May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month – #31ReasonsWhyMMHMatters

In order to support Maternal Mental Health awareness during May – I’m calling out a reason every day during this month that gives experiences and insight to explain more about why it matters.

Maternal Mental Health is more than the “baby blues”, and it effects up to 1 in 5 women, yet its downplayed, underdiagnosed, stigmatized, and otherwise viewed as something that will just go away.  BUT IT WON’T.  Maternal Mental Health (MMH) encompasses a wide range of perinatal mood disorders that can occur including postpartum depressions, postpartum anxiety, postpartum psychosis, postpartum postraumatic stress disorder, postpartum OCD, and bi-polar mood disorder with perinatal onset.  More info on these can be viewed here:

MMH conditions are indiscriminate across varying age groups, races, cultures, subcultures, socio-economic status.  It can effect ANYONE. Your mom, your wife, your sister, your friend, your daughter, your colleague, and the list goes on… Maybe they shared, maybe they hid it, maybe you never knew, but if you know 5 women, chances are you know someone who has suffered.

This is the primary reason that we are hosting our event in Skokie on June – to raise awareness and funds dedicated to Maternal Mental Health. PLEASE CONSIDER SUPPORTING BY JOINING OR DONATING TO THE CAUSE. Check out more about it here.

So here is my running list, and I will continue to add to it daily through the month of May.

  1. She thought her kids and/or partner would be better off without her
  2. When she expressed her fears that she would be a bad mother she was told “don’t worry, you’ll be fine”.
  3. She was mommy-shamed for a choice she made for her own self-care
  4. She couldn’t access the help she needed
  5. She was on edge all the time and picked fights with her partner over little things
  6. When she said she felt like she was drowning they all thought she was overreacting or exaggerating.
  7. We never told her postpartum anxiety and/or depression has a history in our family.
  8. She DID tell her provider her symptoms, but they chalked it up to “new mom anxiety”
  9. She says she’s ok, but I hear her crying alone in another room
  10. She never mentioned her symptoms because she feared they would take her other children away and/or she would be arrested
  11. She told herself she didn’t deserve to a mother
  12. She couldn’t find a reason to get out of bed
  13. It’s Mother’s Day…..You came from a mother, are a mother, or know a mother – and EVERY mother needs support. Period.
  14. She had vividly horrifying dreams of harming her baby even though in real life she never would
  15. She lied on the depression screening questionnaire so she could leave, and because she’d never admit to being broken.
  16. She set her alarm every 30 minutes to check if the baby was still breathing
  17. She felt she failed at every aspect of motherhood
  18. She had unexpected and unexplainable panic attacks

Evanston/Skokie Maternal Mental Health ColorWalk June 10, 2018 – Join us!

There are many reasons that I am passionate about raising maternal mental health (MMH) awareness. Maternal Mental Health issues affect 15- 20% of women and are the most common complication of childbirth, yet they remain the most underdiagnosed. From my own personal experience and learning from conversations with other mamas sharing theirs in grief, loss, and motherhood, I’m now painfully aware that we are failing mothers everywhere.

After the loss of my preemie daughter Delilah, even in the midst of the catharsis provided by starting the Tangerine Owl Project in her name and to support others going through similar tragedy, I still found myself battling maternal anxiety & depression – years later. The effects of birth trauma, having a baby in the NICU, and/or losing a child are long lasting. But it’s not just the loss community that suffers.

Women everywhere are experiencing MMH issues. The US has staggering rates of maternal morbidity & mortality. Sadly, this is because too many mamas still remain scared, silent, unable to access care, ignored, helpless, or hopeless. There is great need among every population and subgroup – MMH conditions do not discriminate.

2020 Mom, a national non-profit dedicated to closing gaps in Maternal Mental Healthcare has launched our 2018 ColorWalk at locations across the country. We are raising awareness about MMH among our community and among women at-risk for developing postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, or postpartum psychosis.

The Skokie/Evanston area MMH ColorWalk is scheduled for Saturday, June 10th, 10:00 AM at Devonshire Park (4422 Greenwood, Skokie 60076), and I have set up a fundraising team. I am asking for your support.


