Sometimes we don’t choose our causes, they choose us. I never expected to have a postpartum psychosis after the birth of my second son. I never expected to lose touch with reality, be taken away from my preemie son in a straightjacket, spend weeks on a mental ward and then claw my way back to sanity. But I feel fortunate that I made a complete recovery — raised two men that I’m proud to call my sons, built a successful career as a food scientist, and enjoyed a happy marriage of 41 years.
Those of us who have survived any type of perinatal mental health struggle have an opportunity to support our cause on #GivingTuesday. I’m choosing to support Postpartum Support International (PSI) with my annual donation. PSI is a non-profit organization serving the needs of pregnant, post-loss, and postpartum women and families all over the world. Their volunteers provide informed support and resources at no cost to women and their families.
Here are six ways that you can support PSI.
- Become a member. An individual (non-professional) membership is just $70 per year. That’s roughly the equivalent of two Starbuck’s Lattes per month, or the difference between the cost of a nice home-cooked meal versus dinner for two at a decent restaurant. Your individual membership says I’m doing my part to help other women who are struggling.
- Make a donation. Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a great time to write that check or go online and make a donation. PSI is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization, so your donation is tax-deductible. You can designate your contribution for PSI’s general programs, their scholarship fund which helps train volunteers, or in honor of a special person.
- Volunteer your time. There are many ways to support the important work of PSI, including becoming a support volunteer. Learn more about volunteer opportunities in your local community, or consider becoming a virtual volunteer and support PSI’s social media efforts.
- Capture a tax advantage. Tax laws are complicated and beyond the scope of this post. But there are numerous ways to make a charitable donation and also capture certain tax advantages. PSI can accept your donation of appreciated stock or the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from your IRA. Contact the PSIOffice@postpartum.net for details.
- Shop through Amazon Smile. I enjoy the fun of the mall, but sometimes I prefer the convenience of shopping online. For those gifts that I purchase through Amazon, I’ll use AmazonSmile: You shop. Amazon gives.
- Remember PSI in your will or trust. The past three years saw the sad but inevitable passing of my mother and mother-in-law. It’s hard to believe that I’m now the older generation. But when my brother died of cancer this past fall, I realized it was time for me to get my financial affairs in order. I included a donation to PSI as part of my estate plan.
PSI supports women in 50 states and over 40 countries. Every dollar you provide will go directly to fund programs and services that help support and educate families and healthcare providers and improve the care women receive through research and advocacy. Make your donation today.
by Sharon Gerdes
December 1, 2015