It's been a rough time since detectives showed up at Kim Chen's door to break some unthinkable news: his wife took her own life after a difficult battle with postpartum depression.
Kim and Florence's baby boy was only two months old at the time and since that surreal day, the new father has been working to raise awareness for PPD while also simply trying to make it through each day. "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," Kim wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to his wife, Remembering Mother Florence Leung. "As the initial shock and emotional numbness slowly subsides, I'm experiencing more flashbacks of memories from our six-and-a-half years of happiness, and for now these memories tend to trigger pain and intense longing."
Despite his pain, Kim is sharing his heartbreak in the hopes of helping other women battling the same darkness as his wife, and in addition, those who feel guilty about not being able to exclusively breastfeed.
"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 okay to supplement with formula, and that formula is a completely viable option."