I remember when my daughter was a newborn, because my hormones fluctuated a lot, my emotions got affected, resulting to frequent depression. I decided to breastfeed my daughter. This means I often lacked sufficient sleep. My mood swing was quite a serious problem. Also, my daughter drank a lot of breastmilk (8oz every time!), I spent most of the time every day on pumping milk using my breast pump, feeding her, and then putting her to sleep. It was a nightmare. At work, I do project management. Before my daughter was born, I was involved in a project to build two local community hospitals. The workload was quite heavy. The month before my daughter was born, my belly was huge. I drove to work myself every day, and at night I suffered from acid reflux and insomnia. My big belly simply gave me lots of trouble from falling asleep. So, I did not have any sleep of more than 3 hours before my daughter was born, and that suffering continued even after she was born.
Eventually, due to a lack of sleep, fatigue, the baby’s ongoing crying and many other factors, I got postpartum depression. My family doctor told me to take antidepressants. However, since I was so determined to breast feed, I rejected the doctor’s advice. But my depression made me very emotional – I often cried and even thought about committing suicide. I knew I needed to do something, or else, it would be harmful to both myself and my daughter. At that time, my memory of learning Guzheng came back. Those good old days when I learned Guzheng with two good friends really motivated me. So, I was actively doing some research on how to learn Guzheng at where I live.
My town has very few Chinese people. It is impossible to buy a Guzheng here. But the hardest part was to find a teacher. Many Guzheng teachers only teach face to face. Although I found a few teachers who can teach online, they mostly speak Mandarin. Well… my Mandarin is really bad to be honest. I learned it for a few years in secondary school, but my level is only enough for watching Mandarin TV dramas. Conversational Mandarin is impossible to me. After several months of online search, fortunately, I found a Cantonese-speaking Guzheng teacher who was willing to teach me online. You can’t imagine how happy I was. Fast forward to now, I have been relying on Guzheng to recover from postpartum depression.
I’d like to tell, especially expectant mothers and new mothers, that if you feel you may have postpartum depression, committing suicide is not a solution. You can try developing a hobby, such as playing music or even playing sports or sewing, is really useful. I am now studying for my second graduate degree. My schedule is totally crammed every day with work, study and family life. But my goal is that when I complete my MBA in two years, I want to start some leisure Guzheng classes that are geared towards postpartum depressed mothers. This will give them a great opportunity to recover. It is also a good way to promote Chinese music. But before that day arrives, I will focus my energy on my study and practising my Level 8 music!