will be writers and scientists. They will be political leaders and dreamers and veterinarians. Those born with a form of dwarfism will love and be loved. They will change lives and shape the world for future generations. The way we need to now.
There is a need to define ourselves by what we want as a community and let the masses, not the few, lead the way. Television shows that pigeonhole this community, media misconceptions, movies and comedians are things of the past when we push- and keep pushing- to be defined not as little people, but as people. Height doesn’t make someone smart, or happy, or better than. Average height just makes you average.
Be spectacular regardless. Keep pushing.
When a doctor tells me they do not know, I ask, “how will you find the answer?” When I am given news about a health concern and then that same medical professional attempts to leave the room, I ask for further explanation. I ask what our course of action is. I ask what their medical opinion and experience are. What is the timeline. How do we proceed? I push to know more. I push to make them answer. To make them accountable for their diagnosis. I refuse to let Google do my doctoring. I refuse to leave not knowing.
Too many parents email me with the same story. It goes like this: The doctors told me my baby would be a dwarf. They gave me a packet of papers and told me to make appointments for these things. They told me to be prepared, but not for what.
More often than not, I offer my telephone number. I spend hours each week calming mothers-to-be and new parents. Not giving medical advice, but offering an ear and listening to questions that are left unanswered. Unanswered concerns from a doctor who left their patients with a handout and maybe a few people to call.
This is not OK. This is not how patients should be treated. Dwarfism is not unknown. Specialists exist!
In my hours on the phone I’ve looked up local hospitals with clinics, referred many to our own team in Delaware, and always given out the LPA’s website. Hours spent giving the same basic information that needs to be readily available to all patients with a diagnosis of dwarfism. Support, love and most importantly, knowledge.
Keep pushing so that when someone sees a person of short stature they smile, the same smile they offer any other human on the street. Why? Because a person of short stature is any other human.
Keep pushing to make changes, because if there is such an uprising about a professional football team name change, then there should be a change across the nation of high school sports teams named The Midgets. Because other people do not decide what offends you. Because other people don’t control our emotions. Because being sensitive, caring, respectful people is what defines a civilized culture. That is what humanity means. Because even doctors need to learn something new every day. Because bedside manner isn’t dead (and neither is chivalry, if you were wondering).
There isn’t a facet of our culture that doesn’t need advocacy from our community, so be that voice. Never stop pushing because it doesn’t bother you anymore, or because you think one person can’t make a difference. One voice. One community. One change at a time.
Keep pushing because letting ourselves be defined by anything, even things that are so apparent, like our gender, sexual preference, race or disability is no way to live. It’s no way I will let myself or my children live, and I won’t being defined by anyone but myself.
So much to say about what’s been going on, but I keep reflecting on our wonderful experience in California.
If you followed my social media pages, you may have noticed #lpaSD2014 making it’s way around with pictures, quotes, and events… all leading to the LPA National Conference in San Diego. It was amazing.
It is also something that we could not have participated in without the help and support of our parents and my aunt and uncle. Both my parents and Dave’s helped us get there (via flyer miles, rewards, food, and accommodations). I am also extremely grateful for my dearest, who works his tail off at work and then each weekend doing repairs to save up for the cost of eating away from home (yes, a BLT in San Diego is $10!). But it is more than the money. It’s the understanding. My mother-in-law was initially going to come with us (she will be attending workshops with us in Boston in 2017!), but decided that it was just too much for her… however, she still supported us going, which means the world to our family. San Diego is an awesome vacation spot, but the conference, the LPA organization and the knowledge and friendships we gain each year are invaluable to us.
Addie was blessed this year with a gift from a family who lost their child to a rare(r) form of dwarfism with a Lifetime Membership to Little People of America, and we could not be more thankful. Knowing that Addie will always have access to the best advocacy, community and medical advice, even after Dave and I are not here to guide her, eases my heart. There are so many lesser known facets to the LPA organization that I hope she explores- including scholarships and a deep-rooted community- that having this membership offers her access to all this and so much more- forever!
