Three weeks ago, I told this story in front of my friends, my family and complete strangers at Listen To Your Mother Show Milwaukee. It was so scary to step out there and own my truth. I also helped to co-produce and co-direct this show with my lovely fairy godmother, Alexandra. I have spent the past three weeks marveling at what we accomplished. LTYM empowers people to share their stories and believe in themselves. I have been forever changed by this experience.
Alexandra and I had never produced or directed a show like this before. We learned how to do it all – secure a venue, secure sponsorships, pick a charity, hold auditions, assemble our cast, publicity, create printed materials, put together a budget, run rehearsals, run our first technical rehearsal, and put on the show. We had the amazing Ann Imig, Deb Rox and Stephanie Precourt to guide us through this process. We also leaned heavily on the fantastic producer/director teams from the other twenty-three cities. We received a ton of guidance from our sweet neighbors to the south, Melisa Wells and Tracey Becker. Their support was invaluable.
I found myself changing from someone who was still finding her voice in terms of leadership to understanding what type of leader I wanted to be. Alexandra would always remind me, “You know what you know.” Her confidence and faith in me kept me persevering through this process. I began to assert myself at work due to the confidence I had realized through this process. I have made so many connections with our cast, our local sponsors, and our cause that I know what our community needs. Our community truly hungers for that connection with each other. We need to continue to celebrate our differences and embrace our similarities. We can learn so much from each other if we just truly listen to each other’s stories.
We had a show circle about a half hour before the opening of the show. When it was my turn to speak, I got really choked up. I realized how significant this moment was for me. I told the cast in a tear-filled voice that I could not have imagined this moment two years ago in the throes of depression and anxiety. Alexandra asked our cast to set an intention for our piece. I read my story in honor of all the mamas that have struggled, are struggling or will struggle in the future with postpartum mood disorders. I wanted them to hear my story and realize that they are not alone. I wanted to give them hope.
Sharing my story was cathartic and liberating. I met a mom after the show who I had met online in a Facebook group that I belong to, Mama’s Comfort Camp. My story resonated with her and her own experience. She asked me if I would be willing to share my story again with other local moms. I instantly responded that I would. Sharing my story and being an advocate for other moms is a passion of mine. I received so much comfort and support from the blogging community when I could only focus on surviving minute by minute. I want to be that helping hand for other moms so they know that there is hope. Thank you to my husband, my darling girls, my family and my friends for supporting me through this experience. I remain forever changed and transformed by this amazing experience.