How I Went From Sleepless to Sleep Consultant
Bags around my eyes, dragging my feet, and even crying alone in the shower. Did this ever happen to you after having your children?
For my husband and I, it was a struggle getting pregnant, so when we found out the good news we were so excited! I read all the books, took a birthing class, had my hospital bag packed ready to go. We even did practice runs of contractions - it’s always funny to look back at that now.
My birth plan was thrown out the window pretty quickly. I didn’t even know that I was in labour. Isn’t there supposed to be a gush when your water breaks? Nobody told me that it can be a trickle!? Was that mentioned in my class? In my books? No!!! I must’ve been so tired from having to pee every 30 minutes in the middle of the night. They say to rest before you have your baby, right?
The moment my little guy was born, I felt all the incredible emotions when you hold your first newborn. I’m a ‘MOM’. I will be moulding, nurturing, teaching and guiding this beautiful little boy into becoming a man. That is a huge responsibility and I was ready for it… and excited!
Those first few weeks were extremely tough. Breastfeeding isn’t easy (nipple cream, please!) and getting Mastitis in the first week doesn’t help. My mom came to help and an incredible Toronto Public Health nurse came to visit me in my home. She was our saviour.
After the highs and lows of birth began to subside and our life settled down, it was time to enjoy all of the incredible moments of having a tiny newborn in our lives. I’d strut down the streets pushing my Uppababy Vista and watching my son peacefully fall asleep in his stroller. I have great memories of those early days, even with the extreme exhaustion.
But those long days started to catch up to me. It seemed that having another cup of coffee just wouldn’t help. Taking him for another walk didn’t help. I was exhausted. I became so tired that I couldn’t even sleep. I was so worried that at bedtime my little guy would be waking any second, that it took forever to fall asleep. JUST as I closed my eyes, the crying began. This cycle continued for many weeks. By the time he was four months old, I began to crumble.
I dreaded nap time, I dreaded bedtime. I was at my breaking point.
I talked to my family. I talked to my friends. I even talked to my doctor and was referred to a psychiatrist. After a one hour consultation with this incredible doctor she looked at me and said: “Lisa, you are extremely sleep deprived and we need you to get some sleep. How can we do this for you?” The answer was easy. If my little guy could sleep better, I could sleep better. From the moment I walked out of that room, I knew I needed to seek help.
My pediatrician and mothers in my local community recommended that I call a sleep consultant. I hadn’t even heard of one of these! A sleep consultant who helps babies sleep? REALLY? I Googled away and found lots of options in Toronto. Everyone seemed nice and knowledgeable. It wasn’t until I talked to Janey Reilly of WeeSleep that I knew ‘she was the one’. I started crying on the phone with her because she knew exactly how I felt and what I was going through. She told me she was going to get my son to sleep 10-12 hours straight, fall asleep 100% on his own and start taking restful naps. My husband was highly skeptical, but I asked him to trust me. Within days of our consultation, my little guy was sleeping… like a baby! It completely changed our lives.
After my body started adjusting and learning to sleep again, I became ‘ME’ again. I started walking down the street with my stroller and my smile was permanently back on my face. I was truly enjoying all the incredible moments of motherhood.
Sleep deprivation is a scary thing and some people cope with it better than others. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them. A lot of people would say: “Don’t worry, this too shall pass. " Yes, it may - but when? Will I be like this for another year? Will I miss out enjoying all the moments of my son without really being ‘present in the moment’? That didn’t work for me. I knew I needed a change for my family and my husband felt helpless because he could never put our son to sleep. After working with Janey, our little guy who is now three is still an incredible sleeper.
After I had my daughter in 2014, Janey posted that she was looking to expand her business and hire consultants across Canada. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since my son was born, but knew that I had to join. I had to give back to my community what Janey did for our family. The feeling of changing families' lives, of giving the gift of sleep to children and parents, is the most rewarding job that I have ever done. I’ve never looked back and I'm enjoying every moment.
I used to laugh at the saying ‘If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life’. Well…. It looks like that has come true. It’s not work. It’s my passion, it's what drives me, and it's what I think I was meant to do.
Lisa Kvapil is a Certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant with WeeSleep. She creates customized sleep plans for families who are struggling with sleep from birth to 8 years of age. Photo Credit: Emily D Photography