With that, the opportunity to go to as many regional (local) and national events as we can gives us all opportunity to learn, play, educate and be educated. Last year, I was a part of a panel that focused on social media and how we present ourselves as a community, and this year I spoke about why I keep pushing (advocating) for more education and awareness. Dave got to learn about different home adaptations and how he can make our house more comfortable for Addie without making it difficult for us. Even the grandparents got to go to some workshops and learn a bit more about what it’s like to grow up as someone with dwarfism, the things they can help Addie with, and just take part in the community.
All-in-all… this was an amazing experience. Made that much better by our trip a few hours north to see my Aunt Donna and Uncle Ted. While I am forever grateful to the LPA and being able to experience national events, being able to see my Uncle Ted meant more to me than I can express. My Mom did not find her brother until she was in her 20′s. Adopted at birth, she was able to reconnect years later with a lot of research… and I am so glad she did. My Uncle is amazing- traveling to see us a lot in my youth- and coming to stay with us for much longer than he anticipated, when my Dad passed. We often joke in my family that I was a wild child, but that didn’t really happen until my Dad died. My Uncle saw firsthand how out of control I became and how quickly I down-spiraled. But still, he stayed. Day after day he supported my Mom and did everything he could to help with the daily running of the house, and the big things that my Dad had been too sick to do in his last months of life. Going out to see him, hug him, talk to him and see the spark in his eye was more than I could ask for.
He’s sick. I hate that. I hate seeing a man who has rocked the world, serving our country, playing a major role in aerospace development, advancing the programs that offer guide and service dogs to those who need, and most of all being an amazing family man- he’s diminishing in body… but never spirit. I was afraid he would be fragile and was instead surprised to see him, stout as ever, never batting an eye when he needed oxygen or apologizing for needing a break. Quite simply, as Ted has always been, he just is. Maybe that’s where I get my no apologies life-view from… I am who I am, be damned if it upsets you or makes you uncomfortable. And my Aunt Donna, his rock, she’s kind of amazing, too. Her love, support and drive are inspiring. A teacher for years, she set Addie up with all the fun stuff while accepting oxygen deliveries, getting towels for Addie and I to swim, her beaming smile never fading.
There are some days that are really hard. For everyone. I have a family who has taught me, and continues to do so, that there are way more rainbows than rain if we look for them. I am thankful that we got to Cali this summer… for the sun, sand, friendships, education, family.
Have you done a big summer vacation this year? What was your favorite part?
And so… we are back. Many times I spent my Marvelous Mondays writing about what I am thankful for as friends or my surroundings, but today, I want to be thankful for opportunity. We don’t go on date nights, or celebrate with fancy dinners or outings, most of the time the idea of vacation seems intimidating and daunting for the sheer cost factor, but we are never short on opportunity.
Much thanks to our parents, who help us do the big things in life. We’d love to cruise the Bahamas, take a trip to Disney, see the Eiffel Tower… but more than that, we want to learn and support this amazing community around us- the reason I even began this blog… we want to be active members of the LPA as fully as we can be!
Last week, we took full advantage of our membership and joined hundreds of others in San Diego.
I spent hours in workshops, gatherings, meetings and group events… to learn, to think, to take notes, to listen, to share, to dream, to wonder, to play! Addie participated in her first fashion show! I met SO many wonderful people I’d only ever spoken to online. Dave got to SIT DOWN! I spoke… in front of way more of a crowd than I was expecting, and though it was not recorded (to my knowledge), I will share the piece with you soon. We made
So, what is there to not be thankful for in life? I’m not thankful that Addie will have to undergo another MRI for more imaging. I’m not thankful that we still don’t know why she’s blacking out. I’m not thankful that there are so many questions and so few answers… in general. But who is counting? What this means is that there is more to see, more to know and more to learn. Advocating for our community, for our family and for Addie herself is never done. So let’s start this week in thanks… and get ready to work hard once again!
