Molly Murray - Birth, Life, and Business Doula
And where you can find support if you're struggling too.
How did I get here?
I'm a birth and postpartum doula. I host women's circles and have groves of amazing friends and a beautiful life and family. You might think I would or did sail through postpartum.
Postpartum depression doesn't discriminate. It's not something you can opt in or out of. It's not something you can say, ''oh, that won't happen to me.''
I thought I was doing everything right.
My son was born in November, 2015. His birth was incredible. I had 2 doulas, an amazing midwife, and a partner telling me throughout, ''You are doing a great job. I love you.''
My wonderful birth did not keep postpartum depression from hitting me like a ton of bricks.
I had this notion prenatally that it would be better for me, mentally and physically if I just stayed home for 12 weeks. It was November, which meant flu season... My middle son had gotten sick in infancy and I didn't want that to happen to this baby.
Besides, other cultures do things like ''40 days of rest''
The more you can stay home, the better right?
I vowed to stay home with my baby for 12 weeks.
I asked friends and family prenatally to please help me in the postpartum. I knew how lonely it could be, and I wanted community.
Staying home didn't help.
Women brought me food and I still had postpartum depression.
Just to make the picture more clear, this is how we would nap...and here you'll see Thomas laying on my bed, several puke stains and the spot where my 4 year old had peed during our afternoon nap.
So, I was not only drowning in tears, but also kids bodily fluids.
How did I know it wasn't just a funk?
The signs of postpartum depression or postpartum mood disorder are so varied. I knew this from my postpartum doula training and you can read more in the resources I've provided in the links at the bottom of this post.
For me personally, I had immense and overwhelming sadness, anxiety and anger.
I was weepy, all the time. I cried in the mornings, midday and evening.
I was anxious about everything, I kept thinking that my kids were sick or needed to go to the doctor, though we normally rarely get sick and only go to the doctor once or twice/year. I was so filled with anger. I would snap on my kids or their Dad with such fierceness, for the smallest of things.
What shifted? How did I come out of this place?
I should preface this with the knowing that my experiences in life up to this point and my knowledge as a doula and my connections in the community did help with knowing I needed help and where to find it.
When I made the decision to get help, I went full throttle and my family was ready and willing to support me in doing so.
I started going to weekly therapy.
I scoured the internet for a therapist that could get me in right away and accepted my insurance.
The first therapist I saw focused on all of my past issues and current problems.. She wanted to medicate first and dig deep to ''resolve past issues.'' She also shared way too much of her personal beliefs and even political views.
She was not the right therapist for me.
The second therapist, who I still see now bi-weekly, focuses on what's good, what's working, and how I can shift my expectations and priorities, make goals and be the best me that I can be.
I hired weekly housecleaning + childcare help.
This alone has saved my sanity. Each week, I know my house will be cleaned and I can get out for a few hours for self-care such as a massage or alone time.
My baby grew older and things got easier.
I put my oldest daughter in school midway through the year.
My priorities and expectations had to shift. I couldn't be the amazing home-schooling mom that I wanted to be and that my daughter needed while also caring for a newborn. Thankfully, she loves school and we've continued with her going, even now. She is thriving.
Going back to work full time helped immensely
I absolutely love my job. Being a doula is incredibly fulfilling and purpose filled. It was and has been soo nice to be back to birth-work!
If I could go back, what would I do differently?
Honestly, I would hire a postpartum doula. I'm not saying that because I am one. I'm saying this because that's exactly what I needed.
I needed company. I needed hired help to come to my home to cook my food, clean my house and watch my children while I slept.
I needed someone to empathize and say, ''I know it's hard. How can I help?''
I would save my money prenatally and invest in help earlier.
While family and friends offered, the actual support was just not there.
You. Are. Not. Alone.
I posted this on Facebook on Thursday. By Friday morning, I had 5 women reach out to me and say, ''I read your post. What resources do you have?'' I knew I had to write this post, and share a little more widely.
Postpartum Depression Resources
Postpartum Progress - Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Cincinnati Therapists - Learn from my experience and have a trial run to make sure you find the right therapist for you!
Laura Edwards, LPCC-S - Laura has been my therapist and gave me permission to pass on her information.
Lighter Shade of Blue is a Cincinnati-Based upportive group of women who have suffered from Post Partum Depression.
Beyond the Blues: Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression & Anxiety.
When The Bough Breaks - a documentary about postpartum depression
I am NOT Okay, and THAT’S Okay - One of my favorite posts from Birth Without Fear
Need additional resources or support? Feel free to reach out anytime.
Cincinnati Mother, Birth and Postpartum Doula, Childbirth Educator and Founder of the Cincinnati Birth and Parenting Network.