The Courage to Act: Sonia Murdock

By OBOS — April 20, 2009

From 2009 – 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves honored the work of women’s health advocates worldwide by asking readers to nominate their favorite women’s health hero. View all nominees by year: 2009, 2010, 2011

Entrant: Linda Lisi Juergens

Nominee: Sonia Murdock, Co-Founder, Postpartum Resource Center of New York

Sonia Murdock co-founded the Postpartum Resource Center of New York and currently serves as its executive director.

She began her involvement in this issue when her sister needed her help after suffering a postpartum psychosis after the birth of her daughter. Sonia was willing to sacrifice her career aspirations, “made do” without her car, and put the health and well-being of scores of women who were unknown to her ahead of herself. She has worked tirelessly to affect change and offer very needed services and referrals to women and families affected by this critical mental health issue.

Sonia realized how few resources there were for women suffering from postpartum mood disorders, and how many professionals and para-professionals don’t know enough about these disorders or how to recognize the symptoms.

Scores of women have been helped with support and referrals at the Resource Center, and Sonia is tireless in getting the message out about these disorders and raising people’s consciousness so they know what to look for. She has done many speaking engagements to educate and raise people’s awareness of these issues due to a renewed public interest in the subject in the wake of the Andrea Yates situation.

She’s been featured on MSNBC, the Rikki Lake Show, Telecare’s God Squad, New York Daily News, and the Washington Post.  Sonia has also spoken to legislators about things that could be implemented to reduce negative outcomes.

With Sonia’s help, the Postpartum Resource Center of NY was also involved in a model Maternal Depression Outreach Project, along with other agencies (namely, LI’s United Way Success By Six, the National Association of Mothers’ Centers, the National Center of the Parent-Child Home Program and the Marks Family Right From the Start 0 – 3 Center of North Shore Child & Family Guidance) to offer a conference on these issues and to provide support groups for affected women.

She’s done training to teach professionals and para-professionals to recognize symptoms and find appropriate referrals for their patients and clients. Besides impacting on the suffering of countless women who are experiencing a range of postpartum mood disorders, Sonia’s efforts also help those children whose mothers are affected and other family members struggling to deal with this illness.

This year the Postpartum Resource Center of NY was the recipient of Postpartum Support International’s Jane Honikman Award as a model postpartum parent support network. Sonia’s work impacts on the health and safety of women and their children, as well as their quality of life. Sonia’s work saves lives every day.

The Resource Center she helped found received Postpartum Support International’s (PSI) Award as a model support network and Sonia herself eventually served as Board Member and President of PSI. What makes Sonia extraordinary is that she left her job to assist her sister with the care of her newborn and has personally sacrificed in a similar fashion to make the Postpartum Resource Center a reality.

She’s worked tirelessly, for long periods without pay, and continues to “make ends meet” with small grants and many volunteers. She eats, lives and breathes these issues and is always attempting to raise people’s consciousness about the prevalence of these disorders and the lack of understanding and lack of resources.

“The courage to act. The conscience to care. The character to do what is right.”  That’s what Sonia exemplifies.

22 responses to “The Courage to Act: Sonia Murdock”

  1. Tens of thousands of women have been helped by Sonia Murdock through the Postpartum Resource Center of New York. None of this would have been possible were it not for Sonia’s selfless work to help women and their families experiencing Perinatal Mood Disorders.

    So many are grateful for the important work Sonia has done, and continues to do to this day, and I am one of them!

  2. I can’t think of a more deserving person than Sonia Murdock. So many children in New York and around the country are now being nurtured by healthy Moms who received the help they desperately needed from The Postpartum Resource Center of New York.

    Sonia is a caring and talented advocate for women and families. Keep up the great work, Sonia. The world needs more inspirational people like you!

  3. Sonia, Congratulations! this merit is so greatly deserved. Your passion, commitment, and dedication to mothers suffering from perinatal mood disorders is admirable. The work that you have done and continue to do inspires all of us. I am very proud to be a part of the Postpartum Resource Center volunteer network!

  4. Congratulations Sonia!

    I cannot think of anyone who deserves this more! You are truly an extraordinary woman and an inspiration to so many!

