Band together in the name of strength & compassion
It’s a quote from one of the most courageous and inspirational women in the world today. I remember first hearing Malala’s story – and I was deeply affected by how she refused to be silent about what she believed in and experienced – even when that vocalization caused her to nearly lose her life.
For me, the truth is that being vocal can be scary, but the price of silence is higher and often far more dangerous.
I was lucky enough to become a mother last year, and Arni and I were blessed with a beautiful baby boy, a wonderful home and a brand new business all in the span of a few months. For all intents and purposes, life should have been glowing in every respect. Therefore, I didn’t understand the emotions I was feeling after Tristan was born – the exhaustion, depression, isolation and overwhelming feeling of just drowning in this new role of mother didn’t fit with my expectations. I’d thought I knew what motherhood would be like – tiring, yes – but also full of joyous moments and a sense of completion and purpose.
I am an engineer by trade, and I plan things every day. I’m organized and detail-oriented. I’d planned for every aspect of my life. But then life decided to shake me up. A few months after giving birth I finally realized that what I was experiencing was not unique to me. I was suffering from postpartum disorder – a real, clinical mental illness caused by childbirth. I wasn’t failing, I was suffering.
What I realized during this lonely time is that there are far too few conversations about postpartum disorder. I didn’t know where to turn or who to talk to – I didn’t even know that it was normal to experience the debilitating effects of postpartum. I was humbled by the experience, and when we launched Maria Shireen™, I knew from the beginning that it was critical that I do my best to create awareness about what I’d experienced and more importantly, to let other women know that you are not alone.
We launched our Charity Ties initiative just a couple of weeks ago, and I’m so proud to announce today that our first Charity Ties bracelet – which comes engraved with #BANDOFSTRENGTH on it – will benefit the extraordinary non-profit Postpartum Progress. For every bracelet sold, we’ll donate $10 to the organization as they raise awareness, fight stigma and to me, most importantly provide support and programming to women with maternal mental illness. I had the chance to sit down and have lunch with Katherine Stone, the Founder and Warrior Mom behind Postpartum Progress, and I was completely inspired by her dedication and the incredible way on how they are connecting mothers who need to know that they are not alone. If you’re suffering now, know that you are NOT alone. The organization provides resources to connect you to others who can guide you, hear you and most importantly understand your experience. Because every mother and family deserves a healthy start!
You’ll hear more about this vitally important cause from me – now that I’m talking about it, I won’t be quiet. I hope you’ll join me as we band together in the name of strength and compassion.