When Jessica Porten went viral for her experience of having the cops called on her when she sought help for symptoms of postpartum depression, there were a lot of things she could have done with all of the attention.
She could have shut down all of her social media completely and went into hiding, never to see a negative a comment ever again.
She could have taken up with a network marketing company and made a few dollars with all of her newfound fame.
Heck, she could have gotten herself an agent, maybe even landed on The Ellen Show.
But instead, the 27-year-old married mother of two from California decided to use her five minutes of fame to raise awareness of an issue that she believes is bigger than herself: the inequality in maternal mental health care.
“When I first started going viral, I immediately knew that I wanted to crowdsource solutions rather than feed into the sensational aspect of it,” Porten explains. “It was my moral obligation to use the platform [responsibly].”
Speaking to Babble via text message from her home, Porten relays how she felt that she needed to use her rather shocking story as a way to shed light on the greater issues that women, especially marginalized women, face in healthcare. She explains that inequality in healthcare, especially for mothers of color and LGBTQ individuals, are her number one priority right now.
“Black women are 3 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women,” she says. “There is no biological reason for that. There are laws in place that forbid discrimination in the medical field. So why are our black mothers dying? It gets me fired up, and we have to put a stop to it.”
Since Porten’s story went viral, she has become an activist for women’s maternal and mental health, spreading awareness on her Facebook page, posting information about ways to get involved, and sharing facts about inequality in health care. Although…