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It's been two months since Kim Chen was visited by law enforcement officers bearing tragic news — the body of Chen's wife, Florence Leung, had been found in a body of water near their British Columbia, Canada home.
Leung is believed to have been suffering from postpartum depression (PPD) after the birth of the couple's first child. A family spokesperson confirmed that her death was a suicide.
Now her husband is speaking out about her death, their beloved son, and the pressures on new moms.
Today, Chen and Leung's son is five months old and, according to a recent post by Chen to the family's memorial Facebook page is "growing well and well taken care of."
In the candid post, Chen also explains that his wife had difficulty breastfeeding, something that may have affected her mental state greatly. And, the grieving father shares words of encouragement with other mothers struggling with PPD or breastfeeding.
"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," Chen wrote in the post. "I still remember reading a handout upon Flo's discharge from hospital with the line 'breast milk should be the exclusive food for the baby for the first six months.' I also remember posters on the maternity unit (that read) 'Breast is Best.' While agreeing to the benefits of breast milk, there needs to be an understanding that it is OK to supplement with formula, and that formula is a completely viable option."
In the post, Chen also shares the story of another mother who took her own life after struggling with PPD, and makes a plea to mothers who feel overwhelmed after giving birth to seek help.
"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."
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).