Today’s show is a personal story of the darkness of postpartum depression and the healing that comes through professional help, self-awareness, and gentleness. The best part of my guest’s experience is the passion she’s gained for helping other moms reach through the darkness to the other side of hope and healing.
Teresa Wong is a Canadian writer who has written the graphic memoir, Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression, which was released last Spring. The book has already had a positive impact on the world and has been featured on NPR and Buzzfeed, as well as in the Paris Review and the NY Times. If you have experienced a perinatal mood and anxiety disorders or any complications related to pregnancy or postpartum, there is something in this graphic memoir that relates to your story. It also shows how culture plays a part in our experience. Through Teresa’s pain, there are beautiful parts interwoven into this story and her healing journey.
- How the idea came to Teresa for writing Dear Scarlet when she was pregnant with her third child and needed closure for her postpartum depression experience
- Why Teresa decided to make it a graphic memoir with pictures
- Why it was important to Teresa to keep the book short and readable for moms who need to read it
- How Teresa handled the sketches and drawings for her book
- How Teresa sought help for postpartum depression when she knew things weren’t right
- The feelings of guilt, shame, and regret that Teresa experienced
- The major hemorrhage at Scarlet’s complicated
- Why Teresa didn’t know what was normal with the birth of Scarlet, her first baby
- How Teresa’s mom came to help when she got home after Scarlet’s birth, which is part of the Chinese culture
- How Teresa was diagnosed with postpartum depression at about six weeks and sought additional help from a psychiatrist for about nine months
- How Teresa hoped and prepared for a better experience with her second pregnancy by having a doula
- After her second child was born, Teresa went through postpartum depression again at about eight months
- Why Teresa was disappointed in herself because she had taken preventative measures, but she knows how to get help when she needed it
- Why Teresa did cognitive behavioral therapy instead of medication for the second time and then had no postpartum issues with her third pregnancy
- How Teresa’s healing journey has helped her in other ways, like being aware of her feelings and knowing how to handle them
- The positive reactions from readers of Teresa’s book
- Teresa’s hopeful messages: “Be gentle with yourself and talk to yourself like you would to a good friend whom you love. These feelings are normal, but you need to get help. You don’t have to live with postpartum depression and muddle through. Ask for help.