Happy Marvelous Monday, Reader!
Oh. Em. Geeeee!!!!!
There’s so much to say and so little time to type! I just want to let everyone know- we made it safely to the LPA National Conference- and I survived another public speaking engagement! We miss our sweet Carter Jay, but he’s having fun with his grandparents and ruling the roost.
If you are here at the conference, please let me know! I would love to meet as many new people as possible! Just leave a comment, or email me through the Contact tab! I will be posting way less this week and appreciate your understanding!
We are celebrating our wonderful country by flying the friendly skies! We are heading to the LPA National Conference, as well as a visit to my Uncle Ted (Camille Thea’s honoring him with her middle name), and we are so excited.
But before we go, this beautiful American girl wanted to wish you and your family a Happy (and safe) 4th of July!!
We are off to our second conference next week and SO excited- but… there are also some lessons we learned from last year’s adventure. Read on for some conference tips that are sure to help make your whirlwind week go smooth!
1. Send all information.
Many times when you meet a new person, you want to be able to reconnect with them, so when you text your number to someone, send your full name AND number in the body of the text.
Sometimes it all gets lost in translation and seeing all of the info on the screen can really help… and on smart phones, the number is highlighted! Just click and you’re calling! How simple!
2. One group page.
Facebook pages are so easy to make that sometimes multiples come about for conferences and then confusion about threads… it’s a mess. One page, with multiple events are a perfect solution because they give a conscious timeline, as well as options for what people want to join, see, and feed into!
3. Car share/car pool/public transportation.
Ideas like parking off-site to save money, renting a car only for necessary days, getting familiar with the public transportation in your destination city, and even splitting car rental with another family are all ways you can save time and money. Getting creative, as well as informed, gives you more options- for instance, most conferences take place in walk-friendly cities, where hailing a cab may be an easier feat than finding parking- plus, many hotels offer group shuttle service from the local airport for less than a cab! Before you click “add a car” to your reservation, be sure to look into other options.
*Biggest tip this year: park at the convention center a few blocks off-site from the hotel!
4. Make a budget, including some funds for an emergency (ripped luggage, forgotten bathing suit, ER copay, etc.), and make a plan to stay in it.
For us, that means clearly outlining what we do ahead of time (admissions to parks, airline fees, parking, gas, and meals) and then sticking to it. I wish there was some extra in case there’s something really fun, but that’s not in the cards- remembering that if you’re on a strict budget may cost you “trading” one thing for another is crucial. Enjoying a vacation that leaves you further in debt is only a vacation that will leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Remember to include little things, like internet, which is free in our hotel lobby, but not in the rooms- this means I have to work from the lobby or pay, or tether to my phone- so I have to have enough data. Both Dave and I need to work (there’s no vacation for a freelancer), so being sure we’ve covered all of our bases as far as expenses is important. Enjoy your trip by not over-extending yourself financially… then the memories are of joy and not stress!
5. Make a list!
I LOVE lists… I’ve made one of what we pack, as well as names and numbers of friends we want to connect with ahead of time! Having that on paper means I don’t have to dig through my phone to find that information later and no one gets left out.
6. Grocery shop.
The hotels booked for conferences KNOW how to have a conference-number of people, and (most) have refrigerators in the room, as well as space on desks and tables for dry goods. To save money (breakfast buffets can be upwards of $20 per person at conference hotels), we buy bagels and fruit for the mornings, as well as lunch meats, cheese, and bread for lunch- and always bring water bottles. I pack two water bottles per person to bring through the airport empty and have it filled at one of the airport bars. The same goes for traveling. We use these water bottles day in and day out filled with ice and water from the hotel. We plan special meals out, as well as budget for coffee each day, because we both love to support local coffee shops and need good java! Not dining out for every meal or having to buy a beverage whenever you need a drink can save you over $100 a day- #truestory.
