Local Couple to Swim Lake Michigan for PPD Awareness

post partum depression

photo credit:pagedooley

Sara and Jeff Tow are working hard this summer to raise awareness of postpartum depression by becoming the first married couple to complete a 50 mile ultra-marathon swim across Lake Michigan this summer on August 15, 2012!

“In August of 2012 (around the 15th – 17th, depending on weather conditions), we’ll be crossing Lake Michigan at its midpoint. Straight across, this is a 50 mile swim… an ultra-marathon swim. With current and wind and the ever-changing, unpredictable weather on the lake, the likelihood is we’ll swim between 55 and 60 miles when we step on the beach in Ludington, Michigan.”

Both Sara and Jeff dealt with perinatal mood disorders after both of their children, they’ve been there – done that. And now they’re trying to inform others about what these mood disorders may look like, because you can’t always tell when you’re in the midst of it.

Types of Perinatal Mood Disorders:

  • Pregnancy or Postpartum Depression
  • Pregnancy or Postpartum Anxiety
  • Pregnancy or Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Postpartum Psychosis

Read more about the symptoms of each.

“Women [and men] of every culture, age, income level and race can develop perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Symptoms can appear any time during pregnancy and the first 12 months after childbirth.”

Listening to their stories is heart-wrenching, yet all so real and really hits close to home. So often perinatal mood disorders go undiagnosed or untreated because we really don’t realize what’s going on in our minds, and what symptoms are really connected to them.

Sara’s Story

Jeff’s Story

Make sure you follow Through the Blue on Facebook to keep up to date on their progress and training!

And swimming 50 (yes, FIFTY) miles is hard. Very hard. You can get involved and help make sure they have the equipment they need or send them an encouraging note to let them know how important this swim really is, for everyone who has children. For the health and well-being of our families.

They have two goals for donations made to Through the Blue:

The first is to help agencies/groups who help families with a focus on Perinatal Mood Disorders. The second is to help make this swim a reality by assisting with the expenses required to complete the journey. These two go hand-in-hand.

By helping those who help families, we are making a difference in people’s lives and providing them with the resources they need to get that help. By completing the swim, we are actively raising awareness and drawing attention to this mental illness in a way that has never been done before. Simply put, a successful swim makes for a successful awareness campaign.

This is only the beginning. While the swim may be a one-time event, Through The Blue is preparing to keep the message going beyond this event. We hope that the connections we make today, and those who join Team Tow now, will be partners in the long-term journey of continually raising awareness for this cause that is near and dear to our hearts. We suffered greatly. We don’t want others to suffer.

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This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

About donielle

Donielle is a natural momma of two, lover of real foods, and owner and editor of Grand Rapids Natural Living and Naturally Knocked Up. You can usually find her in the kitchen whipping up some nourishing foods, cuddled on the couch reading books to the littles, avoiding the laundry and Mt. Saint Dishes, or tapping away on the laptop. Her husband puts up with her sometimes crazy "hippie" ways, but loves her regardless. Welcome to my home away from home.


  1. Hi Donielle, Thank you so much for telling our story in such a beautiful way. We are grateful for your support in spreading awareness of perinatal mood disorders, together we can help others find hope and healing. With much gratitude, Sara