On Saturday, I’ll join with other Warrior Moms in Newark, Ohio and around the world to Climb Out of the Darkness, the largest event in the world raising awareness for postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. I’ve already written about it, but I’m joining with a bunch of others to tell you why I Climb.
But I have a good story about Why I Climb.
Late in the school year, the fourth grade social studies teacher put on a Market Place. Teams of three or four worked together to create something with their own hands, market it via signs and word-of-mouth, set up a display at the market, and sell their goods.
BigBrother worked with three other great students to create an inventory of rainbow loom bracelets. In the first letter that came home to parents, the teacher asked us to help—but not do all the work. Following these instructions, I reminded BigBrother to work on his bracelets in the evenings when we watched Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune together.
The final weekend before the big event, I sat and worked on a number of bracelets with him. I couldn’t get the actual loom process down, so my oldest son walked me through the process of making a bracelet on my fingers. His hands guided my hands as he helped me put little rubber bands on my fingers, helped me count enough to make a bracelet, helped me latch that first one. And the second one. And most of them; I wasn’t very good at latching. We spent an hour, just the two of us, working on bracelets, picking out colors, and generally enjoying each other.
We arrived at the Fourth Grade Market Place right as it started that morning. Our kid and his three teammates grinned from ear to ear. I picked out a few bracelets—ones I didn’t make—and paid for my purchases. All four students thanked us for coming and supporting their project. We walked around and checked out what each group of kids made. We congratulated them all on a job well done.
That afternoon, about an hour or so after the boys got home from school, BigBrother came into my office.
“Mom, when we split up the profits, we each got to keep ten dollars!”
I stopped typing and turned to him. “That’s great, Buddy. You worked really hard!”
“Our teacher suggested saving some or donating it to a charity. So I want to give mine to your charity to help moms.”
And then I couldn’t feel my toes.
You know that thing where you talk a lot and you think maybe your kids aren’t hearing anything you say? Or, maybe hearing but not retaining any of it? I live in that space. I talk a lot. I talk about big topics because my husband and I have this giant desire to raise kids with awareness and respect for their world. When I changed jobs last year, they asked questions about the work I do. I answered them. I said that I worked for a charity that helped moms. I explained more; I included talk about my anxiety of which they are already aware. They asked on and off for a few months, and then I thought they forgot or didn’t care or maybe it finally stuck, but I didn’t expect the latter.
Turns out it stuck.
I gathered my son in my arms, which seems increasingly harder as he won’t stop growing, and hugged him so tight. I then took us straight to my CrowdRise page, explained each step of the donation process, and had him enter his information. In his donation note, he typed, “Thank you for helping moms.”
If you had told me ten and a half years ago that someday my oldest son would stand next to me and type those words as he made a donation to Postpartum Progress, I would have laughed at you. Or not laughed really. I would have stared blankly at you. I would have worried you had it all wrong, had me confused with some other mother who knew what she was doing and could raise a child to ten, let alone one.
But here I am. Here we are. I Climb to help all moms so they don’t have to suffer in silence like I did.
I Climb for all three of my children. I fought hard to become the mother I am today, and I hope as they grow, they too know they’re never alone in anything they face.
You can still register for Climb Out of the Darkness. Find a Climb and register today. It’s free and you don’t have to fundraise. If you can’t make it to a local Climb, I’d be honored if you’d donate to my Climb.