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,
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,
You never know who you are going to meet on your journey. Through our recent SISTERMom training, Rebecca and I have had the pleasure of meeting a local celebrity.
Deanna Silva is the current reigning Mrs. St. Petersburg, Florida and hopefully advancing to be crowned Mrs. Florida this May. Now, my adolescent minded prejudices would have thought, "What could this beautiful and talented woman and I have in common?" Sadly, it is this terrible illness that brings us together. But also, thankfully, we are brought together.
We are so proud of Deanna as she is taking on Postpartum Depression as her platform. It is brave and inspiring to see someone with with so much social spotlight, highlight a dark and personal struggle.
We thank you, Deanna, for holding the umbrella and speaking your truth to bring awareness to this critical health crisis. We know how hard it is, and we applaud you. We ask all our supporters, to support Deanna as she prepares for Mrs. Florida United States.
Please read her beautiful story "Finding Purpose Through the Pain: How PPD became a Blessing in Disguise."
We've talked lately about our love for doulas, today we wanted to let you know about a special kind of doula.
In short: they are awesome!
In the USA, families tend to spend more time preparing for the birth and collecting baby items, that often our fourth trimester (as I like to refer to the postpartum period) gets forgotten. Looking back, did anyone talk to you about a postpartum plan? I'm not just talking about stocking the freezer and having plenty of diapers, but a real plan. Who's going to feed you, help with chores, and walk the dog? Do you have someone to get your older kids to and from school? You may be thinking we'll my partner can do x,y, and z, but who's going to be there for your partner? Who is going to give you an objective ear when you need to voice your concerns and feelings?
Taking care of your new baby is around the clock job, so is taking care of the new mother. One of our major concerns is the mental health of mothers, after all at no other time will a mother's mental health affect her child more than in the first year of life.
Enter one of the best and most valuable professionals you can hire. Your postpartum doula is an asset like no other.
In case you are not familiar, allow me to explain just what a postpartum doula does. I postpartum doula can help with baby care, ensure you get a shower, do light household chores, ensure you get some much needed sleep, and offer gentle encouragement in your early days as a new mother. Not only does having a trusted professional in the home make the adjustment smoother, it can really help with postpartum distress. Well trained professional doulas are knowledgeable about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. They can see signs that you or your partner may not notice. They can be a trusted confidant when you have concerns about your mental health and can help you seek treatment when appropriate.
Some offer additional services that may interest you like belly binding or placenta arts. Even more helpful, many of the postpartum doulas in the Tampa Bay area are also well versed in breastfeeding support with a great number being Certified Lactation Counselors. Talk about the best new family support money can buy. Maybe you just had a baby and are realizing you need extra help. Perhaps you are experiencing a postpartum mood disorder and are beginning treatment. Go ahead and consult with a postpartum doula, sometimes they take clients who've already given birth. Having someone else who can remain objective while helping you take care of yourself may actually improve treatment outcomes and shorten the length of time it takes to recover.
Since we're celebrating World Doula Week, we thought it would be fun to highlight a couple of our highly recommended professionals working in the community.
Our friend and fellow seventh mom, Gaetane Joseph-Rhodd, owner of Seeds of Mommy Soul Birth Services is a postpartum doula and CLC working with Tampa families to improve the care for new moms. Here's a few words from Gaetane;
"After the birth of my son in 2008, I began to research other birthing options for women. His birth ended in an unnecessary cesarean and left me mourning the birth I deserved. The home birth of my daughter triggered a drive to provide other mothers with the support they need to have their desired birth. In 2015, I decided to focus my business on postpartum care. When a family finds out they are expecting, a lot of effort and attention is placed on their birth. Researching the best doctors, hire the best birth team, and finalizing your birth plan. The emphasis for postpartum support is not placed on the list of important aspects of pregnancy which can cause a difficult start to a family's parenting journey.
Postpartum care in this society isn't as sacred as it is in other cultures. For example, in Haitian culture a mother who has had a baby should remain in bed with baby. Her meals are in bed, she feeds her baby in bed, and is tucked in by the elder women in her family. Belly binding after her herbal baths are a traditional custom that helps with her postpartum progression. These customary traditions may not be for everyone but it's important to know that postpartum care is important for a woman's overall health. After the birth of your child, healing physically is not the only aspect of postpartum support. Knowing that your emotional and psychological health is also at its healthiest is one of the most important factors of postpartum care."
