Open letter: This Singapore mum and baby did not deserve to die

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A young mum just jumped to death with her 3-month-old baby, in Singapore. Is it yet another case of postnatal depression?

It was a regular day. I was as usual nagging my kids about something mundane, when my phone buzzed with the shocking notification. A 29- year-old mum had jumped to death with her 3-month-old baby, from the 12th storey of her block in Bukit Panjang.

Most of us couldn't believe what we had read. The first question that cropped up in my mind was, "Why would a mum do that to her own baby?"...I soon chided myself for judging someone I didn't even know...

Police have now come to the conclusion that postnatal depression was to blame for this mummy's drastic step.

That struck a chord in me. It brought me back to those days, many years ago, when I had gone through similar unexplained feelings of loss and depression...

Women who have gone through pregnancy might be able to better identify with these feelings. For me, as much as I was delighted to be finally holding my angel in my arms, I missed having the baby inside me. My tummy felt empty. I did not know why that made me sad...

And then, my life ceased to be my own. It was suddenly all about the baby.

"She must be hungry. Feed her."

"Isn't she getting enough milk? You must not be eating properly."

"I have also given birth, I was never this tired. Stop overacting."

The accusations seemed endless. Was I a bad and useless mum? I felt less human, and more like a milk producing machine.

ppd 360x240 Open letter: This Singapore mum and baby did not deserve to die

I seemed to be alienated too soon, in my journey as new mum. Sure, I was surrounded by family, but the way I saw it, no one took the pains to understand, nor care. The focus was forever on the baby, and whether she was achieving her milestones.

Also READ: Breastfeeding issues and postnatal depression in Singapore

Of course, I too loved her more than anything else in the world, and knew that it was important to take care of this precious, helpless little being.

But, I was just not able to fathom why every moment of my life had to be pledged for her sake? Even simple things like using the toilet had to be planned in advance.

I was, however, lucky that I managed to hang on and overcome all the negativity in me; I soon got used to being a mum. But what about other women who may not have been that strong-willed? What if they drowned in the rising gloom in their heads?

Dear mums, as a mum who has also gone through similar phases of depression, I have just this to say. Hang in there. It may be tough and it may seem impossible, but just hang in there. This too shall pass.

Repeat, everything will be fine.

And, if you feel hopeless, weak and vulnerable, then please talk. Open up to anyone who cares to listen, be it friends, family or neighbours. Try to make things easier for you, and do not hesitate to ask for help.

These days, we also have WhatsApp chat groups and various means of connecting with other new mums. 

Still, if the negativity gets too overwhelming, do consult your doctor or a counsellor. Sometimes medication can help, and even the right vitamins can do wonders. My friend says that B-complex tablets worked well for her; your doctor is, however, a better judge on such matters.

It has been reported that the lady who jumped to death used to post photos of her family on Facebook, and they all looked happy. This has become another worrying trend; trying to be cool on social media while being an emotional wreck within. Let's not try to fool ourselves, and the rest of the world. Let's remove our masks and bare open our pent up feelings.

Ultimately, it is important to realise that life is precious, and a joy to treasure. Be it yours, or the ones you helped bring in to this world.

(Source: The New Paper)

Also READ: Postnatal depression in Singapore