Starting Over by Starting a Business

Starting Over by Starting a Business

I am no longer a social worker, but from the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be one. I got my Master’s Degree in Social Work and worked as a front line social worker for about 17 years.

The last 3 1/2 of those years were working with families bringing their children, usually babies, to the Hospital for Sick Children for heart surgery. It was the most intense and most personal work I had ever done, and I struggled with the stress and emotions of it all.  

When my son was diagnosed with epilepsy about a year and a half ago, it all became too much and I sunk into a depression I couldn’t climb back out of. The only way out was to leave my job and my career behind and start over.

I left my job last April and I took some time to recover, and gradually worked my way out of depression and back to myself. But once I was ready to get back to work, I had literally no idea of what I would do next. All I had ever wanted to do was be a social worker, and nothing else had ever called to me.

The idea that, seemingly out of nowhere, planted a seed in me was sharing my passion for reading with children. But how to turn that into a job?

While I was trying to figure that out, I started the Butterfly Books blog. I remembered when my son was diagnosed and I needed to help him understand what was happening, and I went to my usual go to in hard times: books. But there were so many and I had no idea which ones would be good. I was lucky and could go to the office next to mine and ask the epilepsy social worker to recommend some, and that was so helpful. I realized I could help other families in that way, and use my social work experience in a different way than before.

So I started to blog about therapeutic books, as well as regular books. And as I blogged, I planned another way to share my passion for children’s books, and just a couple of months ago I launched the Butterfly Books children’s book subscription service.

If anyone had told me a year and a half ago that I would have planned, created, and launched Butterfly Books, I would not have believed them. Me, an entrepreneur? It still doesn’t quite feel real! But it feels right, for me and for my family.

Helen Antoniades is a Mamas & Co. member and owner of Butterfly Children’s Books. She also tells her story of coping with anxiety and depression for the Globe and Mail.


Emma Rohmann

Thanks for sharing your story Helen- it touched my heart & soul- not only as a mother but as a fellow entrepreneur who also found "her calling " during a time of sadness and confusion. i have learned that some of our greatest blessings and gifts can come from painful experience’s- only to remind us that we all have so much still to learn and grow. I am grateful for the changes and the lessons! Keep sharing your story Helen, there are so many women who need to hear your experience, strength and hope! Best wishes to you and your beautiful family as well as Butterfly Children’s Books!

Emma Rohmann

Good for you Helen ,the best of luck always great to be your own boss!!!!!!! What an amazing business this will help so many people.Thanks!!!

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