Meet Our Member Fionnuala Doherty

Meet our member Fionnuala Doherty. Fionnuala is a postpartum doula, nutrition coach and owner of Mothers Love. She supports mothers in the weeks after birth with nutrition, sleep support, hormone rebalancing and selfcare. Through her blog, Fionnuala would like to share her experience of postpartum depression and offer some advice.

You can contact Fionnuala by emailing her at motherslovejoy@gmail.com


Recently singer Adele, spoke openly about her struggle with postpartum depression(PPD). I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of sadness and empathy for her, but I was appreciative of her sharing her story as this is how my journey into motherhood began and consequently my journey of healing and personal development. I knew that I wasn’t experiencing motherhood like every other mum. I knew I was a million miles away from being the person I was before. No one prepared me for the fact that I never would be that person again. It’s actually neurologically, psychologically and spiritually impossible. I also did not heal physically due to an emergency C-section. I knew I had to do something more than counselling. So I began to research PPD and I discovered that I also had birth trauma, intrusive thoughts and postpartum rage. This led me into my work as a postpartum doula and nutrition coach.


According to an article in the Irish Times, the HSE reported that 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression, and 1 in 10 will experience postpartum anxiety. Unfortunately, that is only the cases that are reported. There are so many more cases that go undiagnosed or unreported. Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) are unfortunately a taboo subject for a lot of women for several reasons. Some women have a fear of being judged, don’t want people to think they can’t cope or most regrettably, too many women think this just apart of becoming a mother and sadly it is becoming normalised. Some mothers don’t even realise they have, or have had a PMAD until they have come through the dark cloud.


Thankfully we have brave women like Adele who use their public platform to lift the lid on such an important issue because the longer we brush it under the carpet and allow society to normalise it, the worse it will become. This is not how your postpartum experience should be. The transition into motherhood is supposed to be a loving, joyful and serene experience. I do not accept that the female body was created for dysfunction and imbalancFionnuala Doherty Donegal Women in Business Networke but rather for pleasure and reward. During labour and post birth a mother’s body is flooded with Oxytocin, the love hormone, not just for bonding and breastfeeding but for healing physically and mentally in the weeks and months after.


So why are the rates of PMADs on the rise? Simple, it’s all in the way we allow or bodies to heal post birth and how we care for each other. We have forgotten how to heal and because of the lack of healing, the mother’s body is depleted of nutrients, becoming inflamed and worn out which puts it into a state of stress and hormone imbalance. Symptoms then appear as depression, anxiety, rage, hair loss, food sensitivities and a whole host of autoimmune disorders. And most importantly the food that is made for her is specific to her body’s needs at this time. The nutritional requirements of a postpartum body are incomparable to any other time in her life.


Tips for postpartum care

  1. Find your support system – partner, family, friends, postpartum doula, mother and baby groups, public health nurse, on line mother groups.
  2. Nourishment – Well cooked, highly nutritious food that’s easily digested.
  3. Nervous System Regulation- dealing with birth trauma, intrusive thoughts and past traumas
  4. Sleep- perhaps the most important as this is when your hormones are manufactured and get to work
  5. Self-care – anything that makes you happy and relaxed so you continue to produce oxytocin