I was experienced and prepared for anything; working as a nurse for 14 years I had nearly circled the globe practicing in the UK, Saudi Arabia, and serving with NATO. After marrying an officer in US Army I had lived and worked on nearly every continent and was prepared for anything. Worldy and sophisticated, we knew parenting would come naturally to us, of course, and were thrilled to discover we were pregnant shortly after our move New Orleans, Louisiana (oysters).
We were wholly unprepared for our son, a squalling, wailing, ear-piercing, non-stop crying bundle of joy who wouldn’t latch or sleep at all!
The statement "it takes a village" took on new meaning, as we struggled to find normalcy, balance and structure on zero sleep; in a new city, with no friends or family and a newborn,
With no support and my husband working long hours, I did what moms do and rocked, bounced, walked, fed-to-sleep; nearly anything that would help quiet and soothe. I was sleep deprived and so was our son. He rarely slept longer than 2-3 hours and startled awake as soon as he was laid in his crib. I thought it was all part of the joys of motherhood.
At five months, I came to the realization that something had to change; there had to be a better way. I read the books and trawled the internet for anything that might help, and discovered that I wasnt soothing baby at all. In fact just the opposite, I was discouraging healthy sleep habits. I began to work on laying out my first official sleep plan and with my husband on-board, we set about “Sleep Training”. The plan covered 10 days, but on night 3, Daniel was asleep in his crib and we were sitting on the sofa at 7:30pm, shocked and wondering what to do with our evening.
I offered advice to anyone who wanted it and was able to help other moms within our parenting group. I gained experience working with different families and found helping so gratifying that I pursued a formal education and became certified as a pediatric sleep consultant.