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Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  626 ratings  ·  131 reviews
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 h ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published April 1st 2019 by Arsenal Pulp Press
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David Schaafsma
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
January, February, March, April, May--I'm alive
June, July, August, September, October--I'm alive
November, December, yeah, all through the winter--I'm alive
I'm alive--"Calendar Girl."

I seem to be reading a few (comics memoir) books this year that insist on telling the whole truth about pregnancy and childbirth, undermining all those simple happy generalizations about how easy (not for everyone, not for a lot of people!) it is to get and stay pregnant, about easy (not for everyone!) pregnancies an

Years ago, Brooke Shields wrote about her postpartum depression (PPD) in Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression. I didn't read that book, but as I recall, at the time PPD generally wasn't discussed with anyone other than a therapist. Now there's Dear Scarlet, by Teresa Wong, a story of her PPD but in accessible graphic novel format. Hopefully more books on this topic are on the way.

Dear Scarlet is practically ground-breaking. There's a culture of silence su
This graphic memoir was a quick read but intense and full of impact. Wong starts with the birth of her first baby, and the lack of self-worth, isolation, boredom, sadness, and selfishness that consumed her after the birth. Her asking why everyone else seems to have it together except her was all too familiar. Her drawings are sparse, yet emotional sometimes with one stroke. I liked how she showed all the coping mechanisms she used (medication, counseling, exercise) and weaved in lyrics of import ...more
There needs to be more out there about postpartum depression. My mom had it for two of her six kids (one of which was me), and didn't have the support that she desperately needed because it wasn't understood back then like it is today. But it's still not as mainstream as it should be. In addition to being a great snapshot of postpartum depression, this is a great book for anyone with depression of any sort because the strategies are similar. One of my favorite bits in in the postscript, where Wo ...more
Teresa Wong's illustrated account of her post-partum depression is courageous, funny, and sad -- difficult things for a book to be all at once. She wrestles with her guilt over not being able to breastfeed, feelings of inadequacy and self-blame, but through all of this, still manages to convey the love she feels for her newborn daughter. It's one of the first graphic novels that I can recall frankly addressing PPD, and that alone makes it a standout.
Rod Brown
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wong uses a simple, straightforward narrative with simple, straightforward art to tell a deeply painful story of her struggle with depression following the delivery of her first child. Very effective and affecting.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book took me right back in time to the birth of my premature first born. It has my mind whirling and wanting to spend some time in quiet reflection. While my heart hurts for the trials and suffering Teresa went through on her postpartum journey(s), it’s also almost relieving to know someone else has been through rough times and ‘gets it’. It’s a short and endearing read which I completed in a waiting room while my son is undergoing oral surgery. It’s a touching tale with lovely illu ...more
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book was such an incredible read. The author depicts her experience with PPD in a way that clearly describes how emotionally and physically weakened she felt. She said so much with such simple drawings. I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling with PPD or any form of depression, or wants to learn more about it. It gives you a sense that you are not alone and that there is hope. I received a DRC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Jim Angstadt
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This graphic story reads like a list of all the maladies that can happen following a normal childbirth. It also highlights the valuable role that family and friends can play as the new mother adapts to a new reality. This is a fast read, but it could be helpful to existing parents and grandparents since it touches on all or most of the possibly difficult problems.
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Teresa Wong has created a heartbreakingly honest graphic novel about her struggle with postpartum depression. PPD is a struggle for so many new mothers and it looks different for each of us. I really identified with Wong’s journey because it’s very similar to my own. Like Wong, I didn’t want to hurt myself or my baby — sometimes I just thought to myself that it would be easier to not wake up.
Sadness, isolation, boredom, and grief over the loss of your old life are all common and Wong isn’t asham
Cassidy Steinke
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very beautiful, real memoir about Postpartum Depression.

"Becoming a mother did not happen naturally or easily for me. I felt like a failure most of the time. And I believed that you deserved so much better."

"I wanted to die, but I'm thankful that I didn't."
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Don’t mind me, just crying as I read this in my car while my 2 year old sleeps as we wait to pick up his brother from preschool, reliving some of the harder moments from his babyhood. Such simple drawings and writing but such a big impact. It was just so straightforward and heartbreaking, but also funny. And even though my experience wasn’t nearly as bad as the author’s, I could relate to a fair amount. I love this line in particular: “I was undone by a Coldplay song. How embarrassing.” 🤣

I’m als
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Teresa does a wonderful job of narrating her experience of postpartum depression. The illustrations were simple and impactful. Her story really resonated with me and I think is important reading for parents as well as for people who love and support parents through these hard early years.
Sep 03, 2019 marked it as read-partial
Shelves: graphic-novel
I had to return this before I could finish reading it. Dear Scarlet is heavy, poignant, and important, I just had to take it in small doses.
Thank you Edelweiss for this DRC.

