I can't even begin to tell you the emotional roller coaster ride over the past few days. But I will try. This is going to be a long post, but I have to share this story about setbacks, conviction and courage. You'll be blessed by the end, I promise! :-)
So we launched our indiegogo campaign last Wednesday. We put a call out to quite a few people. The Postpartum Community joined in my efforts to spread the word. We had a pretty good first two days. BUT... there's always a BUT. BUT THEN SOMETHING CRAZY HAPPENED. Everything came to a screeching halt. Nothing, nada, no likes, no shares, no hits, nothing. In addition to all this going on, I'm not hearing back from any of the press that I normally go to for my other projects. None of the bloggers, media, journalists, magazines, were getting back to me. NOTHING. Mind you, these people have done press on my previous projects. Interviews, write ups, spotlights, etc...
Complete and utter FAIL.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON??! I just KNEW we were going to have a successful launch. I was pretty much cocky, prideful about how successful this launch was going to be. I had put in the work, I had prepped, I had laid the groundwork... See where this is going? I, I, I.
So in the midst of being baffled, in the midst of the emails coming in from people saying they posted and shared but nobody could get to the link, I'm wondering what in the world happened??? How could I have failed so miserably. My worth became wrapped up in how many likes, shares and donations we had gotten. How many followers, how many blog hits, how many comments.
Meanwhile PSI and postpartum supporters had tapped into the community and put a call out to women to share their stories about postpartum psychosis. The emails from these women are coming in while the other emails are coming in about people not being able to go to our IndieGogo page.
One woman in particular has helped me through this weekend. She has no idea. She shared parts of her story and directed me to her blog. She wanted me to state my intentions because she was hesitant to support this project. See where this is going?
Meanwhile, I'm crying, I'm disappointed, I'm feeling like a failure to not be able to make this campaign a SUCCESS STORY according to Hollywood. You know those stories right? How after only two days on IndieGogo an investor sees the project and wants to finance the film (The Last Fall), or celebrity friends donate 10k (Lena Horne) or how social media around the filmmakers and it makes the news, CNN, etc.... You see, I've done crowdfunding campaigns before. And have been quite successful! What is happening?
My mother calls, she is encouraging me. She tells me "You know Nik, things have never come easy for you. But God is using you, He will not fail you." Convicted.
Thanks Mom, no pressure! So now Sunday rolls around. We've been down for two days GASP! I'm scrambling to move our campaign to a different platform.
While I'm updating the site, Facebook, twitter, graphics, etc... I'm replying to this one particular woman. I'm telling her that I want to spread the word about postpartum psychosis. I want people to have compassion on women who have gone through this. I want to shine a light on our treatment of women who have committed infanticide. I want to offer hope.
DING DING DING.... How God can humble someone right? She writes back, I read a few more of her blog posts and I cry. I cry because my heart got wrapped up in SUCCESS while she's struggling to be heard. I cry because I lost focus. I cry because I feel wretched and prideful. I cry because the Lord brought me to my knees and revealed my own selfishness during these past 3 days. This woman who wants to trust me and my intentions, this woman who lost her son in 1999. This woman who has the courage to share her story, who has the courage to demand from me what I want. I want to help. Lord, I just want to help. Convicted again.
I wake up this morning prepared to email her. I check my inbox, we received a donation. The note attached said this only: PROVIDE HOPE! Again I cry. At this point I'm a blubbering mess. Thank God I had the house to myself this morning. I cried, snotted and then I pray. I pray that the Lord will use me to provide HOPE. I pray that when my flesh raises up and I get distracted, that the Lord will continue to reveal myself to mySELF and that I will do what He has called me to do. To tell this story. To spread the word. To rally up women, mothers, society to offer HOPE to women who have suffered so tragically. That's the focus, it's not about me anymore!
So I bring you to the blog of Natachia Barlow Ramsey. SURVIVING POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS
Setbacks, Convictions, Courage. She embodies these words. Please take the time to read her blog. She has poured out her heart, she has shared her struggles, her setbacks, her convictions, her courage. One in particular that I beg you to read, that I myself have read over and over the past few days is this one
MY PSYCHOSIS SONG
I will leave you with a few words that she wrote to me in her email
"This life is not an easy life to live. Yes, there are days I want to give up and times I go silent. It's been helpful and harmful being out of Maine. I miss my family but feel a bit freer in being able to go out and about. It felt like a graveyard there. I wish I could have both worlds and I am hoping at some point to be able to. In the meantime, I am continuing to try and make sure I advocate, speak loudly and survive".
Setbacks. Convictions. Courage.
If you want to make a difference, if you want to support, if you want to join the efforts to advocate and help those struggling to just survive, JOIN THE MOVEMENT HERE.
So we have officially launched our campaign to raise funds and raise awareness. It's been a looong journey for me. From the conception 6 years ago to today. I've had many doors shut in my face. I've had many people saying nobody wants to see a film about a mother who kills her child. I've had many people who wanted me to make significant changes.
But, my mother raised a stubborn woman. So here I am. Raising funds for this film and raising awareness about this mental illness and perinatal mood disorders. I am awed and I am humbled to take on this amazing task. To share the story of postpartum psychosis in such a deep and meaningful way.
So I have to pause and think on the women, doctors, lawyers, mothers, who shared their stories with me throughout the years of research. Who opened their hearts and shared their pain, their confusion, their despair, their tears, their knowledge, their legal expertise, their hopes, their plans for the future and so much more. That brings me to one of the most inspiring women I have met on this journey.
There was a woman who I was interviewing this summer, Naomi Knoles, who had suffered from Postpartum Psychosis and killed her daughter, Anna. She had served 10 years in prison and was now home, remarried, and trying to start over. She expressed how difficult it was for her to share her story, but she knew it needed to be done. She expressed the burden of guilt and shame. She also expressed that she was going through a rough time at the moment, battling depression. And after she expressed these things to me, after she bared her soul... one week later, she committed suicide. I was stunned, I was shocked, I was ashamed that I had missed the warning signs. But I was even more compelled to tell this story. She inspired me to be dogmatic about getting our film out there, to not shy away or back down or diminish what we are doing.
Naomi survived postpartum psychosis, she survived the death of her daughter, she survived prison, but for some reason, this courageous woman couldn't survive being home. And that to me, is a tragedy. So, today, as I face my fear of bringing my art to the world, today I take courage from Naomi and Anna. I celebrate them and the gift of their lives that will help the postpartum community. It will not be in vain.
Read their STORY HERE and hopefully you will be moved to want to do something.
And if you are moved, if you want to know more, if you are trying to figure out how you can help, please visit our campaign HERE. Spread the word. There are many more stories out there from women who have suffered from postpartum psychosis. There are many more Naomi's out there. They desperately need your help.
I, need your help! Spread the word about what we are trying to do!