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The Dream

If you are anything like me, from the moment you found out you were pregnant, you started dreaming. Dreaming of a little baby in your arms to love and to care for. Dreaming of the smiles, the cooing, and of course the tiny feet. You’d lap it all up and love every moment no matter how exhausted you were because at the end of the day, you are a mother to the most beautiful baby in the world. You are blessed beyond words.

Photo credit: Kristy Tan

My reality

My reality was more like a nightmare. One week postpartum and I found myself curled up in my bed sobbing my eyes out. I was overwhelmed, exhausted and feeling like the most incompetent mother ever. I also knew this was part of the baby blues so I pushed on thinking it would pass. It didn’t.

I didn’t want to be alone with him.

It freaked me out.

Five weeks later and the crying continued, the lethargy dragged on even after getting more than enough sleep and feelings of hopelessness consumed me. I looked at Joshua, my son and felt more guilt and shame than I did love and gratitude. I worried and obsessed about his feedings and his naps.

I didn’t want to be alone with him. It freaked me out. Something was wrong. Very wrong.

Living with Postnatal depression

I never thought I would get postnatal depression. I was a happy person generally and I didn’t think it would be my issue. But the truth I’ve learnt is that it can affect anyone. One in seven mothers are affected, and fathers aren’t exempt either.

It took a lot of humility for me to accept that I was unwell. For a while, I tried to beat it the natural way, with exercise and taking breaks and looking after myself. Unfortunately, I still couldn’t shake it.

I needed everything to stop.

I felt like I was going mad.

One night, after not being able to sleep for two days due to the racing thoughts, I had reached the end of my tether. I told Sam, my husband, to call an ambulance. I needed everything to stop. I felt like I was going mad.

Luckily there was a spot at the local Mother and Baby unit. We were living in Melbourne at the time and this was something the government had set up and I am forever grateful. This was a unit attached to a medical center that helped mothers who were struggling with postpartum illnesses such as myself. I spent five weeks there with six other mothers and this is where recovery began.

Photo credit: Bitesize Visuals

Recovery

Treatment for postnatal depression is different for everyone but is aimed at a person’s psychology, social environment and biology. At the Mum and Baby unit we were supported in all three aspects till we felt we were able to cope in our normal lives. For me, although I was resistant to medicine initially, in hindsight, I knew that I needed it.

Postnatal depression is by far the hardest thing I have had to go through and recovering from it was a slow and painful process. Every day, every moment was a battle. I struggled with feelings of guilt for not being the Mum I had wanted to be, for having this illness and for being a burden to the people around me.

Every day, every moment was a battle.

The most painful feeling was feeling like I couldn’t cope. And the truth is I couldn’t on my own. In my illness, with the mental state I was in, I couldn’t care for Joshua the way a healthy person would. Accepting that was important. I had to know that I was in fact,  sick, and I needed help.

Being Asian, I feel, made it a lot harder to accept. I come from a society where mental illness has such a stigma to it. I had to learn to advocate for myself. I had to first educate my family that what I was going through wasn’t imaginary, it was very real. It also wasn’t the end of the world – I will get better, I will be me again.

And with time and a lot of support, I did get better. The crying spells lessened. The low points were less pronounced. My interest in life returned. When Joshua was six months, I started weaning off my medication. I took my last antidepressant a month after that and never looked back.

Photo credit: Bitesize Visuals

What I learned

In many ways, I feel like postnatal depression was a thief that stole so much of the joy that was meant to be mine in the first year of being a Mum. In other ways, it has taught me so much about patience, suffering, humility, empathy and about love.

I learnt to empathise with others who struggle with illnesses both visible and invisible. I learnt how they are heroes for surviving every day.

I learnt that my worth was not based on what I could do or achieve but simply who I am as a human being, created by God. Grace will carry us where striving can’t.

I learnt that knowing my limits made me wiser, not weaker. Asking for help is humbling but healthy. Often my pride gets in the way of what’s best for me.

Finally, I learnt that I have always loved Joshua to the best of my ability, even when I couldn’t feel an ounce of that love. I learnt to shake off the guilt I carried within me as a mum who couldn’t be the mum I thought I would be. I learnt that love is not based on how we feel, but our commitment to do what’s best for a person, even in the haze of depression, hospitalisation, medication, recovery and beyond.

 

By Kristy Tan

Kristy Tan is a mother, teacher and occasional writer. Together with her husband Sam, who she has known since Standard 4, she tries to find the joy in the madness that is raising two boys under three.

About one week left to Chinese New Year! We know how hectic things can get in the household this time of the year. If you haven’t already tossed your Yee Sang or booked a restaurant for the reunion dinner, below is a list that we hope would be of help.