Well this a honest and necessary book about motherhood, so many things goes under taboo about that subject that I think it's really important to start talking to stop this ideal idea about maternal instinct and how people who gestates are just program by nature to manage that highly stressful situation.
Barbara McEwen
3.5 stars? Teresa Wong describes her experience with postpartum depression. I did think a lot of the experiences she describes are actually common to all new moms but regardless it is comforting to know you are not alone. I do wonder somewhat if it is glancing over just how hard it is with PPD or she just didn't want to go into that level of detail?
Gayle Pritchard
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This hybrid memoir speaks of experiences unique to new mothers in a moving, accessible and gentle way. It’s beautiful, and even more so in person. I had the opportunity to be present fir an author reading. It brought me to tears.
Tara Mackinnon
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
That feeling when you pick up a book and you're completely immersed in mere moments. That's this book.

The power of this book lies in its honesty. It's a beautifully written, illustrated journey through a story that is unlike my own, yet so relatable because of the way Wong tells it. I can relate to parts about being a new mother and the strangeness that ensues when it happens. When relaying her experience with postpartum depression, Wong isn't asking for your sympathy, she is sharing a space and
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this graphic non-fiction book the author tells about her severe case of postpartum depression. The book is simple but artfully drawn and the account is not without some humor.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In spare prose and illustrations, Wong’s memoir details her experience with postpartum depression after the birth of her first child.

Wong’s illustrated memoir was deservedly longlisted for Canada Reads. For you non-Canadians who aren’t familiar with this book accolade, it’s essentially a list of books selected by Canadian celebrities that they believe should be read by all Canadians. And this *should* be read by all Canadians.

While things are getting better, pregnancy is something that is rarely
Amit Verma
Jan 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a lovely help book for all mothers and would be mothers.
It focuses mainly on post partum blues and depression but also discusses othe aspects like peripartum problems faced by mother and whole family.
It is simple, informative and very helpful. Easy to understand language and diagrams.
If you are looking for art, colors and designs you will not find any as drawings are simple. But thats how guidebooks should be. Simple and to the mark with minimum jargon.
It would be helpful foe everybody
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a mother (by choice) but it's very sad to me that doctors do not educate expectant mothers for postpartum depression or blow it off. The author is a young woman and this is a brand new publication. The fact that her doctors and the nurses could not see she was falling apart (in the hospital, before she even went home!), is appalling and scary. Wong is blessed with an attentive and kind husband and her close-knit family (specifically her mother) are solidly in her corner. Too often this s ...more
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020
This is a sparse, vulnerable account of the author’s experience with postpartum depression after giving birth. It’s both hard to read and incredible validating, a welcome voice in a world that tells mothers, “Be thankful. Be happy. Put your baby first.” Teresa shows the heartbreaking ways her very real pain (physical and emotional) was ignored and dismissed, and the experience of not being able to pause to address her depression when her newborn needed her.

I found so much to empathize with in he
Gail Amendt
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I decided I should support the Alberta author on the Canada Reads long list, although a graphic novel about postpartum depression would not normally grab my attention. I rarely read graphic novels, and I know altogether too much about postpartum depression. It was really good, and she could have been describing my own bumpy journey into motherhood. The graphic novel format is simple and easy to read, but tells a surprisingly complete story, and having been there, I can say that it might be the p ...more
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Short and straightforward, 'Dear Scarlet' is a to the point account of one woman's battle with postpartum depression. I have not experienced PPD, but having experienced birth trauma and regular depression, parts of this were very familiar and relatable to me. I always appreciate people who tackle the things others go to great lengths to avoid talking about, it's so valuable. The art is quite basic but does a fine job relating the story, a story that I am happy Teresa bravely shared with the rest ...more
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
A lovely graphic memoir about the author's struggle with postpartum depression. I also had postpartum depression. This is the second or third memoir I've read about having PPD, and each experience is so different. I think it's really important for families considering having children to read books like this one. My only complaint is that I wanted more!
This graphic memoir is about so much more than PPD. It also recounts the narrator's experience with birth and nursing trauma and speaks to the greater notion of the ways healthcare absolutely fails new mothers. There's no doubt a lot of people would relate to a lot of this, and I think the graphic novel style lends itself well to the PPD topic in particular, because so much about it is unseen and needs to be seen and understood more.
Melanie Linn
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I would give this ten stars if I could. Thank you, Teresa Wong, for sharing this story with the world, and for letting other moms know they aren't alone and there is hope. ❤
Carol Tilley
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, women, illness, family
For anyone who is pregnant, works with pregnant folks, or wants to understand postpartum depression.
Kelly K
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2019
A crazy important book. Major kudos to Teresa for sharing her story.
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Teresa Wong is a professional writer and amateur mother who had three children in less than five years. At first, she thought the challenges of motherhood would completely derail her writing career—and it did, for years. But she now realizes that raising small children forces her to pay attention, stay buoyant and tell worthwhile stories. When the kids are asleep, she writes and draws pictures. Wh ...more

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