On October 25, 2016, Florence Leung left in her car without a note or explanation of where she was going. She left her husband and brand new baby. When her car was discovered at a nearby park, the search began for Leung.
They found her body three weeks later off the coast of Vancouver, Canada
What happened to this beautiful, new mother? Her husband, Kim Chen, reveals she was victim to postpartum depression.
Kim said his wife was "full of smiles and eager anticipation" to become a mom. She was a full-time nurse as well as an award-winning fashion photographer. But, ravaged by the emotional illness that can take over new or expecting moms, Leung lost the will to live.
"I knew immediately what they were going to say before they entered the door," her husband wrote when the police came over to break the news about his wife's body. "It was just like the numerous scenes on TV drama when the police breaks bad news, that grim look on their face. Except, as surreal as it all was, this is not TV. This is happening to me. This is real life."
Now her husband celebrates his wife's life by raising awareness of postpartum depression through Facebook. Two months after they found her body he posted a heartfelt message to all mothers.
"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," Kim pleads. "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."
Be the mom you can be
Kim urges moms to understand that while hospitals are supposed to encourage moms to breastfeed, there should be no shame if a mother needs to use formula instead.
"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 '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."
His post is a reminder that you, as a mom, are enough.
Allow for a mother's intuition
There are as many opinions about parenting as there are people. And, with the internet, there is more room for criticism and judgement. Instead, let a mom take care of her child through her mother's intuition - without judgment from you.
A post on Florence Leung's memorial Facebook account reminds mothers of this, "Motherhood is a wonderful thing but no matter how prepared you are, it is difficult, and overwhelming. Because your loved ones will 100% want to support and help guide you through all the stages of your pregnancy as well as when your little one makes his or her appearance into this world, it is so important to share your worries and emotions with them. Not only will you experience a sigh of relief and guidance, you will have nothing to be afraid of."