Postpartum depression, which affects 1 in every 7 women, is the most common complication of childbirth. Sufferers and survivors all over the world climbed mountains and hiked trails to symbolize their collective rise out of the darkness and stigma of maternal mental illness as well as to raise funds to support Postpartum Progress, a non-profit organization in the U.S. founded to help support moms.
This year, there were more than 230 climbs that took place throughout the U.S., Canada, England, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand, including one locally at North Ottawa Dunes, Coast Guard Park in Ferrysburg.
Team Grand Haven, as they called themselves, had more than 40 participants that hiked the trail down to Lake Michigan starting at Coast Guard Park.
The climb was led by two local moms, Alissa Stoops and Jessica Durkee, both who struggled with a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder after the birth of their daughters in 2012. The cause is very important to them and they feel that raising awareness in West Michigan and all over the world is vital. They feel it’s especially important to bring awareness to other moms out there that may be struggling in the way that they did and for those moms to realize that they are not alone in their struggle.
The participants in the climb were other moms who have struggled (called Warrior Moms), family and friends who supported them or support the cause, and also children of those families.
At the time of the event, more than 1,400 climbers had already raised more than $154,000 for Climb Out of the Darkness 2014 to support the work of Postpartum Progress. Locally, the Climb Out of the Darkness – Team Grand Haven raised $4,010.