Kaleigh MacDonald-Tremblay, RN
Tell us about your own journey and how your experiences have changed the way you look at motherhood and parenting.
I had my first child in 2016; a daughter. Her name is Adelia and I realized that all the things I thought I knew prior to having her, I didn't have any real understanding of at all. Parenting is HARD. It's exacerbated by no sleep. No sleep can cause anxiety and you then aren't able to sleep because you are anxious. This is a vicious cycle and I was certainly someone who was caught in that tornado. I experienced postpartum anxiety with Adelia and it became such a part of my daily existence that I didn't recognize it in myself for months. I guess the lesson is that motherhood isn't easy and sometimes it doesn't come as naturally as you think it might and that's OK.
Tell us a little about your nursing career.
I always knew I wanted to be in a helping profession. I spent 5 years working in child and youth care and mental health before I decided to apply for nursing school. I felt so privileged to be given this opportunity that I put my whole heart and soul into being a Nurse. When I graduated, I started at a Regional Hospital in Nova Scotia working in an Oncology clinic and the Emergency Department until I had my first child in 2016.
Our little boy wasn't great at naps or nighttime sleep between 2-6 months. We bought books, searched the internet, and talked to other parents and it was still a struggled with having him go down easy for sleeps AND having him stay asleep!! We thought we were stuck with sleepless night and nothing worked for us. We contacted Kaleigh and she was great, asked a lot of question to learn what we were doing and what we tried. She was reassuring and tailored a sleeping regime for us, checking in with us, and providing on-going support. IT TOOK LESS THAN 3 DAYS TO FINALLY GET A FULL NIGHT SLEEP .. AND STILL GOING STRONG 2 MONTHS LATER with an amazing sleeping boy. We have our life and sanity back. HUGE thanks to Kaleigh and so happy to see her on TV. Highly recommend her!
What are the two most important lessons you've learned working with moms, babies, and families?
l think the most important lessons to pass on are that mamas have to make it their responsibility to care for themselves. If you aren't doing well then your family is not doing well. This is why sleep is so important. The second thing is that mamas are vulnerable and as moms we have to take care of each other. All of us are just trying to do whats best for our babes in the best way that we know how and we must be kind to each other. There is so much judgement in the world of mamas and babes and we need to support each other. You have no idea what other moms are struggling with.
If you had one bit of advice to give to a new parent, what would it be?
The biggest piece of advice to a new parent is to tap into all your resources and reach out for support.
Self-care is a big challenge for parents. How do you maintain your own energy and outlook?
I think that firstly self-care is a hard thing to fit into life with children and so it's important to make it a priority. I also think that when you do get some time to yourself you should try and spend it disconnected from social media. You spend all day being overwhelmed with someone else's needs- take that time to disconnect. A big way I do this for myself is spending time outdoors- usually by the shore. Even if I have a child in a carrier I feel disconnected and it gives me time, and space to be alone with my thoughts.
Is there anything we've missed that you'd like to share with Mama Coach clients?
I am a mother of two: Adelia, 2.5yrs old and Alister, 2 months old. I also have two dogs: Audrey Hepburn and Kevin Bacon who I love like children and last but not least a very supportive husband named Guillaume.
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