“You’re not a bad mom” -Distressed Widower Writes Moving Note to Other Moms Battling PPD
A widower Kim Chen, is reaching out to nursing moms after his wife took her own life, following a struggle with postpartum depression, PPD.
In a report by Mirror, Florence Leung gave birth to her first child, a boy September, 2017. Less than two months later, she disappeared. After an intense extended search, her body was found off the coast of Vancouver in November, same year.
The 32-year-old registered nurse was struggling with anxiety and had been diagnosed with postpartum depression after the birth of her baby boy.
On the day that she disappeared, Chen left for work while his wife cleaned baby bottles. She kissed him on the cheek as he left, telling her he’d be home at 6 p.m.
On his lunch break, he received messages from his sister-in-law and mother-in-law, saying they couldn’t find Leung. They said her car was gone, and the back door was unlocked.
She’d left without telling them she was leaving, or saying where she was going.
Recently, in memory of Florence, her husband released a moving statement on the Facebook page Remembering Mother Florence Leung, telling mothers experiencing anxiety or depression to open up, hoping that they will learn from his wife’s story.
Chen added that many mothers, including his wife, experience a tremendous amount of unfair pressure to breastfeed as soon as they give birth, even though many struggle to do so.
“Do not EVER feel bad or guilty about not being able to ‘exclusively breastfeed’, even though you may feel the pressure to do so based on posters in maternity wards, brochures in prenatal classes, and teachings at breastfeeding classes,” he adviced.
”2 months have passed since the Detectives and victim assistance staffs showed up at our home, with the grim look on their faces. I knew immediately what they were going to say before they entered the door.
Yes, it was just like the numerous scenes on TV drama when the police breaks bad news, That grim look on their face. Except, as surreal as it all was, this is not TV. This is happening to me. This is real life.
This must be what patients feel like when they hear the dreaded “Cancer” diagnosis. Everything said after the “C” word became obscured and clouded, drowned out by the ringing in the ear. The foundation of my life was taken apart, the plans of the future never to realize. Everything needs to be rebuilt.
It felt like half a year had passed since that day, but in fact it had only been 2 months. I have been living in survival mode: living a day at a time, sometimes an hour at a time – exactly like many people taught me to do. Living at the moment is truly the only way to go through this at this stage.”
Chen also shared the difficulties he’s experienced since losing his partner.
READ ALSO: Alanis Morissette Gets Real About Her Postpartum Depression Struggles
As the initial shock and emotional numbness slowly subsides, I’m experiencing more flashbacks of memories from our 6.5 years of happiness, and for now these memories tend to trigger pain and intense longing.
That is why I had not been reviewing our photos and videos the last 2 weeks. I now understand the importance to be kind and gentle to myself, and not to overwhelm myself intentionally. The time will come when I feel more at ease about reviewing and writing about Flo and I, and I look forward to that day.
Our baby boy is growing well and well taken care of, he is at 90th percentile for height and weight, and smiles and laughs a lot! He’s beginning to do tripod-sitting, and will turn over soon.
I’d like to share an article about a young mom who passed away earlier in 2016 from PPD. Her personality seems so similar to Flo in many ways.
For all the new moms experiencing low mood or anxiety, please seek help and talk about your feelings. You are Not alone. You are Not a bad mother.
Do not EVER feel bad or guilty about not being able to “exclusively breastfeed”, even though you may feel the pressure to do so based on posters in maternity wards, brochures in prenatal classes, and teachings at breastfeeding classes.
Apparently the hospitals are designated “baby-friendly” only if they promote exclusive-breastfeeding. I still remember reading a handout upon Flo’s discharge from hospital with the line “Breast Milk Should Be the Exclusive Food For the Baby for the First Six Months” , I also remember posters on the maternity unit “Breast is Best”.
While agreeing to the benefits of breast milk, there NEED to be an understanding that it is OK to supplement with formula, and that formula is a completely viable option. I will talk more about this in the future.
Thank you everyone for your prayers and continued support, and for your ongoing attention to this Devastating condition. You have no idea how much your comments mean to me.”
However, his moving message struck a chord with other mums and they also shared their touching experiences.
“You feel less a mom when you try and try your best to breastfeed and it becomes so much of an issue that the guilt is debilitating when you wish to do it exclusively,” one admitted.
“I had my first child in 1958 and I just could not breast feed,” another mum revealed.
“After days being at home my husband said, ‘please give up that idea and get some formula for the baby’, and so I did and have never regretted it.”
Sheila Duffy, director of the Pacific Post Partum Support Society, said Leung’s mental illness is “like any depression,” and it can worsen if left untreated.
“It’s not uncommon for people to just feel like, ‘I wish I could just take off and not come back,'” she said.
Duffy said there is a lot of stigma around postpartum depression, but as many as one in six mothers experiences it at some point.
Symptoms are different in everyone, but for many, the focus is on feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
Those with postpartum are often unable to sleep properly, and have racing thoughts. Many feel guilty because they don’t feel happy, or feel like something is wrong with them.
“That adds to the feelings of not doing it right, or failing at motherhood,” Duffy said.
She said the best thing people can do for someone who is suffering is to be supportive, and that for mothers, talking to someone can change things.
“Often, just one phone call can make a big shift,” she said.
“The good news is that you do get better, but when you’re in it and you’re trying to get better, it can feel like forever. It can feel pretty scary.”
Photo credit: Facebook
Awwwwwww too sad. PPD is real.
Wow…..a lot of depressing illnesses.