We had the good fortune of connecting with Molly Nourmand, LMFT and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Molly, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
As a postpartum depression survivor, I feel called to give back to new moms. I had a clear vision to create something that I wish that I had had after the birth of my daughter—a place to have honest conversations about the metamorphosis of becoming a mother. From there Life After Birth™ was born. As a psychotherapist and yogini, the focus of my postpartum support circle is on the mother’s emotional and social needs with a through line of mindfulness. It gives women a sense of community and a place to process their initiation into motherhood. When I first started my circle—no one came. I had heard that groups could be hard to start and sustain, but that did not discourage me. I had such a strong intuition and drive, coupled with the encouragement from WMN Space (where I used to run my group), that I kept showing up week after week even though no one was attending. I would sit in the group room alone for at least an hour just holding the space. If you build it they will come, right? I knew that it would take time and patience and a bit of hustling, so I persevered. Then, one mom showed up. I met her in Coldwater Park with her newborn and gave her a flyer. For a while it was only she and I. After a few months, three moms appeared one day and they were like, “This is on! We want to come every week.” It was at that point that I knew that Life After Birth™ was going to thrive. In fact, I even had a waitlist for my group at one point, so needless to say I am glad that I did not give up. I have been running my postpartum circle since September 2017 at WMN Space in Culver City. When the Safer at Home order went into place, I translated my signature offering to a virtual platform in March 2020. I am hoping to do in-person sessions again at my office in Brentwood when it is safe to gather in small groups again.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My initiation into motherhood birthed a new career path for me. When my daughter arrived at the end of 2016, a combination of risk factors coupled with birth complications, lack of support, isolation, sleep deprivation and marital challenges were the perfect storm for me developing postpartum depression. Since I’m a psychotherapist armed with knowledge about Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs), I thought I would somehow be able to prevent it, but I soon realized that I’m not immune. And if I’m struggling with tools and resources at my fingertips, then other moms must be struggling, too. After I got out of the funk and fog of depression and sleep deprivation, I embraced the wounded healer archetype and created Life After Birth™ I have translated my passion for working with new moms into my specialty in my private practice. I have a more holistic approach to therapy and incorporate mind-body practices into the work that I do. I regularly attend Perinatal Mental Health conferences, and I have completed the Advanced Psychotherapy training with Postpartum Support International. I offer individual, couples and group therapy. I help clients navigate challenges that include, but are not limited to:
Health issues with baby including time spent in the NICU
Experience with PMADs
Discord with partner and/or other relationships
Breastfeeding issues Identity and/or body image issues
Grief and loss issues
What differentiates Life After Birth™ from other mom groups? I created a process-oriented postpartum support circle that tends to the mother. New moms hit the ground running and don’t often take the time to process all the drastic changes that are occurring within them. My circle is for any woman who is in the throes of Matrescence (the psychological birth of a mother, similar to adolescence, involving hormonal and identity shifting), and tends to attract women who prefer taking deep dives into topics. My group is like a counterpart to mommy & me classes, which are typically more didactic in nature and focus on the baby—their development, sleeping and feeding schedules, etc. A woman could also benefit from my offering if she is experiencing a PMAD; however, my circle is not a psychotherapy group designed to specifically treat a mental health issue such as Postpartum Depression. What I am most proud of about my work is witnessing the growth of new mothers that I help guide through this exquisitely transformational time. It is incredible how much better they feel when they are heard and held and given proper resources. The ingredients are pretty simple and yet so powerful. Initially I was too ashamed to admit to myself–let alone anyone else–that I had postpartum depression. And yet as soon as I opened up about it, my healing began and I started to hear my calling. Through the creation of this group, I’ve learned to trust that what I have to offer is as inimitable as my fingerprint.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I don’t get out as much since I became a mom, so I’m not as in-the-know as I used to be. That said, I don’t think Malibu will ever go out of style, and driving up Pacifica Coast Highway never gets old. I love dining at MALIBU FARM Restaurant because you’re seated right on the water. Also, Annenberg Community Beach House has a lovely sand-filled, outdoor restaurant, pool and local beach access. Plus there’s a playground and splash pad if you have kids in tow. Sometimes you can even catch a live dance performance on the beach. While you’re on the Westside of Los Angeles, check out Abbot Kinney, which has a ton of hip shops and restaurants to wine and dine guests.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Paula Mallis, Founder of WMN Space