She suffered from mild baby blues after giving birth to her daughter six years ago, so Jaymee Ong was confident she knew what she would be dealing with, with her second baby.
But severe postpartum depression struck just three days after she gave birth to her son, Harrison, in September 2015. It got so bad that, at one point, she did not even want to pick him up.
“I was crying my eyes out. I lost all confidence and I felt so incapable,” Jaymee recalls.
After she sought help, her condition improved. The Chinese-Australian host of AXN’s entertainment show, eBuzz, agreed to recount her battle with the psychologically debilitating condition to create awareness.
Postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed of and women who suffer from it should not be afraid to seek help, she says.
“I want to stress that this is not me saying that I hate my baby or that I hate being a mum,” she adds. “I love being a mum, which was why I felt so much guilt when I was hit by depression.”
Her emotional well-being hit rock bottom soon after her son’s birth and the fast and intense downward spiral caught her off-guard.
“I kept thinking, I should be able to handle this, I’ve done it before. But I couldn’t control the way I felt. I felt like I had affected my family badly because I was so scared that I couldn’t handle anything to do with my baby.”
Even with her daughter Juliet, Jaymee says it took her three months to fall in love with the child.
She adds: “Some women say that they have this amazing connection with their babies right after they are born, but I didn’t feel that at all.
“I thought I would love my son right away. When I felt detached, I was devastated.”
She added that while her husband, Australian electrical engineer Matthew Heath, 37, was understanding about her depressive state, she knew she had to seek help for the sake of her family and herself.
Two weeks after Harrison’s birth, Jaymee went to a psychiatrist who prescribed her anti-depressants. She declined to reveal the name of the medication because she doesn’t want to promote the drug to mums.
“Taking medication was a personal choice because I had it (postpartum depression) bad. I’m not ashamed that I sought the treatment I needed and I do feel 1,000 per cent better.
“Women don’t talk about having baby blues because they don’t want to seem like failures, but they have to do whatever it takes to feel better. After all, as a woman, being a mum is the biggest thing you’ll ever do in your life.”
After seeing a psychiatrist and taking antidepressants for the past year, Jaymee has rebalanced her life and is loving being a busy mum of two.
“Parenthood is the most amazing thing in the world, but it’s really difficult,” Jaymee says.
Medical help aside, the 37-year-old believes staying positive was also key to helping her regain her footing. The battle-toughened mum shares her tips on staying happy.