Books·Canadian

Dear Scarlet

A comic by Teresa Wong.

Teresa Wong

In this intimate and moving graphic memoir, Teresa Wong writes and illustrates the story of her struggle with postpartum depression in the form of a letter to her daughter Scarlet. Equal parts heartbreaking and funny, Dear Scarlet perfectly captures the quiet desperation of those suffering from PPD and the profound feelings of inadequacy and loss. As Teresa grapples with her fears and anxieties and grasps at potential remedies, coping mechanisms, and her mother's Chinese elixirs, we come to understand one woman's battle against the cruel dynamics of postpartum depression. (From Arsenal Pulp Press)

Teresa Wong is a writer from Calgary, Alta. Dear Scarlet is her first book.

Why Teresa Wong wrote Dear Scarlet

"The idea for the memoir began when I was pregnant with my third child. I was going through the first trimester and was unable to sleep at night because I kept flashing back to the time that I had Scarlet. All these images kept flashing back in my mind. Some of them were so vivid that they made me cry. I thought, 'Well, I've got to do something with this. I need to get this story out of my head.' I'd had counselling and treatment for my postpartum depression, but this was the final piece of closure that I needed.

I've got to do something with this. I need to get this story out of my head.- Teresa Wong

"There's one scene where I just had Scarlet and I had a postpartum hemorrhage. A bunch of doctors and nurses ran into the room, but I didn't really see them — all I could see was my husband standing there, holding my baby and looking really scared. That's the image that was burned into my brain. I wanted to, I guess, honour that by drawing it the best that I could."

Read more in her interview with CBC Books.

From the book

An excerpt from Dear Scarlet by Teresa Wong. (Teresa Wong/Arsenal Pulp Press)

Interviews with Teresa Wong

The days and weeks following the birth of a baby can be struggle for new mothers. Not only do they have to heal physically, they have to figure out how take care of a very needy little creature. This is something society expects will come naturally to them. All this can take a toll on a woman's mental health. A new book depicts one woman's experience of postpartum depression. Dear Scarlet is a graphic memoir from writer and illustrator Teresa Wong. 6:24
The days and weeks following the birth of a baby can be struggle for new mothers. Not only do they have to heal physically, but they have to figure out how take care of a very needy little creature. All this can take a toll on a woman's mental health. A new book depicts one woman's experience of postpartum depression. Dear Scarlet is a graphic memoir from Calgary writer and illustrator Teresa Wong. 7:47
Teresa Wong and Amanda Munday both struggled with postpartum depression, a condition reported to affect as many as 20 per cent of Canadian mothers. Both women have written books about their experiences, from their feelings of inadequacy, to difficulties breastfeeding, and even being admitted to a psychiatric ward. 25:44

 

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