Our Third Annual Corvallis Climb Out of the Darkness on July 21, 2018 was a huge success. Every year we host this event, it gets bigger and better. However, our most important marker of success for the event is if we have created a space where moms and families can come once a year where they feel supported to mark--and celebrate--where they are on their journey with mental health struggles like postpartum depression, prenatal anxiety, OCD, and postpartum psychosis. We lump all of these mood struggles together under one label: Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs).
A huge stigma around mental illness still remains in our culture, even more so when mental illness is coupled with pregnancy and/or caring for an infant. Because people are afraid to talk about it--or just don't know how to talk about it, lots of moms suffer from treatable illnesses for far too long, not knowing that what they are experiencing is beyond normal, is treatable, and will get better with support.
So, the act of gathering in a public place, under a bright sun, is an act of resistance against this stigma. It is a bold and brave move to show up to an event specifically focused on bringing maternal mental health out of the shadows and into the light. So, for that reason, we thank every person who came to the event on Saturday. You are why we climb.
A Look at How Far We've Come
The Climb Out of the Darkness is all about taking a moment to pause and look how far we've come-- in our journey as parents, as people who are working on making ourselves better and our world better for our children, at how much work we've put into our mental and emotional health over the last year, at how much progress we've made. Even if it's just that we got out of the house and made it to the park, that is progress worthy of celebration! We honor every person's journey. We look back so that we can look forward, acknowledging that we have indeed made progress, and we are, in fact, not alone.
In that spirit, let's take a look at how our local Climb Out of the Darkness is growing, and the project that it supports. The Climb Out of the Darkness has been organized locally for four years now, first by local mom Erin Martin, and then by Rachel Brinker starting in 2016. 2017 was the first year that local teams were able to apply as a community project and receive 75% of the funds they raise to support their local project. Proud Mama Support Services founder Rachel Brinker was aware that there was a need for a peer social support option in Corvallis, a support group focused on creating community and resilience for moms, dads, and partners dealing with mood and anxiety issues during pregnancy and the postpartum year. Proud Mama Support Services applied to Postpartum Support International (the non-profit that organizes the Climb Out of the Darkness since 2015) with our idea for a local support group, and our community project was approved. Our 2017 Climb Out of the Darkness brought 30 people to the event, and we raised $900, a huge success for a project that was just a vision at that point.
With the funds we received back from Postpartum Support International (PSI), we began hosting a facilitated perinatal support group at Restore Physical Therapy in October 2017. We began with one meeting every other Saturday. The group is free and open to anyone who wants to attend.
Where We Are Now
So far this year (2018), we have raised $3,100 for Postpartum Support International and our local support group. Our Climb Out of the Darkness brought more than 50 people to the event.
Nationally, the 2018 Climb Out of the Darkness has had over 5,000 participants and has raised over $170,000 for Postpartum Support International and its local community projects.
Our perinatal support group has directly served over forty families since October 2017. Find out more about the group and who we serve here. The group quickly grew beyond the capacity of the space with just one meeting time, so we added a second meeting time in April 2018. Both meeting times continue to be well attended, averaging 4-6 moms/parents per meeting. We are so glad to be able to provide this much needed service to the Corvallis community.
Our Cost to run Corvallis Perinatal Support Group: $5,128
Continuing Education and Training: $300
Facilitator Compensation (including payroll taxes): $3,328
Administrative Costs (marketing, printing, administrative support): $1,300
Group Supplies: $200
Meeting Space: Donated by Restore Physical Therapy (Thank you!)
The Perinatal Support Group is a community initiative of Proud Mama Support Services. We rely 100% on support from donors and sponsors to be able to run the support group and to offer it at no cost to participants. A tax deductible donation any time of the year to our local Climb Out of the Darkness team will help fund our initiative.
Additionally, we are partnering with local businesses to create events to bring you some awesome opportunities to show your sustained support for our support group. A portion of the profits from each of these events will be donated to our perinatal support group.
We also have created a line of apparel, 100% of the proceeds of which will go toward funding the support group. These products are only available for a very limited time!
Thank you to our sponsors, Samaritan Health Services and Restore Physical Therapy, for your generous support. And, thank you to all our donors!
Empower Haiti Together, Shine Midwifery, LLC, Diana Rose Studio, Becky Bricker LLC, Health Haven Studios, Jasmine Birthing Services, Naomi Hirsch Barefoot Books, MidValley Birthing Services, and all the individual donors who have made our Climb Out of the Darkness a success! See you next year!