The Tragedy Of Florence Leung Should Be A Wake Up Call For Us All
Even though I am the mom of teens now, having just celebrated youngest daughter’s birthday, I have been reflecting a lot on my last pregnancy and the feelings I had shortly after she was born. Being that she was a November baby, we had already turned back the clocks and the days were shorter, and the skies were often grey. While I don't think I experienced severe post-partum depression, I certainly felt sadness and some melancholy.
And this morning while scrolling through my social media feed, I saw the very sad news about Florence Leung, the British Columbia mom suffering from post-partum depression. Her body was just discovered in the waters near Bowen Island after going missing nearly two weeks ago.
I feel sadness and grief for Florence. She was the mother of a two-month-old baby and clearly felt the distress and anguish that I felt having a baby born in the fall season. Only she felt it much more severely. She had been seeking treatment for depression, and had the support of her doctor and husband. But it wasn’t enough.
I have so many questions running through my head; did she have friends that noticed her depression? Was she alone during the day? Was there a service or person that could have saved her? Did someone miss the signs? I feel so sad thinking that she felt alone and scared. And scared enough to drive away and never come back.
I think about her small baby growing up without a mother, and how that baby will learn later in life that his mother passed. I am heartbroken for her child. For her husband. And for Florence.
Depression is no joke. And post-partum depression can be severe with terrible outcomes such as this. We all need to take responsibility to support and lift up women in their post-partum days so that they can eventually feel the joys of motherhood and then experience all of the wonderful things that our growing children and family life has to offer.
Today I will think just a little bit more carefully about my friends with new babies. I will be more mindful about reaching out to them by more than just a text message. I will watch for the warning signs, and ask them questions. I will offer to babysit, to talk or bring over a warm meal.
More information on post-partum depression can be found here. If you or anyone you know is suffering from postpartum depression, please contact the Pacific Postpartum Society (postpartum.org). There is no shame in asking for help.
And if you know someone that has recently given birth, reach out to them, be a friend and support them. You may never know how much your act of kindness may impact them. Or even save their life.