(Several restaurants featured are non-halal)

Photo credit: Serai Group

1. Jibby Chow

This Subang based restaurant is best known for its chilli crab with fried mantao and Mongolian-style crispy lamb ribs. They currently offer four Chinese New Year sets at varying price points. Some of the specials include whole roasted five spiced salted chicken with prawn crackers and prosperity dipping sauce, steamed hybrid grouper with white clams, prawns and young ginger in superior soy sauce as well as Marmite honey tiger prawns.

CNY Set Menu starts from: RM338++ for 4 pax

Facebook: @jibbygroup

Address: Courtyard Mall, Jalan SS15/4G, Subang Jaya

Phone: 03-5612 7072

Photo credit: gila-makan.blogspot.com

2. Sek Yuen (Non-Halal)

Some might call it rustic, some might call it hipster, but many would agree that the food here is delicious. Established since pre-Merdeka days, this restaurant is known for its Cantonese-style comfort food. A must-try here is the Pei Pa duck and braised grouper with roasted pork, shredded onions and mushrooms. Chinese New Year sets are available.

CNY Set Menu starts from: RM608++ for 10 pax

Facebook: @restaurantsekyuen

Address: 313-1, Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur

Phone: 03-9222 0903

Photo credit: Birch

3. Birch

If you’re in for a more Western vibe this Chinese New Year, head on to Birch. Set menus are not available, however, they offer salmon yee sang as well as American-inspired Chinese New Year specials (available 6.00pm onwards). Dig into their citrus and ginger baked cod (RM68) or oriental spatchcock which is a spring chicken marinated with oriental sauces (RM55). Also on the specials is the oriental pizza with shredded roast duck and chicken (RM33).

Well-known for their cocktails, try one (or all three) of their quirkily named CNY cocktails.

Facebook: @birchkl

Address: Damansara City Mall, Jalan Damanlela, Damansara

Phone: 03-2011 5966

4. Extra Super Tanker (Non-Halal)

With a name like Extra Super Tanker, it really does piques one’s curiosity to try the restaurant out. Serving authentic Cantonese cuisine with a Hakka twist, the food certainly did not tanked. Not to be missed in their Chinese New Year menu this year is the baked Spanish Iberico ribs, steamed dragon grouper with bamboo pith and baked crystal prawns with honeydew bowl.

CNY Set Menu starts from: RM1238 for 5 pax

Facebook: @extrasupertanker

Address: GloDamansara, No 699 Jalan Damansara, Kuala Lumpur and

The Club @ Bukit Utama,  Petaling Jaya
Phone: 03-7733 7769 (GloDamansara), 03-7726 8877 (The Club)

Photo credit: Serai Group

5. Serai

Try something different this Chinese New Year and opt for Thai-inspired Northern Malaysian cuisine instead. Serai has two set menus featuring favourites such as pandan chicken with Thai chili sauce, creamy butter prawn with crispy egg floss and seabass with steamed lime sauce. There are several Serai outlets around Klang Valley, you won’t be far from one!

CNY Set Menu starts from: RM688++ for 10 pax

Facebook: @seraigroup

Address: Empire Shopping Gallery, Paradigm Mall, Jaya Shopping Centre, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Shaftsbury Square

Photo credit: Dolly Dim Sum

6. Dolly Dim Sum

Best described as a modern interpretation of a traditional Chinese tea house, Dolly offers casual dim sum dining to be experienced with family and friends. They have two Chinese New Year festive sets aptly named Prosperity and Happiness. Each set features traditional dishes such as spicy Szechuan dumplings and prawn cheong fun and also signature dishes such as popcorn prawn and golden chicken nugget. End your meal on a cool note with their chilled longan sea coconut dessert.

CNY Set Menu starts from: RM60++ per person for 6 pax

Facebook: @dollydimsum

Address: Nu Sentral, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Avenue K, IOI City Mall, Sunway Putra Mall, Sunway Pyramid

7. Ming room (Non-Halal)

One of the most established Chinese restaurants in the Bangsar/Damansara area, Ming Room’s menu features authentic Cantonese cuisine and modern interpretations. Some of the premium offerings in this year’s Chinese New Year menu are Guangdong-style sizzling Boston lobster, Marmite freshwater prawns and pork trotter with fatt choy and dried oyster.

CNY Set Menu starts from: RM1200 for 10 pax, RM178 for individual set

Facebook: The Ming Room

Address: Bangsar Shopping Centre, Bukit Bandaraya, Kuala Lumpur

Phone: 03- 2284 8822

8. Noble mansion (Non-Halal)

Always a popular pick for weddings and the Lunar new year festivities, this restaurant is indeed a mansion with several grand rooms that can accommodate 600 pax in total. Their Chinese New Year menu comes in both group and individual sets. Look forward to opulent specialties such as steamed turbot fish with crystal noodle and bean paste, spicy Szechuan Boston lobster and clams with water chestnut tacos.

