Contributed by Nkafu Gabriel
A tragedy that occurred over the weekend in Kumba, South West region of Cameroon has left many in and out of that city in shock. On Friday, October 13, 2019, a woman committed suicide by jumping into a well.
According to locals, it all began on Thursday, October 10, 2019 when the deceased, a lactating mother started putting up a rather strange behavior. According to them, it was as though she was losing her senses. She even attacked her landlady and ended up wounding her.
The situation apparently got worst on Friday evening. From her residence at Paradise Street, she ran to Bamilike Street and jumped into a well.
According to a brother to the deceased, he could not understand what was happening when he saw his sister running and people trying to stop her. He was equally shocked to see his sister jump into the well. When the crowd that had gathered around the scene noticed that she was still alive, they begged her to come out. They even brought her little baby and showed her in an effort to persuade her not to drown. She agreed to come out but asked that a ladder be brought to her. The ladder was brought and lowered down into the well as instructed. Unfortunately and surprisingly, the woman did not climb up the ladder but rather drowned and died.
The woman leaves behind two children and several other family members to mourn her. It is still not clear as to what may have pushed the woman into committing suicide but many think it could be as a result of postpartum depression (PPD).
Postpartum depression is basically a complex mix of physical, emotional and behavioral changes that happen in a woman after giving birth. A woman can have feelings similar to baby blues symptoms of sadness, despair, anxiety, irritability, crying spells, but she feels them much stronger than she would with the baby blues. The condition can be treated with medication and counseling.
In Cameroon, many are not aware of PPD and many who have been reacting to the incident think a lot has to be done in educating pregnant women about the condition and counseling women after child birth.