They say if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Hanna Murray would be the first to agree. But finding her true calling as a labour, delivery and postpartum nurse and doula wasn’t something that came easily to her.
After completing a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and subsequently working in the field, Hanna realized it wasn’t for her. She thought about pursuing a degree in computer science, but was encouraged by a stranger to try her hand at nursing. So she did.
“While I was in nursing school at U of T in Toronto, I liked every single subject,” Hanna said on the Leading With Nice Interview Series. “I liked all the areas and I wanted to do anything. I just loved nursing. But it wasn’t until I went into labour and delivery that I was like, this is my passion.”
Hanna has since parleyed her experience into Babytalk, a blog that serves as a safe place for women to discuss various topics about pregnancy, birth, postpartum and parenting. What began as a passion project has turned into full-time job of its own, which Hanna balances with her career as a nurse and motherhood.
She wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It has to be a passion that makes you kind of automatically motivated, model trains or chess or whatever,” she says. “If you love chess and you just want to share everything about chess, there’s endless content that you can make around that. It’s just a question of how much you are passionate about it, because that will drive you; that will push you to do more.”
Listen to the episode below to hear Hanna speak about the importance of pursuing passions and never losing sight of goals.
It has to be a passion that makes you kind of automatically motivated, model trains or chess or whatever. Like, if you love chess and you just want to share everything about chess, there’s endless content that you can make around that. It’s just a question of how much you are passionate about it, because that will drive you; that will push you to do more.
Good day. And welcome to the Leading With Nice Interview Series podcast. My name is Mathieu Yuill, and we want to help you inspire others, build loyalty and get results. Now, today I’m Super excited because we have somebody on who I think is just super cool because I’ll tell you why we’re talking with Hanna Murray, who is an expert in birthing labor delivery and postpartum, will tell you a bit more about her in a second. But obviously I have three kids and I thought I kind of had a good handle on what it’s about to have a baby.
And since I came across and discovered Hanna, I follow her on Social. So when she’s live, I’m like a notification and I’ll watch. And the stuff I learn is so amazing. And one of the things that we really value here at Leading with Nice is service core value. And what Hanna does is it reeks full of service. I’m just trying to be helpful. So tell you a bit about her. Hanna is the labor delivery and postpartum nurse behind Baby Talk. There’s a website in social at Babytalk Birth Nurse and the blog Babytalk Life.
She shares really fun and educational posts on pregnancy, birth, postpartum and breastfeeding. Just before we started recording, I was telling Hanna I learned all about high milk and about double feeding on one breast. If your baby is not getting enough milk, the stuff I learn is amazing. And she’s also the mother of three herself. She’s a teenager, a toddler, a newborn, and I learned chickens and other pets as well. She’s a busy household. She believes in the importance of women being well prepared for their pregnancy and birth journeys.
And she wants women to be empowered and knowledgeable when they come into the hospital for the delivery. As it is pivotal. It’s a pivotal event in women’s and babies’lives, and we couldn’t agree more. Hanna, thank you so much for joining us today.
Thank you so much for having me.
If you’re listening on audio. If you’re seeing the video, you’ll see. But Hanna right now is banned on a birthing ball, and she has her newborn with her. So can you introduce who this is?
This is Leah Jane, my third baby and my only girl. I have two boys. Like you said, a 15 year old, a two year old. And then Leah Jane is my third. She is my most challenging baby so far. I’m learning a lot. Actually, you have these ideas in mind.
She’s brand new, too, right? She’s a couple of weeks old.
Yeah. She’s a month old. She’s a month old and she’s very fussy and needs a lot of attention. Of course, who thought that Parenthood would be easy? I guess you have three kids, so you know that it’s not. Oh, my gosh, it’s never easy. It’s always a fun challenge.
I was a third child, so I think actually, I resemble a lot of the comments you’re saying if you were to ask my mom as well. But obviously we invite you here because of your success in baby talk and all you do to empower women to be their own advocates during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. And I just had a baby. So how are things going for you? And your family gave me a broader picture. You mentioned that she’s a bit more challenging, but what’s it like having a baby pandemic?
Yeah. So it is different. I have to say, being a labor and delivery nurse and then being the quote, unquote patient myself. It’s very different because you have to put yourself in those shoes and it’s hard to go out of the labor and delivery postpartum nurse and become a patient. So that was a little bit challenging, but things are going really well. We are adjusting well, I’m lucky enough that my husband only works half days, so he’s an extreme source of help at home. So it’s not just me dealing with everything at home.
