When Parenting Sleep Deprivation meets Chronic Illness

When Parenting Sleep Deprivation meets Chronic Illness


Blogger, mental health and chronic illness advocate and mum Kat spoke on her Instagram page about her time at Tweddle with her daughter (affectionately known as Lolly).

Her daughter’s sleep had been a massive issue since she was 8 months old. Kat and her partner had been at their wit’s end, surviving with barely any sleep. Sleep school had always been a really contentious issue for Kat, and she had fought it. But something had to give. Just one month before her daughter’s 3rd birthday she turned to Tweddle.

She said of her experience. “Our sleep deprivation has impacted every single element of our life, including worsening my symptoms of chronic illness. It’s impacted this guy here too (Kat’s partner), in so many ways. Just ask the parents of a young child who doesn’t sleep about their mental health. You guessed it. Not good.”

“So reluctantly, and after a big dose of mum-guilt, we got a referral to Tweddle. During our Day Stay we spent the whole day talking to the amazing, non-judgemental staff at Tweddle going over strategies, talking about my daughter’s behaviours, her development and our feelings (not at all easy for me to do) in the desperate hope something would shift.”

“Now to see if we can mimic the strategies we’ve learned today at home. It’ll be an ongoing process. But it couldn’t really get any worse. And we’re so glad we came. And I am the first person to admit that my fears were unfounded. No cry it out. Just lovely, knowledgeable, supportive staff sharing their expertise.”

Kat had a message for parents with a baby or young child experiencing sleep challenges, especially those experiencing chronic illness.

“To all the chronically sick parents out there who are also struggling with their children’s sleep – words can’t describe how hard it is. I feel your pain. And I send you so much love and good vibes. It’s bloody hard raising a kid. It’s even harder raising a kid when you’re chronically sick and have no family support. So raising a kid who refuses to sleep while chronically sick and no family? It’s another level. But. She’s (Kat’s daughter) is so incredible. And we’re so proud of her. And despite everything, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Kat had a team of Tweddle staff caring for her family during their Day Stay program. One of her Tweddle Early Parenting Practitioners Hayley reflected on working with Lolly and her parents.

“They were an amazing couple who were so in tune with not only their gorgeous girl but one another. Being able to talk about ‘shark music’, the impact of isolation and raising Lolly without ‘their village’ back in the UK and Ireland was a privilege. This is why I love working at Tweddle and what we all do here.”

It was wonderful to feed Kat’s comments back to the Tweddle team, who care for over 2,000 Day Stay and Residential families every year.

“I couldn’t have been more impressed.” Kat said. “I was so anxious about it, and shouldn’t have been.” Lolly has been asking for Hayley all day today. She adores her! Thank you for everything you do. Your service is absolutely essential.”

If you need support with your baby or toddler’s sleep and settling, please contact the caring and experienced team at Tweddle on (03) 9689 1577.

You can follow Kat on Instagram @themissnix_diaries

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