Help Me #ClimbOut of the Darkness in 2016

As you know, I work for Postpartum Progress. This year, I’m excited to finally participate in their annual fundraiser, Climb Out of the Darkness. I’ve missed previous years due to the fact that we’ve always been on vacation when the #ClimbOut near me took place. Not the case this year, so I can get my Climb on!

#ClimbOut of the Darkness, 2016

The Climb funds the non-profits mission to create healthier families by raising awareness, reducing stigma, providing social support and connecting mothers to help for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like postpartum depression. Not only does it bring moms still fighting postpartum depression and other mood and anxiety disorders together with survivors and their support people, but it funds a lot of what we do as a non-profit all year long. I can let you know, as Katherine just sent us the final draft of our Strategic Plan, we have lots we plan to do! We just need the money to do it.

I fought postpartum depression and anxiety (PPD/PPA) after the births of both boys. Both times it came as a severe shock, for different reasons. With our older son, I didn’t know to expect such a thing. I’d felt so excited my entire pregnancy, so to experience a panic attack while still in the hospital felt completely shocking. With our younger son, I thought that since I’d experienced it once, so I knew what to do to avoid it. Nope. I ignored my symptoms a little longer with that one because I wanted to “power through.” It didn’t work. I got help both times, and am better for it. I now spend my days helping mamas. It’s really full circle.

And so, here are three ways for you to participate in my Climb:

  • Sponsor Me! You can donate to my climb. It’s a one time donation, not per mile or anything. I’ll be putting together a special thank you for all of my sponsors.

  • Join Me! If you live locally, consider joining me on June 18th in Newark, Ohio. Our Climb Leader has done this before and is a great leader. It should be a great day full of fun, sun, family, friends, and memory making. One of my friends already signed up to join me. Please let me know if you do so I can know to expect you. (The boys and my husband will be with me, too.)

  • Donate Something! If you’re a business or an individual who wants to donate something to help make the Climb day full of fun, I will put you in contact with our Climb leader. Water, snacks, music, juice boxes for kids, etc. I’m sure no donation will be turned away. We can’t use any of the money raised on our actual Climb day (obviously, as all money goes to Postpartum Progress), so we rely on donations.

Additionally, you can join in a #ClimbOut in your area as well. Go check out the many locations we’ll be Climbing this year.

I’m so excited to participate this year. I’ve already raised $50 of my $1000 goal. I set a lofty goal because I felt like I had to make up for the previous years in which I couldn’t participate. If you can help, I would feel really grateful, especially considering I know how the money will be used to help mamas who need it.

Thank you so much!


Shop Chloe + Isabel Jewelry

Comfort Zones

I’m apparently all about stepping out of comfort zones in 2016. Mainly mine. All of them.

Despite my hibernation tendency in January, I’ve been doing new, different, and big things this entire year. Granted, it’s February sixth, so I wouldn’t quite call it a “roll” just yet. But still. Let’s give credit where it’s due, shall we?

I’ve been surprisingly social so far this year, which feels kind of exhausting. While I’ve missed coffee with my besties for the past two weeks due to scheduling conflicts and work meetings, I’ve managed to hang out with some other friends on Tuesday evenings, sometimes with kids and sometimes without. Today I had lunch with some of my favorite people and it felt divine.

Then I crashed in bed as soon as we got home. Introverts who use up all their extrovert have to recover.

I’ve also seemingly been rather proactive in the writing, submissions, and such (which is a great writerly way to put it, obviously). Of course, I kicked off 2015 in a blaze of writing submission glory, but eventually faded out when some life situations changed. Leaving my job with no plan in place felt super scary, and that translated into a lack of creativity on my part. I enjoyed some great time with my family and got a lot of personal junk sorted out, but my creative process took a hit. Now that I’m working again—and loving it—I find myself carving out time to write, to create, to color, to breathe, to meditate, to exercise, to be.

I’d like to continue on this creative path this year. I’d like to submit my work and do Big Things with it. But I’d also like to sit quietly with notebooks and write the things I don’t share. Or maybe stepping out of my comfort zone means sharing those things. That’s downright frightening. Back into that comfort zone I go.

I’ve also started writing and talking adoption again, which I haven’t really done in any quantitative or qualitative way since I shut down Chronicles almost three years ago. I needed time and separation from public discussion of the topic. I needed space to heal, to make room for changes of thought and feeling. I needed to find a therapist who would help me work through these adoption issues and not totally suck; I’ve done that, by the way. I’ve written more about adoption on the blog and in my spaces as of late because I feel safe doing so, meaning that when someone does a drive by nasty comment, I can just delete it and go on with my day. I’ve initiated conversations with the #adoption hashtag on Twitter, inviting various perspectives to chime in—and they have. Another birth mother friend of mine recently told me that I present a unique situation that others should know about, and I tend to agree. Stepping back out of my comfort zone on this one instead of hiding under the birth mother cloak of invisibility feels really big. I’m glad I’m doing so.

It’s funny how the depressed brain works. Through 2014 and into 2015, I pushed people away in hard and obvious ways. I felt worthless and I didn’t want anyone to see me as I saw myself. Now that I’m seeing myself much more clearly, I see both the damage I caused (this is likely another post) and how counter-productive it was to push so hard. The more I step out of my comfort zone and share with my friends what I’ve gone through, the more they share with me—the closer we all become. This logically makes sense, but the depressed brain can’t see past the curtain. It fixates on self, not on community. And while I’m an introvert, I do love community. Just in smaller doses.

All this to say that I’m enjoying 2016. I know some things lie in wait, some hard things are going to happen this year. But I just feel like I am the person I’m meant to be to deal with those things. And I’m not an “everything happens for a reason” person. It just seems like I’ve come through a really hard time and I’m stronger for it.

Now, excuse me while I hide under blankets for a day or two.

Comfort Zones