I’m happy that it’s summertime, and luckily, the pandemic didn’t really affect us too much. When we were at the hospital, I had a pretty straightforward delivery. I actually had a C section, and I only had to stay in the hospital for 24 hours. So everything went really well. And like I said before we started recording, the only challenge now is I have a much fussier baby than I’ve ever had before. And actually, with my toddler, my two year old, I was able to work on baby talk a lot with him as a newborn because he was so easy, he would just eat and then sleep.
But she needs way more attention. So that I think has been probably one of the bigger challenges keeping my business going, having to deal with all the other things called life on the side.
I just see now I remember being the husband and father when my wife was pregnant with newborns and just being like, oh, my gosh, all the unsolicited advice you get, so I can only imagine talking about this online. I’m sure you guys should probably get it in your own comments on your social like everybody with their two cent on what’s right and wrong.
Yeah, well, I’ve been sharing a lot of my stories on Instagram how fussy she’s been. And I actually don’t mind the advice. And also you can hear what other people went through. And you know that it’s not going to last forever, and you’re going to have a time where it’s going to be easier. It’s a great community actually Instagram and being online, I get a lot out of it, too. It’s not just my followers that are getting information from me. I actually get a lot back. Lots of DMs with helpful comments and stuff like that or tips and things to talk about or ideas, content and stuff like that.
Okay. All right.
Speaking of your online following and your influence and how you launched it and grew, it is really impressive. And obviously a lot of it comes out of your work as a nurse. But the thing is, you don’t go like, high school nurse big on Instagram. So you tell me a bit about your journey to becoming a nurse because I think people are going to hear your story and connect me like, oh, that’s me. And they’ll be inspired in their own way. So I’d really love to hear what it is that drives your passion in this.
Yeah. And I guess I’ll start with saying that you really have to be passionate to want to take it this far, because if you’re not passionate about the topic, you’ll just kind of give up because there has to be something behind it. So, yeah, I didn’t go into nursing right out of high school. I remember my mum saying, what do you want to do when you graduate? Oh, maybe you should do nursing. And I was like, no way there’s no way of going into nursing. I hate blood.
I hate needles. I thought that’s all it was about, right. It was blood and needles. So I went into biochemistry. I finished my bachelor’s, and then I started working. And then I realized, being in biochemistry, you have to kind of follow up with a master’s or a PhD. You have to be really passionate about a certain topic to go far in biochemistry. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. So I knew I wanted to do something else. And it was actually funny. I was going to do computer science because I’ve always loved techy type stuff.
So that kind of probably comes into the social media aspect of it. But I didn’t end up. It was like, basically a few weeks before I was supposed to start, someone mentioned to me, oh, why are you doing computers? You should go into nursing. And this wasn’t even a close friend or anything. It was just a random person who kind of knew me a little bit. And she said, oh, you should go into nursing. And I was like, thought about it for a bit. And I said, Well, you know what?
I’m starting fresh. Why don’t I just try it per semester and see if I like it? And I loved it. So I always owe this thanks to this random person who mentioned it to me and labor delivery. I think nursing actually after I had my first son. So that was maybe a couple of years before I went into nursing. I think it was always in the back of my mind. I realized what nurses actually do. And that was the first time I was in a hospital, and I saw what nurses do.
So I think that was probably the background of it. Why I went into nursing, too, is that I really I just kind of was inspired by what nurses do in the hospital. And then labor and delivery also came as a fluke. Because while I was in nursing school, I went to U of T in Toronto. I liked every single subject. I liked all the areas I wanted to do anything. I was like, I just love nursing. But then it wasn’t until I went into labor and delivery that I was like, this is my passion.
I started off in a unit in Sunnybrook in Toronto, and it was such a great team. And I guess it just kind of was an eyeopening moment. Oh, I actually love birth and postpartum. And this is what I want to do. Breastfeeding was always a passion of mine just because I had issues with my first baby, not really, like, crazy issues, but like things that I needed to figure out. And I actually went online at the time I had him in 2006, so there was much fewer resources.
There wasn’t even Facebook.
Right. So there were some websites and stuff. So I kind of found out then that you have to be your own advocate that sometimes you’re going to get bad information from doctors, you’re going to get bad information from nurses in the midwives. And you have to figure out kind of what works for you. And it’s not always cut and dry what’s the right thing to do, especially with breastfeeding, but also with birth. So, yeah, that’s kind of a mishmash of reasons for why I went into it and became so passionate.
