Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Project Update!

Tomorrow I'm headed to Chicago for HealtheVoices 18, where I'll be presenting an update on the progress of this website! I know it doesn't look like much has been happening here, but trust me there's a lot occurring behind the scenes - so I wanted to provide a little update! 

For starters, I wanted to let you know about the HealtheVoices Virtual Experience - where you'll be able to tune in to my presentation on Sunday morning! 

As for my "behind the scenes" progress, as you can see above I worked with a graphic designer to develop a logo for Mamas Facing Forward. We discussed the mission and goals of the site and settled on a logo that includes the image of held hands. This is meant to represent both the relationship between mama and child as well as the connected nature of the community of mothers with chronic illnesses supporting one another. 

I've also been researching and gathering as many of the existing resources as I can find on topics related to motherhood and chronic illness. Through my own research and with feedback from real moms in the Mamas Facing Forward Facebook Group, I've developed an outline for the main menu for the site. Each main topic (seen below in bold) will have a drop-down menu with the sub-topics. Every article and resource published on the site will be tagged to fit into one or more of these topics. I'm also hoping to include a tagging system for resources related to specific illnesses, so I can direct viewers to relevant resources.

    • About Mamas Facing Forward
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms and Conditions
    • HealtheVoices Impact Fund info
    • Genetics & inheritability
    • Medication considerations
    • TTC (trying to conceive) & intimacy issues
    • Alternative parenthood paths (IVF, adoption, surrogacy, etc)
    • Treatment during pregnancy
    • Preparing for baby
    • Childbirth
    • Postpartum
  • KIDS
    • Baby
    • Toddler
    • Big kids
    • Teens
    • Special needs
    • Self-care
    • Explaining diagnosis to kids
    • Relationships
    • Food & home
    • Money & work
    • Single motherhood
    • Travel
    • Seasonal
Recently, I've taken a brief hiatus from working directly on the website to conduct some first-hand research into the challenges faced by moms living with chronic illnesses - by which I mean my own newest arrival is only three months old! She's finally started to let me sit at my computer again, so I expect progress from this point forward to be more rapid! I hope to have the first version of the site launched soon!

In the meantime, if you know of any great resources focusing on motherhood and chronic illness, please send them my way so I can make sure the links are included in my resource list! ( I'm also still searching for a reasonably-priced web designer to help me with some of the technical details of building the site, so I'd appreciate recommendations if you have them! And please feel free to contact me if you might be interested in writing a guest post for the site in the future - I have a small budget for this purpose! 

If you'll be at HealtheVoices please come find me and say hello! I'd love to meet you in person!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Website Coming Soon!

Motherhood is difficult. Living with a chronic illness is difficult. Sometimes doing both at the same time feels downright impossible! But while there are some great resources for moms and a growing number of fantastic resources for patients, there are very few resources out there addressing the unique challenges faced by moms who are also living with chronic illnesses. But that's about to change!

I am extremely excited to announce that I've been selected as one of four recipients to receive a grant from the inaugural HealtheVoices Impact Fund! The funds I receive will allow me to undertake a project I've been dreaming about for quite a while! Here's a brief description of my project from the award press release:
Mamas Facing Forward (Mariah Leach, Louisville, CO) - Mamas Facing Forward will be a "one-stop-shop" website dedicated to women living with chronic illnesses who are or intend to be mothers. While the private Facebook group of the same name has grown and been a valuable resource and community for these women, a website will help organize the topics that are discussed, generate new resources where gaps exist, and serve as a comprehensive foundation for much-needed information.
I must admit it seems more than a little crazy to take on this project with baby number three on the way right in the middle of it, but honestly that just reaffirms the need for a resource like this! So this page will serve as a place holder while I gather and organize existing resources, design the real Mamas Facing Forward website, identify gaps where resources are needed, generate material to fill the gaps, figure out the best ways to get the word out to other moms who could benefit...and give birth to my baby girl! 

In the meantime, if you're a mom living with a chronic illness or would maybe like to become one someday, please feel free to join the discussions in our private Facebook group!

I sincerely want to thank the HealtheVoices Team, the individuals serving on the panel of advocate advisors, the Community Foundation of New Jersey, and Janssen for offering me the opportunity to make this dream a reality!

Stay tuned!!