Katherine Stone, 39, skipped the chapter about postpartum illnesses in What to Expect When You're Expecting, but in hindsight, wishes she hadn't. "Had I been more educated, I might have spent the first year of my son's life in a different place." Instead, she found herself battling postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder, one of a wide spectrum of illnesses that can occur around delivery and after giving birth. By the time of her son's first birthday in September 2002, Stone had been on medication and in therapy and had finally turned the corner.
But the experience kept haunting her. "It bothered me how isolated and alone I felt. There's no reason, in this day and age, for me not to know where to turn, not to know how common this is." So in 2004, the former Coca-Cola executive based in Fayetteville, Ga., put her marketing savvy to work and launched a blog called Postpartum Progress to give women a place to find comfort and answers. Now it's the most widely read blog on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders in the United States, with more than 3,000 readers weekly. It covers the latest research, support groups and treatment programs, personal stories, and the Surviving & Thriving Mothers Photo Album. "I really wanted to create something that refutes the myths, combats the fears, and reduces the stigma," says Stone, now a mother of two.