Thursday, June 27, 2019

Reader's Diary #2051- Teresa Wong: Dear Scarlet

Mental health talk has come along way. I remember back in the day, when anyone had a mental health problem my mother would say they had a case of the nerves and leave it at that. Nerves was all encompassing. Except for postpartum depression. I distinctly remember her being surprisingly up on that and empathetic with sufferers, though she never experienced it herself.

Still, and despite progress in mental health recognition, a postpartum depression memoir is brave. There is still stigma attached and there's an idea of Motherhood that doesn't make it much easier for people like Teresa Wong. Her graphic novel Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression wrestles with it in the form of a letter to her daughter. She knows, objectively, that there shouldn't be shame but the nature of depression is such that she felt it nonetheless.

There's beauty among the sadness and stress and hopefully others who experience postpartum depression will find some degree of solace in knowing they are not alone.

This is Wong's first graphic novel and so the art is a little amateur perhaps, but it's direct, reminiscent of Sarah Leavitt's Tangles in how it still conveys complex, real emotion even with simple art.

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