Rosemount woman will compete for state crown
It took three years for Marie Kurle to feel comfortable talking to people about the depression she suffered after the birth of her second daughter. Now that she's started, she can't seem to stop.
This weekend Kurle will compete in the Mrs. Minnesota International pageant in St. Paul. Her platform will be postpartum depression, the impact it can have on a woman's life and the need for increased understanding and better resources.
"I just want to be an example that you will get through," said Kurle, a Rosemount resident. "It is not permanent and it is something that, you will have a life afterward."
Kurle first talked publicly about her own postpartum depression last November at a women's ministry group at Apple Valley's Christ Church. She was nervous about what people might think, but everyone in the group was supportive.
Later that week, she heard a devotional at church about missed opportunities. Kurle had been invited to compete in a pageant when she was younger, but she was too nervous then. This time, she decided to take the opportunity. She went online to research pageants and found Mrs. Minnesota International. She signed up just before the deadline.
Ever since, she's been scrambling to get ready. In the dead of winter she went door to door to businesses looking for sponsors. By the end of the day she was frozen and tired, but she found the support she needed.
Kurle has had to shop for evening gowns and athletic wear for the competition and she's had to learn what it takes to be a successful pageant contestant.
The Internet has been helpful for that. She's found web sites with videos that teach her the proper walk and the proper smile. She's spent hours walking around her house and checking her smile in the mirrors she passed. It turns out holding a natural-looking smile for minutes at a time is harder than it sounds.
Kurle has had a lot of support in her preparation, and she's turned to the Internet to help bring people in. A Facebook page dedicated to her candidacy has attracted 195 fans. Kurle has used the page to take input on potential outfits and hairstyles and just to let people know how things are going.
"I wanted to document it and let them have a say," Kurle said. "I just really wanted people to feel like they were a part of it and they knew what was going on."
It's not always pretty, but it can be fun. She's talked about her new looks and the time she demonstrated her pageant walk only to have her husband tell her that her butt jiggled.
"I'm trying to be really honest with the Facebook page," Kurle said. "I tried to do my own hair once and it turned out really crummy, so I took a picture of it and put it on Facebook."
Kurle is having fun with her candidacy, but the message she hopes to share is serious. Postpartum depression took Kurle by surprise when her second daughter was born three years ago. She didn't have any problems following the birth of her first child, but all of a sudden she felt overwhelmed. She was disturbed by the problem she had connecting with her baby.
"You feel like it's the end of the world and you go through terrible emotions, but you don't know why. There's no reason," Kurle said. "You feel a lot of guilt, which is why a lot of women don't talk about it. They feel very guilty that they're not totally in love with their baby."
Kurle found a support group in West St. Paul and started seeing a psychologist. She eventually got over the depression, but it took a long time before she was ready to talk about it.
Now she wants other women to know there's nothing wrong with feeling those emotions. And that it's OK to ask for help.
"I just want to be an example that you will get through it," Kurle said.
Ready to go
The Mrs. Minnesota International pageant will take place March 6 and 7 at Ritsche Auditorium in St. Cloud. Kurle's dresses are bought, the walk is perfected and the hairstyle has been selected.
Getting ready has been a lot of work, but Kurle has enjoyed the process.
"It's really gotten me out in the community. I'm really glad about that," she said. "I'm prepared as much as I know to prepare and I'll just leave the rest to God."