I love that kind of that’s a great kind of big picture of why we put you on the path here, why you’re here. So let’s dive a little bit deeper.
I remember I was doing a Masters in leadership and management, and we were talking about a way of seeing things with clarity. And I was just like, yeah, this is totally makes sense. Don’t you do this already? And I was with some really smart people in class, and they’re like, no, man, we don’t see this that way. Normally you do that’s. What really you have that ability that’s special for you. And I was like, oh, that’s a thing. Okay. So that’s what put me on my path towards thinking about leading with nice.
And how do we advocate for clarity and how people tell their stories and building better teams? So I’m just curious for you in your journey, like, when you were starting baby talk, you had this great idea and this drive, clearly you had a love for it. Was there a moment that it was like an, AHA, moment or a realization that okay. I need to be this advocate for advocacy, which is amazing. It’s very meta. You’re an advocate for advocacy, right. But was there a moment or was there a series of events you kind of touched on a little bit, but can you take me down to a very specific thing if there was one?
Yeah. And it’s not easy to talk about at all. And I don’t think it’s something a lot of people know about until they’re in the system birthing in the hospital system. Hospitals are businesses. I know that in Canada, everything is covered. You don’t pay. But really, it is still a business. Doctors, they work for fee for service. So they want to get as many patients in and out as they can, because that’s how they make their money. And that’s totally fair. But I think I had a couple of it’s not just one moment, but a couple of times where I just saw women not treated as well as they could have been in birth.
And again, I think it’s a systems problem. I never blamed one specific doctor, one specific nurse or anything like that. But it’s just a systems problem of overworked health care professionals and a system that is not in favor of women. So I realized, hey, if we can somehow advocate for women and help them understand what actually happens in the hospital so that they can advocate for themselves and be like, ask for things that should happen and ask for things not to happen, too, because a lot of it is time sensitive, and it’s a rush.
I mean, you probably remember from having your kids. That was one piece of it. The other piece of it was also that one of the favorite parts of my job as a labor and delivery nurse is teaching. So just sitting down with a patient and telling them going, step by step by step, and they’re like, wow, I never knew this. My doctor never told me this. Like, for example, someone having an induction, they’ll come in. I always have a spiel because they’re not in labor. At that point, I’ll have a spiel.
Go step by step. What’s going to happen? What’s it going to look like? And they’re like, thank you so much. I’m so happy that you actually walked me through this. I feel so much more prepared. So then I thought, AHA, let’s go and prepare a bunch of women at once. I can do this field once, and maybe 1000 women can see it rather than just the one. And they can feel more prepared and more happy eventually. The reason for this is I really think that, like you said in the intro about me is that it’s a pivotal event.
So if you go into Parenthood feeling kind of traumatized or feeling like you went through some terrible thing, I think it affects your parenting, at least in the beginning. And it definitely affects your postpartum, like depression, anxiety, all those things. So I really think it’s an important thing to try to be as well prepared for birth as possible so that you come out of it feeling like you rule the world. And now you can rule this thing called parenting.
I’m going to go off scripting if you listen to this podcast regularly. You know, I’m quite transparent. I share the questions in advance with the guest because I don’t want them to be a surprise. I want everybody to be. Well, I want these podcasts to be useful, so everybody is prepared. And so one thing that you probably don’t know, but it’s not a secret. Hanna is actually the sister of one of the nicest employees. And I thank her every episode because she does so much great work.
And Naomi is Hanna’s sister. And that’s how I came to know Hanna in the first place. I wasn’t randomly searching for birthing Instagram accounts to follow. Ma’am, we told her sister that’s what turned me on to following hers. And I’m hearing something that the two of you share, and it is a strong desire to be of service, because Naomi, she’s my executive assistant, and she’ll ask me, Is this what you’re hoping I’m doing? Am I being effective? I’m, like, nailed me. Like I showed up today.
I had totally forgotten about all this. Without you, I wouldn’t even be here. And just the stuff she does for the business. And I’m hearing the same ethos from you. So is there something maybe a shared experience? Is there something that you experienced that I should help my kids experience to get this service generosity ethos, or it just happens to answer. You don’t have to have an answer. Don’t worry.
