In January, Rebecca traveled to the state capitol to support the Maternal Mental Health Advocacy Day. She could not share what legislation like SB 138 could have meant for her motherhood journey at the event, but below she is sharing her testimony..
To learn more about SB 138 click here.
"My name is Rebecca Hartley-Woods and I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, lifetime Floridian and mother to 5 amazing children.
With regards to Senate Bill 138 and the desire for public health information regarding perinatal mood disorders, I would like to share that I was a public health worker while pregnant with my eldest son and even though I networked with multiple community and governmental agencies serving women of childbearing age, no one warned me about or screened me for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
I know "what if" is often a pointless exercise and yet I wonder if this bill had been inplace perhaps my life would've been very different.
During my pregnancy in 2007 and 2008 I lived with what I now know was prenatal anxiety. At the time I didn't know what was wrong with me and I feared reaching out.
By the time my son was two weeks old I had recurring visions of terrifying things such as my baby drowning in the bathtub or dropping him down the stairs. I found traffic horrifying as I often envisioned a terrible crash when my son was in the car.
Working 40 plus hours a weak providing education and services in a public health setting, all the childbirth and newborn classes, not even community programs I participated in prepared me for the maternal mental health crisis I would endure.
I did not speak up about the scary thoughts that I now know where intrusive thoughts, a symptom of my postpartum anxiety because I feared seeking help. I was afraid of my son being taken away.
I dropped the coursework I had been enrolled in, isolated from friends, busied myself in work and spent as little time as possible with my baby thinking he was safer with others and what a terrible mother I was for thinking these terrible things.
I was afraid to speak up because I feared loosing my son. This is important to note because the bill in its current form is lacking language regarding DCF.
While pregnant with my 4th child in 2014 I sought help. I was visited by child protective investigators not once but twice after seeking professional help. Sadly, the investigators had no resources or help to offer other than apologies for erroneous reports and the waste of my time and theirs.
Moving forward to 2017, for the first time in 7 pregnancies over 11 years I was screened at a postpartum check up following the birth of my 5th living child. I cannot recall the number of obstetricians, community agency workers, out of hospital midwives and other maternal health professionals who I have seen over the years. But I can tell you about the 1 time I was screened for a postpartum mood disorder at a postpartum appointment.
Had this bill been in place many years ago, I might have completed school on time, not left my job causing financial strain that ultimately led to filing bankruptcy. Had I found appropriate treatment in a timely manner I might have not missed my only sister's wedding because I couldn't get in a car with my baby without having a panic attack.
Had this bill been in place, I might have happy memories of what was supposed to be the happiest time in my life.
Thanks for letting me share."
Early motherhood is somewhat like the weather. Semi-predictable, but every now and then a storm rolls in. When the rain pours, The Seventh Mom Project, Inc. holds the umbrella. To build awareness and community we are hosting our first 5K and Family Fun Run event on April 22nd at Al Lopez Park. All proceeds will benefit The Seventh Mom Project, Inc.'s work in the Tampa Bay area.
Visit www.raincoatrun.com for details!
The SISTER Mom Program is a New Mother Mentorship Program. SISTER stands for Self-Image Support Team and Emotional Resource. Developed by Postpartum Society of Florida, Inc., SISTER Mom trains an elite team of women to confidently connect women with vetted resources, triage perinatal crisis, and most importantly, mentor and encourage new mothers one-to-one through their perinatal year.
The Seventh Mom Project, Inc. is excited to bring this program to Tampa Bay. We are looking for interested participants for our pilot launch.
SISTER Mom Mentors will be required to:
Read the following:
This Isn’t What I Expected
"Life Will Never Be the Same”: The Real Moms’ Postpartum Survival Guide
(books can be purchased via amazon through our store link!)
Create a Tampa Bay "Lighten the Darkness Resource Guide" as a team
Introduction session: Will be held June 22nd at 7 pm. location to be determined.
4 - 2 hour training sessions (virtual or in person)
July, August, Sept, Oct, Dates TBD
Attend our SISTER Mom Saturday Retreat: Saturday, November 4, 8 am to 4 pm.
Complete Writing Assignments:
Listed in training syllabus you will receive at the introductory session.
Graduates will be matched with moms for ongoing mentoring in January of 2018.
Greetings Tampa Bay! Boy has it been a while!
Don't worry, I'll be sure to fill you in on the sunny days and squalls since my last post, but first I have to let you know about Give Day Tampa Bay 2017.
If you've been following us since last year you may remember Give Day Tampa Bay 2016. We got in a little late in the game but our awesome VP had this great idea to use the adage "April Showers Bring May Flowers" since after all we're all about riding out the storms of motherhood here at The Seventh Mom Project, Inc. and we're kind of crazy about umbrellas and well you get the idea.
So, the #holdtheumbrella campaign was born and we're so happy and thankful that you took it and ran with it. I am still excited every time I see a notification that we've been tagged and there is another great picture of a survivor mom and her umbrella.
We are participating in Give Day Tampa Bay again as we want to continue rolling with the clouds and to #holdtheumbrella for families in Tampa Bay.
We've added a few fun things to this year's campaign.
Have I mentioned how much I love our VP and her super brain? Noticing the popularity of rock painting and hiding/finding rocks in the community, another great idea was born.
Volunteers have already begun painting and placing rocks out in the community but what is special about these painted rocks is they all feature the umbrella and our signature #holdtheumbrella.
We invite you to join us. Get the kids involved, hold a mom's night rock painting party, make it a youth group or classroom project, there's no limit. We simply ask you to show us your painted umbrella rock and tag us on your social media.
We'll be entering each tagged post using #GiveDayTB2017 #holdtheumbrella #7thmomproject #momsrock into chance drawing between now Give Day, May 2nd.
