Grieving Dad Says Incredible Pressure Put on Moms Led to Wife's Suicide


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When you're expecting your first child, you might be filled with excitement and anticipation. But once baby arrives, those emotions can quickly shift to feelings of being overwhelmed, exhausted, and disappointed in yourself as the life you envisioned during pregnancy doesn't align with reality. A grieving widower and father is making a plea to all new moms who might be dealing with postpartum depression to seek the help they need. Kim Chen's Facebook post honoring his wife, Florence Leung, who took her life late last year, has gone viral as he hopes to prevent other families from suffering the same devastating loss. 

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Leung was just 32 years old when she left her Vancouver home and her 2-month-old son last October. Her body was found three weeks later in the waters off Vancouver Island, bringing an incredibly difficult period to a heartbreaking close for her husband, son, and loved ones. 

More from CafeMom: Postpartum Depression vs. Baby Blues: 9 Ways to Tell the Difference

Even in his time of grief, Chen is thinking of others and urging new moms to be gentle and compassionate with themselves, especially when it comes to the challenges of breastfeeding. He writes:

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.

His post points out how much pressure some moms feel to uphold the "breast is best" edict. Read his powerful words: 

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It's heartbreaking to read as this father recalls happier times, when he and Leung awaited the birth of their son. 

 

All too often moms feel judged or upset with themselves for not being able to do absolutely everything that is recommended or that they planned to do.

For a variety of reasons, some women are unable to breastfeed. Yet, instead of being assured it's okay and that a happy and fed baby is the end goal anyway, these women feel like they've let their newborns, their partners, and themselves down. Those feelings often compound already low spirits, brought on by exhaustion and hormonal changes. 

Sometimes just getting through the day can be a struggle for a new mom, as an infant's demands are endless. The important thing to keep in mind is that moms are not alone and these feelings are practically universal among first-time parents. 

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It's beyond admirable that this father, with such a young child to care for on his own, is not allowing his wife's death to be in vain. We wish him and his son peace and healing in the days ahead.

If you or a loved one may be struggling with postpartum challenge, help is available via Postpartum Support International's website or at 1-800-944-4773.

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