On Oct. 25, 2016, Florence Yeung, a young mom with postpartum depression, disappeared from her home in Westminster, British Columbia. On Nov. 15, the 32-year-old's body was recovered in the waters near Bowen Island.
Two months after receiving the heartbreaking news that his wife had been found dead, Kim Chen wrote a moving message to all mothers on the Facebook page he set up to remember Florence (Flo).
"For all the new moms experiencing low mood or anxiety, please seek help and talk about your feelings," wrote Chen. "You are Not alone. You are Not a bad mother."
Chen went on to discuss the pressure many new moms feel to breastfeed, suggesting that Flo may have been one of them.
"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 said. "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."
We feel so much admiration for this young dad, who is trying to find a way to deal with his pain and keep life as normal as possible for his baby son, but still finds the strength to reach out to mothers who may be finding it hard to cope — be it with breastfeeding or simply the overwhelming reality of caring for a baby and everything that entails.
Editor's note: We recommend Postpartum Progress for anyone who's experiencing any form of postpartum emotional difficulty. There are tons of resources and help available on the site, including support forums, lists of services and mental health providers and answers to questions you might have. If you're experiencing intrusive thoughts unrelated to postpartum, The National Alliance on Mental Illness has information and resources that can help you, including a phone or text helpline. Help is available. You are not alone.
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