I don’t know. I wonder. I’ve never actually thought about that before. And so it might be hard for me to come up with a response right on the spot. And if I ever think of something better, then I’ll let you know. But I don’t know if Naomi ever told you, but our grandmother, she’s a survivor. Well, she’s passed away now, but she was a survivor of the Holocaust, and she came out of that experience wanting to talk about it and teach about the Holocaust. And that was always her, like, probably every time I saw her, she would talk about how it’s important to teach and let the history kind of go on.
So that’s the first thing that came to mind that both of us, we were very close with her. So that is probably part of it, I’m sure.
Yeah, I’ve heard a lot about your grandmother. She sounds amazing. There is a great clip of her on the CBC from a couple of years ago. I’m going to find it. I’ll put it in the description. Feel free to pause this. Go watch that clip to get an idea of who this woman was and how I would actually say that’s probably very accurate as to why you’re built the way you are. So that influence. I love it. So quick. Take, if you’re listening to this one thing you can do right now, teach people about the stuff you care about.
Just talk about it. Be open with it frequently. Do it. That’s a great takeaway. I love it. I love it.
So I want to go back to the beginning of Baby Talk and you have this great idea. You have this drive, you have the passion, you have the experience, and now you have to do it.
I know from my own business, there are times you put in the time and you’re like, oh Hooray, one, like, one follow. And it was my mom, what were some of the challenges of getting things off the ground? And how did you persevere? I want to hear about your resilience and about what it looked like in those moments.
I started Baby Talk as a blog. That was my primarily like, my focus in the beginning was just to make a blog. So I got into that first and I really enjoyed it writing and all that same thing with blogging as, like social. You get no comments, you get no likes. You don’t even know if anyone’s reading your thing to me. I made both the blog and the social. It was almost like a game for me. It was like, how far can I take this? What do I need to do?
What hacks do I need to figure out so that I can kind of take it a step further. And so with the blog, it was Pinterest I just happened upon. And I don’t like buying courses and stuff. I don’t know. I guess I’m cheap like that. I’ve gotten better since I started because I know they can be very beneficial, but I read a lot of blogs. I just tried to figure out from here and there how to hack Pinterest. So I did. And the blog, I wouldn’t say took off, but it actually got views and it got traction and it’s still getting traction.
And I actually got my numbers yesterday. And now Google is giving me way more views because I kind of stuck to it. And I persevered. So that was really good. And people told me in a few years, Google will pick up and people will read it just will find it through Google and you won’t need Pinterest anymore. And then I think what really helped me with the social was community. So I kind of hooked up with a few other labor and delivery nurses that are on, like, blogging and social.
And I followed what they were doing. We talked a lot. We kind of like not everyone. They help each other out, but we have this kind of group of people that we share each other’s stuff. And I find that for me anyways, on Instagram and my niche, it’s all about kind of community. So not just finding other labor and delivery nurses, I found other people in the same area and birthdays like doulas midwives any baby type accounts, and we would do takeovers from each other. And that kind of stuff challenges for keeping going for sure are just distractions work.
Like I actually work as a labor deliver nurse and I have a family. And so it’s like finding the time for me. I just have to do it whenever I have a moment. So I might work on a post while I’m watching my two year old play outside and then pause it for a little bit. And then when he’s napping, I might write the caption. And then at night I will start a blog post. I kind of have to just give you up my time. But that’s the biggest challenge is just not having that good chunk of time to just sit down and really focus on it.
I started the blog before I had the two babies. I just had my teenager and he was way easier to just go do his thing. And I could work as much as I wanted. So that is definitely super challenging, especially right now with her. But I also have to just give myself Grace and be like, okay, so you’re not going to be as present for a month or two. That’s fine. You can get back into it once you have a better handle on things at home.
I have to enjoy my life as well. And I can’t just be stressing about getting everything done all at once. I find with Instagram. I kind of like that as my go to platform. I am on Facebook too, and I did start kind of Tik Tok and stuff. There’s always new things to get into just to get the more views and more people to come to you so you can teach more. But I find that Instagram has kind of everything in it and especially like the stories because it’s something you can always just go on.
I can say, hey, I just thought of something I really want to teach you guys or talk to you guys about and then do that. And it only takes 1015 minutes. And it’s done. I might not have as many posts as I’d like, but it is what it is you pick and choose, right? Yeah.