You can share your umbrella selfie for another entry and earn additional entries when you post your hides and finds.
If you're interested in making a group or individual project (say, who needs volunteer service hours) send us an email, we're more than glad to help you secure your service hours and provide you with necessary the documentation. Just write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly, the whole purpose is to raise funds for our organization. In 2016 we trained 24 perinatal professionals, hosted two ongoing monthly peer-support groups, launched Doulas of Tampa Bay, and provided linkage support for over twenty moms.
We want thank you in advance for donating online, May 2, 2017. Need a reminder, no worries you can pledge now and we'll be glad to get in touch closer to the date. Feel free to share with a friend who may just rather write us a check!
Because Mothers Rock,
We recognize the importance for our community in expanding our Board. We are taking the steps necessary to increase visibility and provide quality services for all sufferers of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
Next week we are hosting a Board Member Interest Meeting. We would like to invite all interested parties to come. We are looking to build a dedicated, diverse, enthusiastic team.
If this describes you, please come to our meeting or contact us for more details!
More information can be found here.
Read the form below for more information on what the general requirements of The Seventh Mom Project, Inc. Board Members.
Come Hold the Umbrella with us,
The Seventh Mom Project, Inc Board
I want to apologize for the lack of blog posts this month. June has been much busier than I could have ever imagined.
I need to thank all the supporters. The Seventh Mom Project, Inc. was in its infancy only one year ago. We showed a film, and we knew we had to keep working. Thank you to everyone who has helped along the way!
So why has June been so busy?? Between school letting out, a full day SISTER Mom training featuring Mental Health First Aid, and a half day Cultural and Linguistic Competency workshop with Tampa Bay Health Care Collaborative, we CLIMBED. Well some of us actually climbed, the majority walked a beautiful Florida path on a muggy Saturday morning.
Our Climb raised $555 to contribute to Postpartum Progress as they continue their mission to help moms globally. Our climb was attended by 28 adults and 24 or so children. We met at Weedon Island at 8 am on June 11th, ate some delicious donuts and drank my life source, aka coffee.
I stood on a table and nearly cried as I was so touched by the turn out and the support. I really don't think I could properly convey how grateful I truly am.
We were honored to climb with the mother supporter of a climb leader from Vermont. She even brought a gift, a book written by her daughter, Dancing on the Edge of Sanity. We used it as a raffle prize to share with our participants, but will be adding this to our library with our next order!
Mrs. Florida Galaxy and her family joined our climb and gave a moving keynote address post climb. We were also joined by Sarah, the founder of Postpartum Florida, our friend and mentor on this journey. She is extra cool because she brought cake.
After a muggy walk, we ate cake! Because when you are as awesome as we are, it is totally okay to eat cake at 9:30 am.
Thanks again for a wonderful inaugural climb in Tampa Bay! Please forgive us for our lack of posts this month. We are working hard on a few big projects to debut in July!
Holding the Umbrella,
Something I didn't expect my struggle with postpartum depression anxiety to bring me was this drive to learn knew things and meet knew people. The further along I come in my recovery, the more grateful I am for the path this illness has led me down and certainly for the people I have met along the way.
Today I share with you a slideshow/movie creation I made. Ask my husband about my technology skills, and he might just laugh. But this project has driven me to open my mind and really learn how to do some techy things. I originally wanted to play it to Rachel Platten's "Stand By You" song, because that song resonates so much with me when I look at the relationships I have built over the last year, but you know, copyright issues.
Thank you to all the moms in this video and to all the supporters that keep Rebecca and I on the path of this mission.
And to all the moms in the hole, we are here to help you out. We are here to Stand By You.
Holding the Umbrella,
Thank you for visiting our blog and for continuing to stand with moms. We are very excited to announce our participation in this year's Give Day Tampa Bay!
Please read the entire Press Release and learn more about this wonderful event here.
You can register to attend the event here.
Help us out by joining our #AprilShowersBringMayFlowers Social Media Campaign!Join us to spread the word during April in our #AprilShowersBringMayFlowers campaing. Share your images of you holding your umbrella in support with the hashtags: #theseventhmomproject #GiveDayTampaBay #weatheringstorms #livehere #givehere
PLEASE post your photos and share ours or you can email your photos to email@example.com for us to post throughout April leading up to Give Day Tampa Bay on May 3, 2016!
As a mom, my social life has been greatly enhanced by my iPhone. Seriously, thank you Apple and Facebook for making it possible for me to connect with other moms while laying in the cozy mountain of blankets, semi clean laundry with a clingy baby on my breast.
But today I thank you for a multitude of reasons...
Thank you for taking an interest in postpartum depression research.
Thank you for making it possible for moms like me to participate in the largest research study about PPD.
Thank you for bringing attention to this dreadful illness and allowing us to contribute to furthering our understanding of the disease that affects more women than gestational diabetes.
I, of course, read the news and immediately downloaded the app from my App Store. As a data nerd, I am totally in love with the simplicity of this data collection tool!
I read through the consent forms and did the quizzes that proved my competency and willingness to participate.
I immediately recognized the Edinburg Postpartum Depression Scale questions and answered as truthfully as I could remember.
It was so easy. I haven't had a chance to spit yet, but I am sure my vial is in the mail.
I am semi jealous of the scientists that get to play with over 100,000 different sample of DNA looking for a commonality that could be a responsible factor for PPD.
A genetic factor can mean so much to so many. The possibilities for preparation will go beyond making a pp meal plan. The stigma reduction alone is worth the research.
So thank you Apple, UNC and Postpartum Progress, for reaching moms with PPD where we are at, literally in our bedrooms on our iPhones.
If you're interested in doing the study too visit
Sent from my iPhone,
Each walk is different, but we walk together, and that makes all the