The word “preeclampsia” was something I first Googled in April 2014. One of my best friends was diagnosed with preeclampsia that month and she had never heard that word before. Little did I know how that word would impact me forevermore.
Skimming Google articles, my friends and I came to understand that this was a medical term for high blood pressure in pregnant women. Ok, got it.
Unfortunately the story does not end there. Within weeks, my friend had to give birth to her baby girl way earlier than anyone could imagine. Tragically, preeclampsia took the life of her precious angel, Hope, and our lives were forever changed.
It turns out, baby Hope was also my own angel – a few months later, I was diagnosed with that same crazy word: “preeclampsia.” Thankfully, everything turned out okay, but in a short period of time, a condition I had never heard had affected three out of seven of my closest circle of friends!
I wondered why people did not know about this terrible disorder. Google came to the rescue again when I found that The Preeclampsia Foundation (our go-to source for information) does a walk in Chicago. My friends and I immediately signed up and formed a team to participate in this Promise Walk for Preeclampsia. People came out of the woodwork left and right, telling stories of their pregnancies with preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. I learned that preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders claim the lives of more than 76,000 mothers and 500,000 infant deaths a year (according to the Preeclampsia Foundation). My friends and I joined the Foundation’s effort to help raise awareness of preeclampsia so mothers know what to look for during (and shortly after) pregnancy.
Upon learning these horrible statistics, I wanted to do more to help raise awareness of preeclampsia so mothers know its signs as early as possible; and hopefully, to save the lives of infants and their moms. After holding several fund-raising events for the Preeclampsia Foundation in my store, Heads Up Boutique, I decided to create a statement line of cute, comfy, fun garments with 20% of the line’s net profits going to The Preeclampsia Foundation. All our designs feature a bow which is our reminder our sweet Hope, and all the babies and moms who have fought this disorder.
Principal, Heads Up
About Preeclampsia and the Preeclampsia Foundation
Thousands of women and babies die or get very sick each year from a dangerous condition called preeclampsia, a life-threatening disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Preeclampsia and related disorders such as HELLP syndrome and eclampsia are most often characterized by a rapid rise in blood pressure that can lead to seizure, stroke, multiple organ failure and death of the mother and/or baby. Preeclampsia is particularly dangerous because its symptoms, which include headache, swelling, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, can mimic symptoms that are common in many pregnancies.
The Preeclampsia Foundation is an empowered community of patients and experts, with a diverse array of resources and support to help moms and their families have the best possible pregnancy or to help families navigate the questions they have if an expectant mom doesn’t. We provide unparalleled support and advocacy for the people whose lives have been or will be affected by the condition – mothers, babies, fathers and their families. The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia™ is the signature awareness and fundraising event of the Preeclampsia Foundation as we build our mission to reduce maternal and infant illness and death due to preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome, and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy by providing patient support and education, raising public awareness, catalyzing research and improving healthcare practices.
We envision a world where preeclampsia no longer threatens the lives of mothers and babies like Hope. For more information on how you can join amazing advocates like Jessica in our mission, visit www.preeclampsia.org.