The tragedy of Singaporean mother Koh Suan Ping, who jumped to her death last November along with her two-month old daughter, has highlighted the dangers of postnatal depression (PND) in new mothers. Suan Ping had been stressed about not producing enough breast milk for her baby, and worried about returning to work and finding a replacement domestic helper.
She’s not alone: celebs like Chrissy Teigen, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brooke Shields and Hayden Panetierre have also spoken about their struggle with PND. Local celebrity Jaymee Ong, who has two children, also opened up about suffering PND after giving birth to her son Harrison.
PND is a medical illness commonly mistaken for the postnatal blues. In Singapore, 10 to 15 per cent of women feel depressed after birth, with 3 to 5 per cent suffering moderate to severe depression, that may require medical attention. While baby blues are common in the two weeks after birth, PND is a more serious condition that can lead to severe psychological harm and in extreme cases, suicide.
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How do you know you or a loved one has PND, and not just the baby blues? Here are 5 signs of PND to look out for.
If you or someone you know suffers from PND, here are some resources you can go to for help.
Women’s Services, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Tel: 6294 4050
Women’s Emotional Health Service, National University Hospital, Tel: 6772 2037
The Counselling Place, Tel: 6887 3695
Text: Young Parents Team/ Additional Reporting By Lisa Twang