  5. Sonia is very deserving of this. Her work has made so many families able to thrive and helped so many through a trying, scary, confusing time. Her work is amazing and she is very deserving of this award.

    I know that as women we are warriors and Sonia is an excellent comrade in our battle.


  7. There is no one more concerned about the health of women in need than Sonia Murdock. She was influential in giving me my health and dignity back and there is no one that deserves this honor more.

    Mary Banahan MS, PA-C, LCCE

  8. Sonia,

    You helped my family get through the hardest, life change event we have ever had to face. We are alive and stronger today, thanks to your help. You should be honored daily for your continued work helping countless families with post-partum depression.

    If there was anyone more deserving of the this award then you, I have not met them.

    Thank you for your continued support!

  9. Not just courage but innate ability for being always there for everyone. I thought she already had this award! Her sweetness, love and professionality have crossed the ocean and reached even Spain.

  10. Sonia

    It has been almost 7 years since the sound of your voice literally saved my life. I refer to you as my guardian angel. You hold such a special place in my heart.

    Your selfless, undying dedication to moms and their families is what keeps The Postpartum Resource Center alive. Thank God for all of your efforts. I am extremely proud and honored to be a volunteer for such an important cause.

    Congratulations Sonia!

  11. Sonia has been the conscience of our region. She has not been content
    to merely “get the word out,” she has made it patently clear that the
    toll Postpartum Depression /Psychosis exacts from family life is
    unacceptable. This has been transmitted internationally.

    There a few examples of such commitment in this day and age. When she
    began the resource center, it was with a clear mission that her message
    would resound. Many of the allied care-giving agencies have benefited
    from her willingness to share her expertise, knowledge, skills and
    abilities often without remuneration.

    She has given time, money, most of her resources and passion to helping
    educate our culture to learn, understand, “act and pass it on.”

    She is a shining star and a worthy example of excellence personified.


  12. Sonia, we are so proud of you. You are model of sacrifice and dedication and are a true inspiration to us, and so many others. And your tireless efforts have helped countless numbers of women over the years. You are a wonderful, bright, sensitive person, and so very down-to-earth. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award. Congratulations!

  13. Sonia is truly a hero and helped me through such a difficult time in my life when I was diagnosed with PPD. At the time there was no Resource Center and she worked out of her house helping me get on the road to recovery!

    She is truly an inspiration! Thanks for all you do Sonia!

  14. Sonia, the world needs people like you. I think you deserve this award, of course, but if you don´t get it, don´t worry, you already have it.

    Congratulations! We support you from Spain.

  15. Sonia,

    You are an inspiration and a wonderful soul. So many families have been helped by you. Thank you for welcoming me into the world of postpartum support way back when, and being such a source of light since then.

  16. Sonia is such an advocate for women. She has brought the issue of PPD to the attention of healtcare professionals. She has rescued countless number of women and their children. She is a true hero!

  17. Thanks Sonia! You are an advocate for all women. You have saved so many new moms and their children. Your resource center provides services that the health care community needs to emulate.

    Keep up your tireless effort!

  18. I am so excited to see that Sonia Murdock has been nominated. She is an amazing woman and I have the utmost respect for her. She has taken on the mantle of advocacy for women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders with great class and determination. I always look forward to hearing her speak, and getting advice from her on how to best help mothers who are suffering. Her dedication to maternal mental health is unwavering. Thanks for everything you do, Sonia.

    — Katherine Stone, Postpartum Progress

  19. Sonia,

    I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award. I have known you from the start of the Postpartum Resource Center and will help in the future, if you need me! Your dedication to so many women and their families is incredible! You are truly a blessing to every women suffering from postpartum mood disorders.

  20. I’ve know Sonia for years, but really never knew the extent to which she’s devoted her life to helping others until my daughter had her second child and developed postpartum psychosis. What a nightmare this was for all of us involved. The one bright light in a sea of professionals and hospitals who had, literally, no idea what to do, was Sonia Murdock. She also helped my family to understand this disorder, that it is real and debilitating.

    I hate to think where my daughter and her little boy might be today had it not been for Sonia.

    Thank you Sonia for your tireless work to improve the quality of care and treatment that sufferers of perinatal mood disorders receive from the health profession as well as family and friends.

    You are a Blessing to all of us.


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