This is doubly beneficial because 2020 Mom will donate a portion of the money our team raises back to the Tangerine Owl Project!

Ways people can Join My Team & Support MMH:
1. Join My Team: Walk with me and help me fundraise for this cause
2. Join My Team: Walk with me and make a donation to my team
3. Join My Team: Walk with me
4. Make a donation to my team

Any of the above can be done by visiting my Walk Team Page here:

  • $25 will provide a package of diapers that our ambassadors can take to a local organization in need
  • $50 can help an ambassador provide a lunch & learn session at their local hospital
  • $!00 will provide MMH awareness materials to a medical provider’s office
  • $150 can help us send an MMH advocate to Washington DC to talk with legislators about MMH policy initiatives & share their story.
  • $250 will fund a MMH documentary screening for communities and/or practitioners

1 in 5 Women will experience a Maternal Mental Health issue in their lifetime. Odds are you already know women who have or will.

We welcome all community members, local businesses, organizations, MMH advocates, and practitioners to participate & come together at this family-friendly event; Get BOLD and make an impact!  We will provide the Color Dust (non-toxic & eco-friendly), Water & Refreshments at this family friendly event. If you are a mother or know a mother, YOU HAVE STAKE IN THIS CAUSE.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Thank you for your support!


Skokie/North Shore, we need you… PLEASE register to donate blood

The Griffin Maks Community Blood Drive will take place on Tuesday, July 29th, between 2:00-7:00pm at Oakton Community Center, (program room west) in Skokie.

Summers are notoriously low for blood donations, yet the need stays the same year round.  The Maks family wants to honor their little boy Griffin by doing this blood drive because they know without blood donations, he would not be in remission from the leukemia he battled for years.

if that’s not enough to encourage, we’re also making it a celebration! Raffle, treats, and goody bags for our donors, plus meet the guest of honor as he gives out lemonade! Childcare will be available for parents who have the kiddos with them while they donate.

Appointments are preferred, though walk ins will be accommodated as quickly as we can. Please let me know if I can sign you up.  Here is the flyer: Griffin Maks Blood Drive PDF


Chicago area friends, please SAVE THE DATE:
The Tangerine Owl Project’s pregnancy & infant loss remembrance event will be held on Saturday, October 4th in the Skokie/Evanston area, a few hours in the late afternoon until just after sunset….. More details to come soon!

If you know parents who have lost their babies (including miscarriage and stillbirth), please have them get in touch with us, and spread the word! They will be in good company.

Summer Blood Drive Update! It’s scheduled – Sign up now!

We have officially scheduled the Tangerine Owl Project Blood Drive in honor of Griffin Maks!

Date: Tuesday July 29, 2014

Times: 2:00-7:00pm

Location: Oakton Community Center (Program Room West); 4701 Oakton St, Skokie, IL 60076

Appointments can be made prior to the date by following the link below and creating a login to schedule your slot.  Appointments are not required, but will help those in need of a specific time frame.  Walk-ins are welcome.

Treats, and family friendly atmosphere will be provided, so feel free to bring the kiddos along.

Our goal is 50 people, but we’d love to bring this community together to knock that goal right out of the park!

Chicago Promise Walk

I was honored to speak this past Sunday at the Pre-eclampsia Foundation’s Chicago Promise Walk.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day to enjoy Busse Woods & to make an impact in awareness for the foundation.  Sharing my story was somewhat difficult with the flood of memories that returned as I was speaking, but I also knew that I was in a place where a great deal of the audience had a similar experience, if not worse, battling Preeclampsia. 

Teams of walkers/runners and their families and friends hit the course because they were survivors, or in honor of those they had lost.  It was there that it sunk in that this condition effects so many people… Many silently battle or find out too late that they have it, and it strikes without rhyme or reason.  My story is just one story, and I am so proud to be a survivor. I will look forward to working with the Preeclampsia Foundation to spread awareness so that others will recognize the signs and we will continue to support the families whose lives have been effected by this puzzling, chaotic condition.  (For more info on the condition, please go here: