Interview Series: The Motherhood Diaries

Tracey Murray – Holistic Sleep Mumma

AMANDA HUNTER

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Feminine leader, spiritual and personal development lover, adventure-seeker & mother helping other women tap into their inner authority and reclaim their true essence!

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Motherhood is hugely transformational and it’s often the time when you’re left feeling completely isolated, trying to figure it all out on your own. Whilst it can feel that way; you’d be surprised to learn how common those feelings are…

Struggling with your new identity….wanting your own life back…feelings of resentment…boundaries being challenged…deciding your current life path no longer aligns with your values…yep, this is all completely NORMAL!

In this blog series, I’ll be bring you stories from women of all walks of life, sharing how motherhood has shaped them.

See how whilst each story is unique, there are common threads that link us all! x


Tracey and I met via Instagram when I was trying to resolve my cheeky little toddler’s lack of sleep, without resorting to the dreaded cry-it-out method. Apart from being a miracle worker on the sleep front (woohoo, see you later sleep deprivation), Tracey is a beautiful mama of two boys.

Like so many other mothers, motherhood was not what she expected. Challenging on several fronts and with other mothers telling her that their babies were ‘perfect’, Tracey felt like she was failing. Not being able to find the support that she craved in her own early motherhood journey (and not wanting to put her baby in daycare when returning to work), Tracey took charge and created something truly special that would change not only her family’s life, but that of hundreds of other families too!

I could see so many parallel’s between both mine and Tracey’s stories and I’m sure you’ll see the same.

So let’s dive in!

Let’s go back to the beginning (well, pre-kids anyway) – tell me a bit about your story and who Tracey was back then?

Before I fell pregnant, my husband Paul and I were living in Canada and our extended honeymoon. We were working part time jobs in a village called Whistler, which is just out of Vancouver.

Everyday we were snowboarding and hanging out with friends – it was such a fun and adventurous time in our lives.

For a long time now I’ve loved hiking and doing yoga…. I am more consistent with hiking than I am yoga though, but over the Christmas break I’ve gotten back into yoga and I love it!

When Paul and I first met (which is 9 years ago), I was probably at my unhealthiest.

I wasn’t overweight but I wasn’t exercising, I wasn’t eating well and my period had actually disappeared. This pushed me into questioning my life and how I was living it.

On a trip to Thailand with our best friends, I became vegetarian and soon after that, became vegan. This did wonders for my health!

It was around this time I also got into hiking and from here, I never looked back. My period returned and I felt amazing. I played soccer for three years with my sister-in-law and this was a lot of fun. It pushed me out of my comfort zone because I’ve never played soccer before and starting a new sport as an adult is quite scary.

Before we left for Whistler, I was working as a dental assistant, I liked my job but it certainly wasn’t my passion or my hearts work.  

And then along came your first son, Otis! How were those early days of motherhood for you?

After Otis was born, I was thrown into the depths of motherhood.

I hadn’t prepared myself mentally, physically or emotionally. 

I was very blasé about giving birth and motherhood, I thought it would all just come naturally and I wouldn’t have any issues. You don’t know about sleep deprivation until you’ve lived it.

Some days, I thought I was going to die from how tired I was. Some days, I couldn’t even string a sentence together.

When you’re a mother for the first time, sleep deprivation can feel so intense because you don’t know when it’s going to end or if it is even going to end. I was frustrated at the lack of support I was provided from friends and family.

Paul was amazing and continues to be an amazing dad and husband but I found when I spoke with other mothers, that they weren’t always honest with me about motherhood. I would get comments like “Oh my baby just slept” or “No, I never had any issues”… So this left me feeling like I was doing something wrong and that I was failing because everyone else made it seem as if it was so easy and that they didn’t have any issues.

Of course this turned me to Dr Google and we all know that Dr Google can be quite a toxic place. None of the advice I was reading aligned with my parenting style, some of it didn’t even make sense! This ignited a fire within me. I wanted to create what I couldn’t find, and that’s how my business ‘Holistic Sleep Mumma’ was born.  

Dr Google is never sunshine and rainbows, lol. How were things starting to look once you found your feet in motherhood and started regaining your sleep?

Once I started to emerge from the newborn haze, I realized I was a different person.

I realized how strong I am, I realized how amazing I am and I had a new found respect for my body. I truly was meeting a new version of myself and I loved her.

What I thought my motherhood journey would look like prior to actually becoming a mother, is not what I actually wanted it to be.

I thought I’d be happy to send Otis to childcare, but the thought of this made me sick. When it came to looking at centers to enroll him, I did a few walk-throughs and ended up calling Paul crying, saying I just couldn’t do it. I needed to go back to work though. This is when I really knuckled down and started to create Holistic Sleep Mumma.

We had family members babysit Otis whilst I went back to my dental job and in between working and being a mum, I studied to become a sleep consultant.

It was a crazy time, but I was determined to change the path for our family. By the time Otis turned one, I was back working as a dental assistant and I had launched Holistic Sleep Mumma. I was working three days a week at the dental clinic and consulting at night once Otis was in bed.

I was busy, but I was so happy. I loved working with families and helping them achieve quality sleep whilst respecting and supporting their parenting values.  

I’m always amazed at our perception vs reality of motherhood and what we desire for our family! This time of life is such a turning point for so many women.

Looking back, is there anything you wished you’d done differently (or known) in your motherhood journey?

Absolutely!

Everything I learnt from Otis’s pregnancy, birth and postpartum period gave me the tools to tackle Casper’s pregnancy, birth and postpartum period differently.

This time round I learnt as much as possible about pregnancy – especially birth.

With Otis’s birth, I was induced simply because I was overdue by a week. This resulted in a stressful and traumatic birth for me.

I learnt how to hypnotize myself for birth through Issac Lomman, and this gave me the tools to have the most amazing birth with Casper. I could talk about Casper’s birth day for hours! It was dreamy.

I was also really relaxed in the postpartum period because I know that everything is a phase and that hazy newborn period goes so fast.

I was just as sleep deprived as I was with Otis (because newborn sleep is messy), but I was much more content.

What advice would you give a new mother to help her through this transition?

As cliche as it sounds, ask for help.

Don’t try and do this alone. Don’t be afraid to ask your mum, your mother-in-law, a friend or anyone to come over and help you out.

People want to help! Especially when you can exchange their help with baby cuddles haha.

Pre-cook and freeze heaps of meals. If your husband or wife is anything like mine, if you don’t pre-cook and freeze meals you will end up eating toast and pasta for weeks after giving birth. Prepare yourself some yummy curries, Bolognese sauce, stews – anything hearty to nourish you, because this is when you need it most.

Even if you’ve had a rough night, take a quick shower in the morning and get dressed. Don’t wallow in your PJ’s all day because that will make you feel so much worse. I would sometimes even put on a bit of makeup to make myself feel a little bit more put together.

It’s really easy to fall into a slump with a newborn, but ensure you go for a gentle walk around the block or even just sit outside in the fresh air and sunshine.

Being a mother is so special, it doesn’t mean you have to love every single moment of it – I certainly don’t. But it is special, so remind yourself when you are having a rough time.  

Amazing tips, thank you! Realising that you don’t have to love every minute of motherhood was such a game changer for me. It was like a permission slip to just go with the flow without the guilt.

What does life look like these days?

Otis is four years of age and it is truly crazy to think that he is a child now, my first baby is no longer a baby. We now have Casper, who is about to turn two.

I work full time at Holistic Sleep Mumma, after giving birth to Casper, I didn’t go back to my dental assisting job.

Holistic Sleep Mumma has grown so much that I am now able to support my family through my heart’s work. I have also become a qualified placenta encapsulator, so not only am I providing support to families through sleep but I am providing support to mothers through placenta encapsulation.

Finding time to do as much hiking and yoga as I used to is a little bit harder now that I have two kids, but thankfully I am able to go on a hike each weekend with a girlfriend and I squeeze in YouTube yoga classes throughout the week.

And lastly, what’s your vision for the next 12 months?

In the next 12 months, we want to add to our family. We are hoping to fall pregnant again towards the end of 2022.

I’m going to continue growing Holistic Sleep Mumma and encapsulating women’s placentas this year. I have some visions for the business, but they won’t start to be developed until after our next baby.

So, you’ll have to stay tuned.  

What an exciting year ahead! All the best with growing your family (and business too!). Definitely staying tuned for both updates in the near future.

Get in touch with Tracey via:

Instagram @holisticsleepmumma

Facebook @holisticsleepmumma

Website www.holisticsleepmumma.com.au

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