We wholeheartedly agree. Mom is taking care of baby, someone has got to take care of her. Which brings us to our pal Shary Lopez, founder of Mothercraft Postpartum Services.
Shary, is another great asset to any new mothers team. With lots breastfeeding experience and holistic postpartum care training, Shary brings a sense of love and honor to new mothers. A lost art in our culture today, Shary values the importance of the postpartum period and seeks to help families "...I noticed an extreme lack of community support for postpartum mothers. I am happy to mother new moms on their personal journeys in the fourth trimester."
Both of these amazing women are also DONA trained and have taken additional training in postpartum care and services. Not to mention they are both moms themselves and supporter of the seventh mom's mission to strengthen families struggling with perinatal distress disorders through community education, collaboration with medical professionals, and establishing a network of peer-to-peer support.
When you are interviewing perinatal professionals, feel free to ask them about their knowledge of maternal mental health. Ask about their training and experience, ask about their professional memberships and affiliations, even ask about postpartum books and blogs they might recommend. After all you wrote out the perfect birth plan, made those pretty affirmation cards, now it is time to write your postpartum plan too. If you're not certain about your postpartum care plan feel free to contact us, we'll be glad to help you prepare. We know many great professionals and are glad to connect you.
With Doula love and rainy day hugs,
Rebecca & Elizabeth
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,
While reviewing Tuesday’s blog post about International Women’s Day, it occurred to me how happy I am to have my amazing, feisty daughter. I am excited to be pushing these initiatives today, to provide for her generation a better tomorrow for women. I am not only excited to guide Allison and aid her individual growth; but also am excited to see who she will become. I look forward to a future of strong female leaders in a society that takes care of mothers the way they deserve to be cared for.
But it wasn’t always this way. From the moment I was pregnant, I tried to deny I was pregnant with a girl. I was so brutally sick, depressed and anxious. I wasn’t ready to accept I could parent a girl. People would ask and excitedly say, “One of each!” I would fill with dread. I was perfectly happy to raise two little boys and their older bonus sister on the weekends. I already had a girl and I had the luxury of sharing the role model responsibility with her biological mother.
My family was undergoing a lot of external stress when we found out we were pregnant with a girl. I luckily had read that girls withstand stress in the womb better, so I clung to that as a good thing. At least my baby would be more resilient. This was quickly counteracted with “WHO THINKS LIKE THIS?” screaming through my thoughts. Calmly followed by, “You, you do, because it’s all you have to hold on to right now.” My prenatal depression fed me lies. Told me I wouldn’t be a good mom to a girl. That I wouldn’t know what I was doing. My disappointment fed into my guilt and the whole thing escalated beyond my control. So I kept life moving, but underneath, I was an anxious, depressed kettle, ready to explode.
After International Women’s Day, and my epiphany that maybe this wasn’t an individual thing, maybe, like perinatal distress, there are more moms experiencing this disappointment, fear and guilt. So, I did what most moms would do, I turned to Google to find out. I was blown away by how prevalent this issue appeared on mom blogs and discussion boards. Notice the 282,000 google results!
I am linking a few that hit my heart hard:
Gender Disappointment – Tips For Coping With Gender Disappointment
SECRETLY SAD: OVERCOMING GENDER DISAPPOINTMENT
It’s a Boy, and It’s Okay to Be Disappointed
I am glad other parents are speaking out about this issue! It’s always nice to see that you’re not alone. I attempted to access some scholarly articles, and the one I found that linked gender disappointment as a risk factor was based on a cohort of women in rural Tamil Nadu, India. Interestingly enough, that study found that disappointment in having a girl was the concern for these mothers; while according to my completely unscientific review of the Internet, the western world seems to covet little girls. I found this personally interesting. The other studies I found on Google Scholar required paid memberships to access or a student ID. In my motherly opinion, I feel strongly that gender disappointment in the USA has to be tied to unrealistic expectations in American parenting (a subject I feel very soap boxy about, so let’s catch up another time). I would love to see more research and a transparent examination of gender disappointment; why it happens, how to help reduce the occurrence, and how to cope with it.
Realizing how much I love being a strong woman, made me realize how excited I am to raise a strong woman. Yes, it made me twinge with guilt for not embracing my daughter earlier, but also made me realize that I have embraced her fully. For this I am beyond grateful. She is my driving force and when (if) she has babies, postpartum life in America will be vastly different. This mama is making sure of it.
So tell me, did you experience mixed feelings when you found out the gender of your baby?
Reflecting on the rain,
Each walk is different, but we walk together, and that makes all the