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postpartum depression - Singapore Mental Health Film Festival

It still hurts me so deeply inside

Recently I went to visit a Chinese Medicine doctor to see if she could help me with conceiving. She came highly recommended by a friend who successfully and easily conceived with her advice. She appeared to be very knowledgeable and experienced when she spoke. 

My monthly period cycles have never been consistent since it first started, and I also revealed I had been diagnosed with schizophrenia at about the age of 24. But it was 10 years ago and I have been doing very well with medication, holding a full time job and doing well for all those 10 years.

The doctor frowned at me and struggled but in the end said that doctors like her usually advise people like me not to have children. Having children she says, is not that easy. There’s the risk of postpartum depression, not to mention all the stress from taking care of a child for so many, many years. Nevertheless, since I wanted, and since I look stable, she will give me some medicine and try to help.

What she said seemed truth but it still hurts me so deeply inside, I controlled myself till I got home, and then the torrents of tests came. Is it wrong to want children? After all, a marriage also is two people and not just me. I guess it’s time to hope beyond hope again.

My wish for new mums

I was diagnosed late with postpartum anxiety and depression because no one knew how to help me.After the initial elation of an almost perfect delivery, everything went downhill. I couldn’t breastfeed my son, he couldn’t be discharged, he went home & got admitted to the hospital again twice. My whole body still hurt, I was exhausted from pumping breast milk every 3 hours & going to the hospital daily to try and breastfeed a screaming child. My efforts all seemed futile!

When he finally was able to go home, I was past my confinement period. My hubby went back to work and I was all alone with this tiny thing. He cried all the time. I barely had time to bathe or eat because I was either with my baby or trying to pump breast milk.

When I finally got back to work I felt almost liberated despite my fatigue.However, my colleagues expected me to be the ever resourceful, efficient me, when I was actually feeling completely lost. I felt so low.I did an online test that suggested that I may be having depression. I showed it to my husband, friends and GP but they just said I needed time.

I asked the paediatric nurse where I should go to get help for depression and she just asked me to call a patients’ hotline. I was too tired to make the call. It got so bad that I felt like stepping onto the train tracks or the busy road each time I was near one. I also felt like just letting go of the steering wheel each time I drove to and from work.I felt like I was not fit to be a wife, mother or worker. There was no longer a point in my existence.

After another few months of bumming around trying to see what I could do for help, I finally stumbled across the hospital’s depression email. It was so hard to find that I didn’t find it till my 3rd attempt at seeking help. It took another month before I had the ability to email them.

My first appointment to see a psychiatrist was 10 months after giving birth.I felt so angry and alone because I have family and friends who are doctors but no one spotted the signs. They just laughed me off as being paranoid. Even my husband said he was just waiting for me to decide what to do, when in fact I was in no state to help myself. I had to fight my way to save myself. I unfortunately didn’t follow through with those negative thoughts.

Despite all that, I am now on the mend. But each time I look back on the first year of my son’s life, I can never forget the loneliness and helplessness that I felt.

My wish for new mums is for them to never experience the struggles that I had to go through to get help.