2020 Mom Project Ambassador of the Year
This December I was named “Ambassador of the Year” by 2020 Mom Project, a national nonprofit that seeks to close the gaps in maternal mental healthcare through education, advocacy and collaboration. 2020 Mom Project has issued a national call to action that sets forth an aggressive new path for what some have called one of the biggest public health concerns of our time: the silent maternal mental health crisis impacting up to 20% of expecting and new mothers. I remain deeply humbled and grateful to be able to work side-by-side with some of the most inspiring and influential individuals making change and leading the movement to support maternal mental health and the 1.3 million women and families who are affected annually by postpartum mood disorders.
In an interview for their newsletter, I was asked why I chose to become a 2020 Mom Project Ambassador. Following is an excerpt of that interview: My professional background in psychology, public relations and documentary photography placed me at an interesting crossroads when I was personally affected by postpartum depression. After my horrific experience, I knew I had to do something to help the countless women who were suffering silently as I had. Thus, as many survivors are called to do, I embarked on a larger journey to make a difference on the front lines of maternal mental health and maternity care.
Five years ago when I was working with Wendy Davis and Postpartum Support International as their PR/Marketing Chair, I heard about Joy Burkhard and "The 2020 Mom Project." At the time, awareness and discussion about maternal mental health was still mostly limited to the tragedies of postpartum psychosis and the media's brutal portrayal of them. Frustrated, I remember thinking to myself, "We know what isn't working. Let’s try to identify what is working and springboard off of that." Joy’s mission with 2020 Mom Project was exactly this — working within an existing infrastructure to identify and close the gaps in maternal mental health. When the opportunity arose to become an Ambassador for 2020 Mom Project, I jumped at the chance.
Today, as a trained doula, maternal health spokesperson and advocate, I have witnessed firsthand how the conversation is shifting towards a more open and honest dialogue about the state of maternal mental health in the U.S. Now, more than ever, we have to keep working and fighting to affect change in the field. 2020 Mom Project is doing important work in this regard and I am honored to be counted among their Ambassadors helping in this mission.
by Maria Carola