A theatre performance at the Esplanade Theatre Studio sheds light on a hidden reality of motherhood—post-natal depression. “Under My Skin” was directed by Alessandra Fel, a 41-year-old Italian woman who moved to Singapore in 2013. Together with actors Rizman Putra, Patricia Toh, and Catherine Sng, Fel unveils the sinkhole of despair and depression that traps some mothers after a baby’s birth.

Post-Natal Depression Revealed

Post-natal depression, also called postpartum depression (PPD), affects a new mother shortly after the baby’s birth. It’s normal to have periods of tearfulness, sadness, or anxiety as the hormones surge and ebb following the birth. However, if those feelings of worry, fear, anger, or sadness intensify and last for weeks or months, they may be linked to postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can keep a new mum from taking care of herself, her baby, or others in the family. Some women may even be at risk for harming themselves or others.

Statistics show that about 10 percent of new mothers experience post-natal depression. Some experts claim that the actual number is much higher, since many mums do not report their feelings or seek help.

Alessandra’s Story

When Alessandra Fel had her daughter at age 36, she nearly suffered an emotional collapse. She lived in London with her newborn baby, often suffering through the trying moments of parenthood alone since her husband had to travel for work. She felt herself coming apart at the seams emotionally. “Having children is beautiful but scary. You need so much love. You need to be selfless. You don’t exist anymore,” she says.

Alessandra Fel finally realised that she needed help. With her six-month-old daughter in tow, she hurried back to Italy, where she had the support of family members. Finally she could find time, peace, and space to exercise her creativity and find herself again.

Vitamins and Counselling

Today, Fel is the happy, fulfilled mother of a thriving young girl; but she still remembers those dark days of early motherhood. According to Fel, postpartum depression is too often brushed aside by medical professionals. She recommends that women suffering from possible PPD seek help from a Singapore psychiatrist right away. Counselling may be as important as vitamins and proper nutrition after a birth. Why not take care of one’s mind and emotions the same way that one cares for the health of the body? Seeing a psychiatrist in Singapore could be the first step to a new mum’s recovery from depression, enabling her to enjoy her life and her time with her baby.

Reclaiming Joy

The period following a baby’s birth is supposed to be one of joy, love, and warmth as you bond with the new baby. If you find yourself struggling just to perform basic tasks or sinking into a state of listlessness, despair, and anxiety, talk to someone about it. Ask a friend to help you set up an appointment to visit the Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic, where kind, qualified Singapore psychiatrists can help you sort through your emotions and find the path out of the darkness. With counselling and treatment, you can feel like yourself again and flourish in your role as a new mom.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Straits Times, 6 December, 2016