7. Business cards.
These are a must for all professional conferences, but having business cards for whatever you do and whoever you are is something I live by. With your name, number, picture… whatever you want- make it fun and identifiable. For me, I use moo.com (not only awesome at all things print, but my most missed employer!) Their business cards are the most amazing quality (and hold up to the test of being at the bottom of the bag). Each pack comes with it’s own carrying case, and dividers so you can place other cards behind of your own, so they’re super easy to transport and they’re made right here in Rhode Island! Get your order in NOW and you can have them before the conference! Here are the ones that I ordered for the conference:
Not Optimus, but Amazon (although I cannot wait for the new Transformers movie!). As a Prime member, you can have goods shipped to your hotel ahead of time, like diapers, that are especially bulky and disposable- and as an member you get free Prime shipping in about 2 days! Please be sure to call the hotel and make arrangements. (Anyone who cloth diapers- how do you travel and still CD?! Tips, welcome!!!!)
I go old school with this and use my planner so that I know what’s going on each day. I also print out a calendar of just the days we will be at the conference and fill it in with what’s going on that we want to do and then eliminate from there. From going to the most important medical workshops to making sure my own speaking event and Addie’s fashion show debut and the group photo are all accounted for, having everything written down means less stress of where to be and when, as well as overbooking your time- remember everyone needs some downtime, so don’t forget to head to the hotel pool, gym or just lay in bed for some time, too!
10. HAVE SOME FREAKING FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have readers I’ve come to think of as family. Men and women who reach out for all sort of reasons. Some have concerns, others a missed diagnosis, some have lost a child or fear they will. And some are seeking forgiveness.
I will tell you, before you read on: this will make you uncomfortable. You might feel anger. You may want to write and say horrible things. You may feel sorrow, or pain, or maybe you even relate to the situation. Whatever you feel, please remember I am not just writing here- I am also moderating. While I allow attacks against myself, I will not allow them against other people who write or are featured here, nor against my child. What is ahead is hard to read. It is hard to comprehend as a parent. But I’ve never been where this woman has. Adelaide’s diagnosis came weeks after her birth. Weeks after I knew her sweet face, smelled her breath, nursed her and rocked her to sleep for endless hours.
For all of the moments I publish about general life, family, the going-ons of the Martinka family… that is to show you that even though we have a slew of appointments, tests and therapies- they do not rule our lives… I will also never stop educating and pushing to further public awareness of dwarfism. There are fatal forms, there are complications, but there are also beautiful days, moments that make me so full of happiness I feel I may explode, and most of all, times that are simply humbling to a parent.
Please remember that all decisions we make are done with the most care for our children, and made with all of the information we have at the time. I do not judge a parent for doing their best for their child. I only pass judgment on myself, and hope that my readers will as well. Understanding the plight of a parent in distress is something that we can only speculate reaction to. This is raw emotion.
This reader reached out to me from Greece. At 25 weeks, at the advisement of her doctor, OBGYN and multiple pediatricians, she terminated her pregnancy due to an in utero diagnosis of achondroplasia. She asked me to share this letter (sic) for other parents who may think this is their only option.*
A month ago I terminated my pregnancy because my baby was diagnosed with achondroplasia. And now, I regret it every second of my miserable day. The reason I write this letter is to inform women who have all these questions like I had and no time to decide what is the right thing to do. In my case, everything happened so quickly. I don’t really know what happens in your country. Where I am, every doctor and medical expert keep telling me that termination was the right thing to do.
What if it is not? And I think, as a mother that it was not! So keep in mind some things and then decide. You are pregnant to a baby who will be a smart, intelligent human being. Yes it will be small and perhaps will have some health problems that you will have to handle but who can guarantee that this won’t happen to your other absolutely normal babies? You are the mother! You will have the strength and the ability to keep this baby healthy and happy and if you still can’t decide just think of me. I am a miserable person who dies every day. I hate myself just because I was badly informed and weak to decide what I thought it would be the hard road! Believe me… this is the hard road… the road I chose. Just remember that every baby has the right to live. I should have known better…
While this mother is still very hard on herself and feels she should be punished, I left her with this thought, and I leave it with you too, Reader:
Welcome to Monday!!! I hope everyone had a beautiful weekend- especially my running family who is going full speed ahead with the Broad Street Run in Philly and Cox Half and Full Marathon! I’m so proud of you all!!!!
