I think most of us have them, right? A musician, an athlete, a movie star, a writer, a politician, a teacher…it can be anyone. Anyone we aspire to be. Anyone we look up to. Anyone we put up on a pedestal. Untouchable.
We all have idols.
And sometimes, those idols disappoint us. Sometimes those idols fall from that pedestal we’ve put them on, shattering like a porcelain vase, and leaving us surrounded by the shards.
This week, an idol fell.
I try not to put anyone up on a pedestal. I know we are all human. No one better or more important than another. But, sometimes, even I am left in awe of a person.
Katherine Stone, founder of Postpartum Progress, was an idol to many. An idol to women who in their darkest hours, found hope through the organization she started. Like I said, I try not to idolize people. I don’t like pedestals. I like us all to be on the same level. But, it’s easy to get caught up in idol worship when you feel that a person saved your life. Or at least played a major role in saving it. I am sure, I have said “Katherine saved my life” In fact, I believe I said it to her. And maybe that was where so much of the problem came from.
When people tell you over and over that you are their savior. I think you probably start to believe it.
Our idols can do no wrong…right?
Betrayal was what I felt when I first heard about the terrible things that went on behind the scenes. Racism. Systemic and poisonous. Harming women who were my friends, women who put their heart an soul into the work they did for the organization. I was heartbroken. How had I missed this? Why didnt I see? Why wasnt I able to help my dear friends? I also felt betrayed. An organization that I volunteered countless hours for, raising funds and donating funds. Given years of my life to.
The curtain pulled back. The Wizard was revealed. Nothing was as it seemed. Shock and betrayal.
But what could be done? How could we get through this? Let’s make real change! A new CEO? A New board? Yes, we can make this work. Continue to do the work we started, with this organization, under new leadership. Or not…
Our idolized leader and board apparently had the feelings of a scorned boyfriend… “If I can’t have you, no one can!” and they burned the house to the ground.
Postpartum Progress is gone. That beacon of hope for so many suffering moms. So many “sad moms” as Avery calls the women I help. It’s gone. Not because of the women who spoke out against the issues inside the organization. Those women had to speak out. We all needed to know, and things needed to change.
It’s gone because of egos. It’s gone because of idols who couldn’t gently step down from their pedestals, and allow someone else to step up. They could have done the right thing. Instead, they jumped from the pedestal, swinging their sword as they fell back to Earth, destroying everything around, and leaving moms in the rubble, asking “What happened? What do I do now?”
Leaving so many of us feeling shocked, scared, and betrayed.
But, Postpartum Progress is more than just one woman. I will give credit where credit is due, Katherine did start this organization that helped me, and countless other women. But she isn’t Postpartum Progress alone. WE were Postpartum Progress and WE haven’t gone anywhere.
Postpartum Progress didn’t save me. Katherine Stone didn’t save me. I saved me. I did the work. YOU, mom who is reading this, YOU did the work. WE did the work together. The other moms, they helped you to save yourself. Our community of Warrior Moms. It wasn’t Katherine who answered your phone call at 2am and calmed you as you cried. It wasn’t the organization who shared it’s story of struggling with OCD and intrusive thoughts that made you say “Me too! I’m not alone!” It was the women who shared their stories in blog posts. The ones who moderated support groups online. Those who planned, volunteered, and spoke at conferences. It was another mom. Another mom who supported you in your darkest hours.
Postpartum Progress provided you with some of the tools, but you were the one who used those tools. Postpartum Progress was a resource. A great resource for sure, but there are others. And the people who helped you, the other warrior moms who walked through the fire before you, those people are still here. It’s not about the logo on our shirts, it’s the love in our hearts. There is still so much work to be done. The work will continue. We will continue to do the work.
We will continue to help moms.
Idols fall, but we are here to help you dig out of the rubble. We are still here.