This is Dr Melissa Reilly's story...
Dr. Melissa Reilly has experienced grief in many forms throughout her life. As a child, she lost her older sister to leukemia. Never talking about this led to an intense fear of grief. Then as a young adult, both her mother and younger sister died. Several years later she experienced the slow death of my best friend and life partner. When she finally had a child of her own, she experienced postpartum depression, which she realized was connected to her unresolved grief. No longer afraid of death she feels empowered to walk with others in their grief in ways most are not able to. Her experience of being a mom without a mom has fueled her passion to support other moms experiencing a similar situation.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
"I am so thankful that I had that discovery that that was my experience of death before the other deaths occurred in my life, so that I could start kind of learning that death wasn't something that would destroy me before I had the next set of deaths." ~ Dr Melissa Reilly
Enjoy Being a Mom Again Quick Guide: https://www.momswithoutamom.com/enjoy-motherhood-again-guide
Care For Yourself While You Care For Your Baby Guide: https://melissareillypsyd.lpages.co/bonding-with-baby-while-caring-for-yourself-opt-in
1) This week's guest is Dr. Melissa Riley, a clinical psychologist and parent coach. Dr. Riley has suffered a lot of grief in her life. From the age of four onwards, she lost her older sibling, her mother and her sister, her life partner and three miscarriages. She also suffered postpartum depression after giving birth to her son. She will talk about the role of resiliency and grief on this week's show.
2) Grief is something we experience throughout life, and it can be experienced in many different forms. Many people are not comfortable with grief, and sometimes people will shy away from talking about it, which can lead others to feel isolated. Grief is still not spoken about.
3) Melissa's older sister, Kim, died of leukemia. Melissa and her younger sister were left in the care of others while their parents were in New York for Kim's treatment. Melissa didn't go to Kim's funeral. Melissa's parents didn't talk about it because it was too painful for them. Melissa's grandfather died of a heart attack. Melissa and her sister didn't know how they would cope with it. Helen's friend had a similar experience, where he lost his brother and his family didn't discuss it. After Helen's daughter died, her friend started talking about his brother dying and how that impacted him.
4) As a child she was always having some kind of pain or ache or problem. She was on angina medicine for chronic headaches at the age of 13. Her sister was teased for being a hypochondriac because something always hurt. She experienced grief through physical symptoms.
5) As a new mother, she experienced postpartum depression and felt alone and isolated. She tried to compensate for that by taking care of other people.
6) According to the research, 12% of mothers experience postpartum or postnatal depression. When she had her son, she found ways to care for herself while having him with her. She used the Moby wrap and listened to audiobooks to soothe him. I never asked for permission to separate my son from me. I am a firm believer that nobody has the right to separate a child from their mother.
7) As a parent, I had many people passing criticism or judgment on how I chose to parent. It's not my job to educate others when they're not asking me to. There were people in my life that supported and understood and respected the choices that I made. Guilt is not an indicator of right or wrong. It's a pause button to evaluate whether what we're doing is good for us or not.
8) The role of resiliency and the importance of going through hardship. Melissa's son has special needs and his life is difficult. Helen loves the idea that we can embrace our imperfections and empathize with people when they are going through difficulties.
10) New moms without a mom, need to build a community of support. Dr Melissa encourages new mothers to reach out to other family members, friends, professionals, therapists, counselors, psychologists or other coaches. She thinks it's unrealistic to expect one person to fill all the needs. But it's important to recognize the people in your life who can help you.
11) As a mom she believes that all moms do the best they can with what they have at the time. Some people don't have a mom because their mother died. Others because they've had to make difficult decisions to disconnect from their mom. Social media is a good tool to connect people and Melissa has her own online support group. It's making connections that make the difference.
12) Melissa's proudest moment is when her son looks at her and thanks her for being his mom.
13) What would you like to leave our listeners with? I want them to seek out their mom community, that their grief is real, that it is okay to express that, and that sometimes it can be tough figuring out who we are as a mom. I've got a free guide to help mommies care for themselves as they care for their baby and a new guide for all ages.
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And thanks, Gabe Dovaston for the great music! www.themusicacademypapamoa.com
Do you need help to shift your heartache, grief, guilt, anger, anxiety, dread, or despair? Let's connect - send me a message 💟