I recently had the honor of meeting up with Carrie Moore, coordinator for this year’s Climb Out of the Darkness Walk for Kitsap County in Washington state. I met up with Carrie and her two pre-schoolers to discuss the importance of the event, in more depth than an email could offer. What I got from the encounter was more than just great information about a worthy cause. I got a true mothering experience in full.
Carrie and I met at a local playground to discuss Hope Circle and Postpartum Progress, the local sponsors of the postpartum walk being held this Saturday at Clear Creek Trail in Silverdale, Washington at 10 a.m. In between half-sentences about how Hope Circle is a local Kitsap county group led by mothers trained by MotherWoman guidelines for postpartum issues, we applied sunscreen, excused ourselves (several times) to run after our toddlers who were running towards the road, helped our littles off the high parts of the jungle gym and paused for kissing or reprimands. It became apparent to me that this blog interview was the perfect example of why mothers need to take some time to support and engage in postpartum related awareness events.
Women are inundated by messages that say pregnancy and motherhood are the most beautiful, joyful, wonderful experiences they will ever partake in, and that’s true. But it’s equally true that motherhood is devastating to our bodies, a terror to our hormones, a sleep deprived, never-a-moment-to-yourself, gross out fest that can be overwhelming, and is certainly life changing. As any of my blog or book readers know, it is important to me that mothers be okay with voicing our concerns, both mental and physical, speaking to the baggage that we are told to keep to ourselves, as it was “our decision” to birth little humans. I don’t believe in such societal reprimands, and neither do organizations like Hope Circle, Postpartum Progress, and MotherWoman.
I asked Carrie what her favorite part of the Climb Out of the Darkness event was. She thought about the question for a while. I imagine it’s hard to voice how important the partnership of fellow mothers, experiencing like circumstances can be, but she eventually answered with a two-fold response. Firstly, she appreciates that the walk occurs on the longest day of the year. She emphasized that mental health and weather in Washington state are very much related. As such, holding the climb on the date of the longest lasting daylight hours is very significant. It symbolizes what Hope Circle and the other sponsors embody: that women can, with help, climb out of the darkness of postpartum related depression, anxieties and stresses.
Secondly, Carrie loves that Climb Out of the Darkness is a family event, which encourages partners of women experiencing postpartum stresses to see other families who are undergoing postpartum trials. This group event allows mothers and partners to see their experience out of their own home. Take if from a mother who knows, it’s a wonderful thing to feel like you’re not alone, that you’re understood, even normal.
Lastly, in between changing diapers, alleviating disagreements and making sure our kids have snacks and plenty to drink, Carrie and I discussed how important outdoor physical activity is for mothers experiencing PPD, Postpartum anxiety or other postpartum related mental illnesses. Carrie stated, “Yeah, it’s crazy how much difference just 30 minutes of outdoor activity, like walking, can help with, at least, postpartum depression.” I nodded, “It certainly helped me with even my OCD postpartum depression, when almost nothing else did. Anthony Jr. get off the road! That’s where cars drive!” Carrie echoed me, “Lucy, Amy…not by the road, girls!” And we both coaxed, bribed and carried our kids bodily to our separate vehicles.
The postpartum experience is extremely trying: physically, mentally, hormonally, and it’s okay to seek companionship and help among like-minded parents. It’s okay to admit to the fact that you need help. If you’re in the Kitsap area, please join Carrie, me and other local mothers in Climbing Out of the Darkness. If you cannot attend the event in person, feel free to support this very worthy non-profit cause, by going to the website and registering as a donor. If you do plan on attending the walk, it is free or donation based, but they really encourage mothers and partners to register prior to Saturday, to make things run more smoothly. Register HERE today. Visit Kitsap Hope Circle: HERE.