If you didn’t know by now, I am a mom. A mom living with a chronic condition called ulcerative colitis. Actually, I’ve got about 5 autoimmune conditions that manifest in all sorts of different types of ways. But ulcerative colitis has been the foundation, the root, from which most of these conditions have grown from. It’s like the fertilizer for all my issues. Ulcerative colitis is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which is in short, inflammation of your guts. Not to be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Irritable Bowel Disease (which doesn’t exist). IBD & IBS are both gut centered conditions. You may have both, but they are not the same. For an amazing explanation of the differences between IBD & IBS, check out my dear friend Amber Tresca’s article on Verywell. So, back to, the I’m a mom thing. I’m a mom with a few conditions and for a while I was living incognito amongst the other moms. Mostly because there was nothing out there for a mom like me. And then I found some moms like me and realized, how amazing it was to be in a room with women who got it! So… I made a thing. I coerced, Amber to come do the thing with me. And this thing we are doing will be for moms affected by IBD!
That’s right, all of you mommies who read this blog that are either patients living with IBD or are caring for someone with IBD, we made something for you! This idea had been swirling around in my head for a very long time. The deeper I got into the baby world and participating in all the events with other mommy social media influencers, I realized there was no diversity. I was surrounded by healthy, able bodied mommies. There were no mommies who were like me. They had misguided jealousy of my incredibly skinny post baby figure. And they were frustrated by my lack of energy. Some great things came out of infiltrating this group of social media influencers. Finding and connecting with brands that had items, moms affected by IBD could use, but didn’t know existed or if they were disability friendly. I realized that there was a reason I was put into this position and started to incorporate it a lot into my advocacy work. But it just didn’t seem like enough. My brand was never going to be focused solely on IBD…because…I am more than IBD. However, I had all this information to share, and it needed to be in a safe space for IBD moms to be able to reach it. A couple of light bulbs flashed and I approached my friend Amber. She co-signed. Then I tested the idea out on a few IBD advocate moms I knew like Christy Stone from Crohnie Bologna & Stephanie Hughes from Stolen Colon. They co-signed. I went back to Amber, tossed some ideas around, came up with a plan of action for 2018. Suddenly, we had a thing. And we named it, IBDMoms.
For the past 11 months, we have been hosting twitter chats monthly and a few Facebook live events with other brands. I’ve connected some moms with brands that helped to booster their quality of mom-life. Next thing I know we are talking to sponsors and winning grants. Yea, no, seriously, this has become a thing and this thing is actively helping moms. In October 2018, we became a recipient of the 2018 HealtheVoices Impact Fund to help build our website. Yes, child, a website! Starting December 7th, IBDMoms.org will become a platform where you can read articles specific to IBD & mom life. 2019 will bring promo codes for IBD friendly mom brands, how to videos, giveaways, baby carrier try-on loan out program, IBDMoms Natural Disaster relief supplies, IBD Mommy meet ups and more ways to interact with other IBD moms. There will also be a section available where IBDMoms in need of supplies, can receive donations. Yes…we are trying to cover all bases. Motherhood can be challenging…IBDMotherhood can be unrelenting.
I was a mom struggling through the fog of motherhood, carrying the heavy load of IBD on my back. It nearly broke me. On my darkest days, I didn’t have anywhere to go. I don’t want anyone else to have to carry this burden alone. There is a community of women out there for you…we are here. And we have information, hot coffee and ears ready to listen. If you are a mom with IBD, or care for someone with IBD or if you know a mom with IBD…check out IBDMoms.org. You can also find us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest. We are not a non-profit, but if you would like to donate to help us help IBDMoms in need, there will be a list on the website of items & cash donation increments with directions to follow. And I just wanna wrap up and say, I am so grateful to the thousands of you come by and read my stories. Your emails, comments, and link sharing mean a lot. By sharing my stories, you are spreading awareness of my disease. And you’ve paved a way for me to create more avenues to help others. For that I am eternally grateful to you! xo