I spoke about my tiny tribe of IRL warrior mom friends. Today I want to talk about my online tribe. I first discovered the PPD blogging community through Katherine Stone’s blog, Postpartum Progress. She has a blog roll that led me to several blogs about PPD. I read every chance I could get regarding other warrior mom’s struggles. I found Lauren Hale’s blog http://mypostpartumvoice.com, and I discovered the hashtag #ppdchat. I had heard about Twitter, but I was reluctant to set up an account.
After about two weeks, I took the plunge and set up a Twitter account specifically for joining #ppdchat. I found two lovely first-time moms: Story of http://hardtomommy.blogspot.com and Becky of http://blog.prismaticdesign.com/. They were so kind and did not dismiss this stalker person who kept tweeting them. I finally got the courage to join in on #ppdchat conversations, and I found comfort. The Internet saved my life. I knew one person who had experienced postpartum depression. This friend was in the midst of a contentious divorce. I felt like I could not burden her with my struggles. I found Robin of http://farewellstranger.com , Yael of http://ppdtojoy.com and Frelle of http://mademorebeautiful.com. As more and more women break their silence and shame regarding postpartum mood disorders, my circle of PPD moms has expanded exponentially within the past ten months that I have been on twitter. It was at these moms’ gentle encouragement that I found the courage to tell my story. My name is Jenny. I continue to suffer from GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), and I am a survivor of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. I am a proud member of the #ppdarmy. I continue to participate when I can on #ppdchat. This hashtag is amazing. There are moms around the globe that surround you with love if you send out a tweet when you are struggling. I have made some wonderful friends through this online support I have grown to rely on this network as heavily as I rely on my husband, my family, and my friends. As I start speaking up about my struggles, I am discovering that more friends and acquaintances have suffered from postpartum depression. It’s one of those things that is only spoken about in whispers. I am not afraid. I am not ashamed. I have a mental illness, but it does not define me. I am not just my illness. I am so much more. I have learned so much about listening and empathy through my experience with #ppdchat. There is an army waiting for you if you need it to surround you with arms of love.