A few months ago, I came across a 'patient stories' call from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologist (ACOG). They were looking for patient stories that dealt with birth, birth complications or trauma, mental health (postpartum and pregnancy), etc. I signed up to tell my story. A few weeks later, I got a call for an interview where I tried hard not to cry to the sweet lady on the other end of the line. Covid happened somewhere between our "thank yous" and "we'll get in touch."
And to be honest, I forgot about that day and what I shared because I was too busy dealing with life in the pandemic homeschool trenches. The other day, I got an email that my story was up on their website. So thank you for reading this far and for allowing me to share my story.
I recently did my first podcast interview ever with Mom&Mind. We talked about my birth story, my preeclampsia diagnosis, subsequent Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) stays for my premature babies. My eventual postpartum depression story in 2016, a small tidbit of my book, and the advocacy efforts I'm engaged in now.
The thing is.....I feel overwhelmed. There are so many things I want to do, I wish I could do for mamas and babies, and especially women of color, like me. But where do I start?
Some days, I feel like I am truly just shouting from the rooftops and screaming into the void, only to hear just echoes of myself.
Some days, I do absolutely nothing.
And I wonder if my volunteer in peer support is doing anything at all. I almost feel like I'm letting my peers down but simultaneously sharing my lived experience and not.
Mental Health advocacy is exhausting. It truly is never ending and I have to wonder if I'm making any difference at all.
So today was supposed to be the second day of Champions of Change Summit. I loved the energy from last year and I wanted so much to refuel and remember "my why."
Covid took us online. It wasn't the energy that mirrored last year but let me tell you, if I could capture the passion emitting from the screen, I would bottle it up, hold on to it and remember the reasons for why I always leave my inbox open for mamas, why I keep speaking up, even if no one is listening.
There will always be that one. The one who needed to hear my message.
So even if I have been lacking on social media - some of it intentional, some of it...well homeschooling has kept me busy - I will continue to advocate in any way I can.
So this is YET ANOTHER "website under construction" notice. But I won't be changing too much around. I'll be adding resources for maternal mental health and premenstrual dysphoric disorder tabs.
What do you normally want to see on a lived experience advocacy page?
In 2012, my daughter was born at 31 weeks due to Preeclampsia and spent 43 days in the NICU. When I found out I was pregnant again, I became anxious about history repeating itself. He was born at 34 weeks in 2016. I had another premature baby, another NICU stay, another preeclampsia diagnosis. This time, I added postpartum depression to my history.