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When Depression Hits

Updated: May 26, 2023

Challenges from a low-income family

“When parents are constantly stressed about raising their little ones, it could impair their parent-child relationship in the long run. Mothers who reported higher levels of parenting stress, for example, had a weaker connection with their child.”

These were the key findings of a study done by researchers from Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Mothers wear multiple hats. They take care of the house, organize the household, care for their children, while some also need to tend to their elderly parents. Some mothers are also juggling a job at the same time. Having to meet all of these demands may wear mothers out.

For mothers from low-income families, they face additional challenges, on top of all their other responsibilities.

When we met Mr Afiq and Mdm Afiqah during our monthly distribution, we had the pleasure of meeting their three adorable children, Alysha, Ayusha and Ayasha. However the couple were going through a tough time when we visited them. Unfortunately, Mdm Afiqah had a miscarriage a few months ago and since then, she has been battling depression. Her mental health has deteriorated as to when we met her a few weeks prior and hence, she has not been able to find any work.

Mr Afiq is the sole breadwinner of the family and had been searching for other alternative sources of income other than his full-time job. However on some days, he stays at home to look after his wife.

Mdm Afiqah shared how it has been hard to be around her children. On days when she needs to rest, she has to be isolated, away from the kids. In addition to coping with her miscarriage, she is also dealing with post-natal depression.

According to KKH’s Head of Department of Psychological Medicine Dr Helen Chen, ‘depression affects about 6 to 8 percent of postnatal women in Singapore’.

That’s one out of every 12 to 16 such women.

Women caring for newborns experience a myriad of different feelings and for one, the possibility of a loss of identity.

While in fact, there are many factors that contribute to the development of postnatal depression such as hormonal, psychosocial and emotional changes. According to Dr Chen, distress about financial difficulties is also one of the causes.

"Our fast-paced lives and high stress levels can contribute towards greater risk of depression," she said.

Motherhood is not easy, and from what we learn from our beneficiary Mdm Afiqah’s sharing, it can be extremely hard for someone that is battling postnatal depression.

Mr Afiq has been a strong pillar of support for her; taking care of the children and also of her, and trying his best to provide for the family that he loves.

Mdm Afiqah teared as she thanked us for providing essential milk powder and diapers for her children.

The couple’s eldest child will be entering Primary 1 next year and Mdm Afiqah shared how they have applied for the school’s Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS). In addition, Global Ehsan Relief Singapore aims to help the family by providing assistance through our Back to School project, where we provide essential school materials for the new school year.

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