MILWAUKEE — This Mother's Day weekend, and all month long, Mom Mental Health Initiative (MMHI) in the Milwaukee area is working to normalize and bring awareness to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders with the #MyPostpartum social media campaign.
"We wanted people to see the reality of what it's like in that postpartum period when someone is suffering from a mental health disorder," said MMHI Co-founder Sarah Bloomquist.
The organization is encouraging mothers to use the hashtag #MyPostpartum to share their stories and show a "full range of motherhood experiences."
But it's not just this month the organization is working to help mothers in the Milwaukee area. Year-round MMHI helps connect moms struggling with mental health, whether during or post pregnancy, to resources and support.
According to the CDC, postpartum impacts one in 9 women. Women of color can be twice as likely to have symptoms, but are also less likely to seek out or receive help.
LaCretia Moss is a mom of three and said she wouldn't be here without help from MMHI.
Moss said her life has always been filled with joy a positivity. She even calls herself a unicorn.
"I love helping people, I love seeing the brighter side of life, I love believing you can take on anything, you can get through it no problem," Moss said.
Given her positive outlook on life, she said she felt shocked when she ended up suffering from postpartum depression and psychosis after giving birth to her third child.
"It was as if something climbed into my whole body and snatched out my soul, life, and joy of everything that was significant, and anything that mattered to me, I had no feeling or emotion to it at all," Moss said.
She knew she needed help, but she struggled to get it. She said many clinics told her they were full or providers belittled what she was experiencing.
She recalled telling health care professionals, "I need more help. I said I need somebody, I need help, I'm having a hard time. And this may have been three or four moths into it and I was still trying to find someone to help me."
Although Moss said she's still working on her mental health even seven years after her son's birth, she wouldn't be where she is today without the support she found in MMHI.
"It does get better. You will see yourself again. You can grieve the woman that you were, but embrace the woman that you are."