Florence Leung went missing in late October, without any explanation. The 32-year-old was suffering from postpartum depression, and her family was concerned about her well-being.
New Westminster, B.C. police launched a search to find the new mother. But tragically on November 16, Leung’s body was found in the waters near Bowen Island.
On Tuesday, her husband, Kim Chen posted an emotional message on the Facebook page dedicated to his wife’s memory, Remembering Mother Florence Leung.
Chen writes that his wife’s death was “the foundation of his life was taken apart, the plans of the future never to realize. Everything needs to be rebuilt.”
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. 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.
Chen urged new mothers who are experiencing low mood or anxiety to please seek help and talk about their feelings. He also suggested that the pressure on new mothers to breastfeed exclusively can be overwhelming.
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 [sic] 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.
Chen also shared an article about a young mom who passed away earlier in 2016 from PPD, as her personality seemed so similar to Florence.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11 to 20% of women who give birth each year have postpartum depression symptoms.
Do you think the pressure to breastfeed can be a factor in postpartum depression?
The pressure to breastfeed is immense, and often causing more harm than good. New moms feel intense pressure to breastfeed and fear being judged if they bottle-feed their babies.
Research shows that “breast is best” as breast milk contains all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, and packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illness.
But not all women can breastfeed exclusively for various circumstances including medical reasons, and personal choices. In this case, “fed is best”.
As long as baby is thriving and growing, and mom is also happy and healthy, that’s what matters most.