I’m going to check out on our YouTube channel. There’s a video I did on our New Year’s resolutions worth it. And you just described my approach to New Year’s resolutions is I actually there’s a bunch of different ways to do it. But one of the rules I have for myself is I only try to achieve 80% because like you just said, it’s okay if I’m not as present for a couple of months. Yeah, 100% is okay, and you don’t have to have a baby for it to be okay.
Like, you can be tired you can be wanting to break. You can be any number of reasons that it’s okay. You can come back to it. We live in this world. Sometimes Bert feels over it’s all or nothing. And I love that approach. Hanna, you just said also, you can have a bad day, and it doesn’t make you a bad parent, right? That day was bad. And one thing I learned from actually, sports is with officials, referees. You can criticize the call, but it’s not about criticizing the person.
So you can say that strike is bad. That was a bad call. But if you say you’re a bad umpire, usually you’ll get started to give them more trouble. And you’re basically saying, I can be busy. But that doesn’t make me a bad blogger. That’s a great message. One last question, then, for people who are just starting out online with a website or social media, maybe all they have is an idea and a passion, but they don’t exactly know how to execute a plan. And I love leaving people with practical tips.
And there’s going to be people that are listening today that heard your story and be like, oh, man, that’s my story. But it’s not nursing and postpartum in childbirth. It’s like model trains or it’s advocacy for mental health issues. So what can you do to keep yourself motivated? Maybe three quick tips on what they can do to keep themselves motivated and keep going the same way you do with baby talk.
Well, I think Firstly, it has to be a passion that makes you kind of automatically motivated. You know what I mean? It’s not like, just go into something. I kind of like, what do you mention model trains or chess or whatever? Like, if you love chess and you just want to share everything about chess, there’s endless content that you can make around that. It’s just a question of how much you are passionate about it. I think that’s the first thing is find something that you really love because that will drive you that will push you to do more.
Because for me, sometimes I lie in bed in the morning or at night, and a piece of content comes up in my mind because I’m like, I just really need people to know this. I need them to know it, right. And the thing is, we haven’t talked about this, but I would love for this to be like, my side job. I would like to make money. That’s one of my goals with baby talk, and I do make a little bit like ads and stuff like that, but that can’t be your number one goal.
I don’t think when you’re starting out, at least because if it’s just the money factor, I think you’ll end up being like a walking Advertisement. Right? So it has to be a topic that you can just talk about without thinking. Am I going to make money from this? So it’s a hard balance. I hope that’s what you’re looking for.
Of course, whatever you had to say was what I was looking for. So listen, we’re going to end this up now because I’m going to become third fiddle in this conversation very soon. Where can people find out? Where can they find your stuff? Hit us up with your website, your social handles, et cetera.
Yeah. So the blog is www. Dot Babytok Life, and I have lots of blogs on there about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, like all the topics, really. And then so online. I’m mostly on Instagram and my handle is babytok birth nurse. And you can find me on my stories a lot. But I do post informational posts about all those topics that I mentioned on my blog as well.
And it’s really cool. I’m not sure how much you’ve done lately, but I loved you use Lego to teach a lot like Lego pieces.
So actually, that’s part of the maybe I can add that to the last question was the other thing is when you do start online, it’s good to have something that’s, like on social media platform, have something that’s kind of uniform. And that took me the longest, really with Instagram to find something that I can do that makes the feed look kind of uniform and nice, but it’s not too complicated. And for me it was Lego. A lot of people use drawings or they take pictures of themselves, but something that you can use over and over again.
And Lego really worked for that.
I love the pregnant Lego. Figures. It’s amazing. Hanna, thank you so much for making time. I learned so much. I enjoyed it. I also appreciate your daughter being on as well. She was wonderful. She added her commentary at the end. This happened, though, for a lot of people, and I want to say thank you to them for Cindy Craig, who you would have dealt with. She does all the booking, all the communications, she gets it together. Naomi helps me with the whole business, but in this particular, she helps with the questions and sourcing guests.
Jamie Hunter, if you are hearing about this for the first time, he’s our content manager. He made all the posts got on the blog, got the podcast uploaded. Austin Pomeroy is our audio editor, technical producer. He makes it sound great. Kerry Cotton is our account manager, and while I’m doing these podcasts, he’s busy taking care of clients. And you know what? It struck me today that I really should be thanking my wife, Alison Ewell, the mother of my three kids. I get to do a lot of this great stuff.
And Alison is a great leader in our house of taking care of our children and helping me be a great dad. So thank you to her as well. Hanna, have a wonderful day.
Thank you so much for having me.
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