By Kathy Collins

According to Rebecca Hartley, one of the founders of The Seventh Mom Project, Inc., the most common complication of childbirth is postpartum depression. One in seven women will be diagnosed with this completely treatable, temporary medical illness. It is for this reason that Hartley, along with Elizabeth Good, founded The Seventh Mom Project, Inc.

“We want moms to know they are not alone in the struggle and together we can help them climb out of the darkness that is perinatal mood disorder. We want them to know we are in their community and help is available through contacting us,” said Hartley.

Both Hartley and Good are survivors of Postpartum Depression and both work in social service fields with women during their childbearing years.

“It is a story we see over and over. Moms in distress, needing help and providers are not screening or if they are, they do not have adequate resources to treat women. We realized that the resources are available for moms, but the linkage from the providers to the proper resources are not always there. We are that linkage,” explained Hartley.

The Seventh Mom Project, Inc. will hold its first peer support group on Wednesday, November 4 at Sweet Child O’Mine Birth Center in Brandon. More groups will be scheduled throughout Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties as meeting space and qualified leaders are secured.

The Seventh Mom Project, Inc. will hold a launch event on Thursday, November 5 with a screening of The Dark Side of the Full Moon at USF’s College of Public Health located at 13201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in Tampa at 5:30 p.m. The screening is free, but parking costs $5. The Maternal and Child Health Student Organization will be collecting diapers for the needy as well as donations to help offset the start up costs of The Seventh Mom Project, Inc.

Hartley said, “We want the professional community to be aware of a serious problem and know they can utilize The Seventh Mom Project, Inc. to help their patients connect to the services they need. We want to help decrease the number of moms suffering in silence through partnership and education. We want the general public to help us reduce the stigma associated with maternal mental illness and help us reach more families struggling with these illnesses.”

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