I've set up a fundraising/donation site at SponsorGoal.com for my Mrs. California entry. You can go here to view it/donate. Please feel free to share the link on your Facebook, blogs, twitter accounts, anything you can think of. I've also set up a Facebook page that can be viewed here. Something I would love to be able to take advantage of is an incentive that Sponsor Goal offers; if I get 5 people to create a campaign (for anything, from a charity to a race to a wedding), and those 5 people put my name as referring them to SponsorGoal, SponsorGoal will donate 100.00 to my campaign, regardless of whether those 5 campaigns get any money at all. The way to do this is to go to Sponsor Goal and click the link up top that says "Create". As you go through the process of creating your campaign, you'll reach a part where it asks how you heard about them. Put in my name (Esther Dale) and voila.
I have to say, I'm so deeply grateful for all of the support and encouragement I've already received from so many people. The best part of all is that it's already opened up a lot of discourse and dialog on the topic of PPMD. That's what this is all about. It's not about getting to wear a pretty dress or compete for a crown; it's about educating the public about the realities of PPMD. The fact that it's estimated that more than 1,000,000 women each year suffer in silence without getting treatment, the fact that men, grandparents, and adoptive parents can suffer PostPartum Depression too, not just a woman who gives birth; The reality that pregnancy can cause thyroid problems which can be, in my opinion, the most easily solvable root of PPMD; the fact that suicidal ideations and hospitalizations to treat them do not mean a military member will get in trouble or lose a security clearance. It's about dispelling the myths and teaching people how harmful (not to mention ignorant and wrong) it is to say things like "You just need to pray more" or "You must be sinning" or "It's just a bad mood, just get over it." or "You just had a baby. Stop being so ungrateful and start being happy". It's about letting women and their families know that they are not alone and that there's nothing wrong with struggling with PPMD. It's about educating people about the symptoms, the seriousness of PPMD, and the fact that someone demonstrating symptoms NEEDS to seek prompt medical treatment, even if it means going to the ER. It's about letting medical staff know that it's not enough to just hand out a piece of paper at the 6 week post-partum checkup but that women giving birth need to have someone actually take a few minutes to really talk to them and their partner, to say "This is what you're looking for, it's serious, don't take it lightly" and to ask "How are you doing?" and really listen and hear what they're saying. It's about letting insurance companies know that we need better access to care for those dealing with PPMD. It's about honoring the survivors, thanking the people who encourage us to speak up and get help, and remembering those who didn't make it and their families and loved ones who are left to pick up the pieces; remembering them and working to make it so that nobody else has to feel like there's only one way out.
I'm excited at the opportunity this is giving me to speak up, but I'm also sobered by thinking about the women this is for. PPMD are a very real problem in our society today and we need more openness and education.