I’ve been writing about my struggle with post natal depression for the last couple of years. There was something about advocating for PND from behind my computer screen, with my own circle, that made me feel secure (enough).
Realistically though, how many people would I actually touch? What could I, one person, do to change the stigma surrounding such a common and closeted phenomenon?
Enter Bupa Blue Room.
They offered me the opportunity to slap my face on a National campaign about post natal depression and we would promote a program I completed, The Parent and Baby Wellbeing Program.
My head thought, ‘Shit yeah!’ and my heart thought, ‘Oh shit.’
These are ten things I learned about going public with my story.
1. Do it for the right reasons
My gut told me to share my story but I had to stop and think seriously about my motivation.
It was important to me that my reasons aligned with my core values. I wanted to be genuine, authentic, and honest. To share with the hope of connecting with others, not for attention.
2. Believe in the brand involved
In my case, I have been a happy Bupa customer since becoming a permanent resident of Australia in 2011. Genuine: tick.
The service I would be promoting was one that I helped me achieve highly desirable results (to put it mildly). Honest: tick.
3. Be at peace with your story
You know how, when you are sure of something, criticism rolls right off your back? The problem is, if you are not at peace with something you share, judgement is really going to hurt. When I first started writing about PND on my blog, I was still a bundle of raw nerves. When a family member asked me why didn’t I just write in a journal, implying shame, it stung. Big time. Today I am confident about my experience, where I’ve been, and where I am now.
4. Make sure the family is on board
Being flush with points 1-3 was great but I needed to make sure that anyone else who might be involved was fully supportive. I wanted to say yes to Bupa immediately but I knew I needed to discuss it with my husband to see if a) he was willing to participate, and b) that we were both cool with involving our young daughter.
5. You can give others a voice
By sharing my story about PND I wanted to represent the women who didn’t feel comfortable speaking up. There are a lot of us out there. The first time I wrote about PND I got a stream of messages from friends saying, “Me too!” Women who I never imagined were struggling – and they thought the same of me.
6. Be brave
Without fear, you cannot be brave. People have often told me I was brave for relocating my life from America to Australia. Technically they were correct – I was brave as hell but also shitting my pants the entire time. I’ve never gotten used to being brave.
Doing this ad forced me to step outside my comfort-zone, to be vulnerable, which in my experience, leads to deeper connections and richer relationships.
7. Have zero expectations
I would be a liar if I said I had no expectations about what this campaign would bring. I wanted to help mothers, to de-stigmatise post natal depression, to bring more people into my community, to change the world! It’s good to be hopeful but important to remain realistic. Things won’t change overnight but I have to say, I am thrilled about the opportunities coming my way. I’m able to continue sharing my story.
8. Be proud of yourself
Is this difficult for anyone else? I’m kind of loud and outspoken therefore you might not realise I am also a humble person. But you know what, dang it?!?! I am proud. Proud as punch. This ad took a lot of planning, a lot of hours, a lot of professional teams. Absolutely everyone, including me, have been rapt with the results.
9. Get ready for people to reach out
I didn’t tell too many people details about the ad. So far I have been receiving lovely, supportive, beautiful messages and continue to do so. I can’t put into words how amazing that feels and how grateful I am.
10. Life goes on
That first night the ad went live, my husband and I scoured the channels – watching and waiting. I was a nervous wreck even though I had seen the ad a dozen times already. There was something so final about it going live to air, nationally. Nationally! Cue sweaty palms. We caught it once and a sense of relief came over me. I haven’t bothered to look for it since.
I am so glad I shared my story. Would you?
* This article is not sponsored by Bupa. It was commissioned by Champagne Cartel to focus on Dawn’s story of sharing her life as part of the Bupa campaign, but it was produced independently of Bupa and Bupa Blue Room.