So, while my running legs are sidelined during pregnancy, my spirit is not! This week I am so thankful for the amazing community of women who surround me- and blessed that I can give back, too. During a fundraiser on Saturday, there was a gathering of women (and some men) I know from all different walks of motherhood- classes I’ve taken, group play dates, story times, and, most importantly, through Rhode Island New Moms Connection. Through RI New Moms I’ve been able to discuss pregnancy and new motherhood in all its glory- from date nights to late nights to never-ending nights and everything in between (yes, that includes the leaky boobs and mind numbing milestones that we all fret over). This support has been invaluable to me in the past 2 years. From the insight and open mindedness of the groups to the true friendship I’ve come to know, RI New Moms means more to me than words could express. I’m so glad that we got this together and hope we do it again next year to celebrate motherhood, support, community and love.
* * *
In the dwarfism community, I am proud to announce the newest Lifetime Member of LPA:
With love and kindness in the beautiful memory of Dio Loren Hutto Coglianese, our beautiful girl was gifted this membership. All the love and support people have said they feel from me… I want them to know I feel it back. Each conversation I have, whether it is email, Facebook or phone- I love hearing from parents and helping us all navigate the waters together. The more we share our experiences- with each other, with our community, and publicly- the more everyone will know. Dwarfism isn’t ever going to be common, but it can certainly be less of a mystery and a more accepting and loving world for the future.
To those who have paved the way and those who have gone before… our family strives to educate and learn all we can through the LPA and our own journey.
Sweet Dio, we will love you always.
* * *
Lastly, I want to share something a reader sent me information about… something I know many of my fellow mamas have battled with: Postpartum depression. There is an event called The Climb… read more about it below and please consider joining.
2nd Annual Climb Out of the Darkness Includes Rhode Island’s John Chafee Nature Preserve Climb on June 21, 2014- Climb Out Is the World’s Largest Event Raising Awareness of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety
On June 21, women across the globe and right here in Rhode Island will be participating in the 2nd annual Climb Out of the Darkness to raise awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like postpartum depression (PPD), anxiety, OCD and psychosis. Postpartum depression, which affects 1 in every 7 women, is the most common complication of childbirth. On June 21st, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, PPD survivors all over the world are organizing to climb or hike a local mountain or park to symbolize their collective rise out of the darkness and stigma of maternal mental illness as well as to raise funds to support Postpartum Progress, a non-profit organization in the U.S. founded to help support moms around the world.
Climb Out of the Darkness is now the world’s largest event raising awareness of maternal mental illness. As of today, there are more than 100 different Climbs that will take place throughout the US, Canada, England, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand, including a local Climb at the John Chafee Nature Preserve (Rome Point) on June 21, 2014 at 4:00pm. Moms and others are all welcome to join the local Climb by registering HERE. Registration is free.
Postpartum Progress is a non-profit organization and online community of support resources for women experiencing postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. Today, half a million women annually are accessing up-to-date information in plain language about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders on the Postpartum Progress BLOG and, more importantly, are able to hear from other moms who have recovered. The funds raised from this event will allow Postpartum Progress to create new educational materials to be used by obstetricians, pediatricians and others, as well as new materials to help educate the media on the public health impact of postpartum depression and related illnesses on mothers and children.
For questions about Climb Out of the Darkness, visit HERE or email local Climb leader Courtenay Petracca at CXS918@Gmail.com.
Have a beautiful week, Reader! And please… if you have anything to share, please contact me and let me know! I want to support our community- no matter how far reaching.