'Many mothers suffer in silence'

'Many mothers suffer in silence'
Dr Shefaly Shorey, 35, designed a post-natal psychoeducation programme for her PhD study.

Some new mothers hated their babies and wanted to harm them. Others wanted to commit suicide.

This is not how a new mother should feel, and Dr Shefaly Shorey was determined to help them through this.

So when she had a chance to do her PhD, she designed a post-natal psychoeducation programme for first-time mothers so they could enjoy this momentous period in their lives.

Dr Shorey, 35, is a student from the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies (ALCNS), a department under the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS). It offers academic nursing degree programmes ranging from baccalaureate to doctoral levels.

Yesterday, she graduated from NUS with a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing at their commencement ceremony, after 2½ years - a record at ALCNS. The course usually takes three to five years.


Now a lecturer in Nursing at Nanyang Polytechnic, she was also the only one from ALCNS to receive the NUS President's Graduate Fellowship.

Before starting her PhD work in August 2011, Dr Shorey spent six years as a nurse at the National University Hospital (NUH).

During her stint at the post-natal ward, she met mothers suffering from post-natal depression, with some feeling like crying all the time or hating their babies.

Some even had suicidal thoughts or wanted to harm their babies.

Dr Shorey said: "Many mothers needed help, but suffered in silence. They didn't want to go home, citing reasons like their employed help had not yet arrived, or their mothers-in-law were not free to help yet."

She realised that the clinical need for continued care after delivery was a pressing one.

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