CNY Set Menu starts from: RM1288 for 10 pax, RM188 for individual set

Facebook: Noble Mansion

Address: Plaza 33 No. 1 Jalan Kemajuan, Seksyen 13, Petaling Jaya

Phone: 03-7932 3288

9. Unique Seafood Subang

If you want to ensure you are getting the freshest seafood, this is the place to be. With rows of tanks to greet you at the restaurant, you can see your seafood live before it is being prepared by their Master Chefs (not for the squirmish!)

The Chinese New Year set menus include dishes such as braised “10 head” abalone with dried oyster and vegetables and poached live tiger prawns in herbal soup. To add in variety, they have non-seafood specialties such as Teochew-style braised duck with salted vegetables and Beijing-style baked lamb rack.

CNY Set Menu starts from: RM688++ for 5 pax

Facebook: @uniqueseafoodgroup

Address: Citta Mall, Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya

Phone: 03-7734 3006

Photo credit: Grand Imperial

10. Grand Imperial (Non-Halal)

Wow your relatives with dinner at one of the Grand Imperial Group restaurants. Splurge on the premium menu which features dishes like the South Africa “1 Head” abalone (half) braised with dried oyster and fatt choy and the smoked London duck with tea leaves. For a prosperous year ahead, feast on your reunion lunch or dinner accompanied by an appearance by the God of Prosperity and their lion dance troupe. Check out their Facebook for a list of timings.

CNY Set Menu starts from: RM498++ for 4 pax

Facebook: @GrandImperialGroup

Address: Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Hartamas Shopping Centre, Pinnacle Annexe Bandar Sunway, 1 Utama Shopping Centre and Sunway Velocity Mall

Kick off the year with fun activities for you and the family. Check out our list below for the month of January.

1. My Baby Expo 2019

My Baby Expo 2019 (MBE’19) caters to the needs of parents, with baby and kids’ products and services, as well as talks and presentations.

Dates and time: 4 – 6 January, 10AM-9PM
Venue: Setia City Convention Centre (SCCC), Setia Alam, Shah Alam

2. Our Sanrio Times

Hello Kitty and her friends are at Quill City Mall. The exhibition features 13 Sanrio-themed zones where visitors can take photos of 100 adorable Sanrio characters in a variety of colourful settings. More information here.

Dates: Until January 6
Venue: Quill City Mall

3. Mandarin for Kids

Mandarin for kids at the library at the School. For ages 5 to 12. Limited to 15 kids, call to book: 017 613 7787, 012 324 8018. Details here.

Date and time: 5 January, 2.30PM
Venue: PPAS, Jaya One

4. Nostalgia of Anak Kampung exhibition

Highlights of collections from Department of Museums Malaysia will bring back nostalgic memories of the life in the kampung from the 1960s to 1980s. Details here.

Date and time: Until 10 January
Venue: Central Hall, Muzium Negara

5. Coleman Bring Your Own Tent

Bring your Coleman tent and your family to enjoy camping and outdoor activities in Batang Kali. Registration required by 5 January here. Only 10 tent spots available, first come first served! Details here.

Dates: 19 and 20 January
Venue: Ontok-Ontok Chalet & Camp, Batang Kali

6. Backyard Birding for Kids

To-be ornithologists and other avid birdwatchers should join this event at FRIM. A bird expert from Malaysian Nature Society will guide the participants in the use of binoculars and identifying bird species. More info here.

Date and time: 19 January, 6.30 – 11.30AM
Venue: FRIM-MNS Nature Education Centre, FRIM Kepong

7. Little Ms. Qipao & Mr. Samfu Contest

Mark your calendar and watch these kids rocking the runway in our traditional costumes! Exciting prizes to be won. Get your dress ready, be bold and register now! Event info here.

Date and times: 19 January, 11AM to 3PM
Venue: Main Place Mall, USJ

8. A Chinese New Year Story

A pre-Chinese New Year celebration and storytelling session on some of the legends behind CNY – Nian the monster and the animals in the Chinese zodiac. A family activity for parents and kids aged 3 to 12. Details here.

Date and time: 26 January, 5PM
Venue: The Story Book, Arkadia, Desa Parkcity


Photo credits: My Baby Expo, Quill City Mall, PPAS, Muzium Negara, Coleman, Nature Education Centre FRIM, Main Place Mall and The Story Book.

This post is a collaboration between makchic and Happy Go KL.
Happy Go KL is the go-to site for fun family activities in KL and kid-friendly travel in Asia. It is written by a bunch of KL parents who want to share what they know and love about their hometown and this beautiful region.