This is me and my girls 11 years ago.
My family and I were just about to move from the big city of Toronto to the small town of Collingwood. When we moved our girls were 6 weeks and 20 months old - 2 under 2. My husband was commuting to Toronto and I was alone a couple of nights a week. After a couple of months, he found a new job that we believed would allow him to work closer to home. Unfortunately it required an apprenticeship program that had him traveling all over Ontario, and consequently living away from home Sunday to Thursday.
When we moved we knew one other family and we had my sister and her husband 30 minutes away. We were lucky to meet amazing neighbours with similar aged kids and they looked out for me, but nights were hard.
I would stay up way too late and drink too much white wine. I craved that time alone, that silence, the hours where no one needed me...but those nights began my long and downward spiral of being overtired and sleep deprived, which made me feel like I couldn’t cope, which then caused strong feelings of anxiety that I could only dull with a glass (or three...) of wine. And for years this was how I managed. Looking back now, I realize how those feelings of isolation, loneliness and wanting to appear like I was in control all fed into that negative feedback loop. I was ashamed of how I was coping; that I couldn't "just manage," that I had all these feelings of resentment and desperation. I'm sure people knew, but I never told anyone then how much I was struggling.
Knowing what I know now about the direct connection between sleep deprivation and anxiety, PPD and the rise of alcohol-use disorder among young mothers and how important it is to have a tribe of people supporting you when making sustainable changes, I am so thankful to be living in this community that once felt so lonely. I am grateful to my close friends and family, to health practitioners and online support groups and inspirations. We all need love and a community to listen and give us encouragement so we can move out from old patterns and write new stories.
We all have a story to share
Thanks for taking the time to read my story and learn what led me to supporting others in their sleep journey. I think it’s so important to share our stories, and that’s why it’s a large part of my approach in sleep support. I’d love to hear yours too. If you’re struggling, there’s no need to struggle alone.
If you’d like to get to know me better, here are a couple of ways.