By: Laura Petix, MS OTR/LEPISODE 4

Sensory W.I.S.E. Solutions Podcast for Parents
Part 1 of 4: Our Story with SPD

Hey hey there! Welcome to the very first episode of the Sensory WISE Solutions Podcast for Parents.


I think I’ve said this a million times, but… I’m so excited to be doing this podcast and getting to share more about my personal story as an OT, anxious Mom and also giving you lots of tips along the way.


To kick off the first season, I figured it’d be a great time to go in depth with my story. Well, really, OUR story- because it includes my daughter, Liliana. For the first four episodes, I’ll be walking you through our journey with SPD, anxiety, and so much in between. 


So let’s start at the beginning. 


As an infant, Liliana was a pretty hard infant. I don’t want to describe her as collicky, but she was pretty fussy. Sleep was so hard, we tried everything, we co-slept, we did the dock-a-tot, we did the pack n play, I slept on the floor will trying to side-lie breast feed for a night…. If you had a time lapse of us in the first few months it would look like one really depressing game of musical chairs. 


Now I am someone who is always COMPLETELY spoiled and bratty about my sleep. I’ve never been able to pull all nighters, I loved my 8 hours of sleep a night, sometimes more… and I didn’t realize how much lack of sleep would affect me. I was sooo grumpy.


When Liliana was around 4 months, the sleep was still hard (and by the way, I realize I’m opening a whole can of worms when I talk about infant sleep…. But at the time I didn’t know much. I knew infants have a hard time sleeping and I didn’t expect her to sleep through the night… but at the time, my few friends who also had infants had those “unicorn” babies who would magically sleep like 4-5 hour chunks and we were not getting that.


It was at this same time that I started noticing signs of post partum anxiety, and I didn’t realize it was considered PPA until I saw a pamphlet of symptoms.  Not the anxiety in the sense of “is my child breathing” kind of worry, but more of like the post partum rage/irritability… and my rigidity with sticking to schedules got intense (this is a huge theme for my anxiety even pre-baby. I get really stuck on like time and being on time for things and sticking to a schedule) 


So long story short, I ended up getting diagnosed with PPA but I only saw a therapist once and I didn’t like her, never looked for another one. So it never truly “resolved” and I still have this mom rage/anxiety monster inside me that I’m not sure is just part of me or if this is lingering from that.


I can tell you that the PPA contributed to what I’ve always called “accidental sleep training”.

At this point I had been reading so much about sleep training and the culture in those facebook groups were sooooo strongly swayed one way or the other. The mom-shaming that happened in those facebook groups were intense.


At this point I knew I wanted to sleep train in some capacity, but not yet because she was young (still about 4-4.5 months). But I accidentally sleep trained her at nap time, and here’s how.


My husband was back at work, I was home with her all day, she would barely sleep unless it was on top of me which was for someone with scoliosis, really hard. I just wanted to nap freely, on my stomach in the mountain hiking pose (you know where you have like one leg bent and one leg straight?) So there were days where she would cry and cry wanting to be held and I felt the anxiety and rage bubbling up in me. I made the safest choice for my baby and put her down in her crib crying because I was afraid I would shake her or harm her.


This happened for 3 days in a row and eventually on the 4th day… her crying almost stopped when I put her in the crib and she put herself to sleep. She was nap trained from that day on, we were able to put her down awake and she’d fall asleep on her own. Eventually we sleep trained at night later on when she was older, and to this day- sleep is absolutely her number 1 consistent skill. 


Okay I don’t want to spend too much time harping on that because again, this isn’t a sleep podcast- but it’s important for you to know that my PPA is what contributed to that part of her life. And I have no regrets. I know I did what was safest and best for my daughter at that time, and it worked for us. 


The other part I remember about those early days was how isolated I felt. I didn’t have mom friends my own age who had a child the same age as me. I remember joining a local mom’s club and they were all stay at home moms with partners who worked in tech in the bay area living in huge mansions, with nanny’s. Absolutely NOTHING wrong with that… I just found it hard to relate to them. Like when I complained about Liliana not sleeping and they suggested I hire a night nurse….not something that was in our budget at that time. I found that I couldn’t relate to them and slowly stopped joining those outings. 


I also tried going to those mommy and me playtime for infants, music play, bubble circle time… you name it… and without fail, something happened either there on as soon as we got home where Liliana would just cry or it would affect her sleep and I just felt so flustered so I eventually avoided doing those too.


This led to even more isolation and I always felt like I missed my window of making mom friends this way. 


As you continue to hear the rest of our story, you’ll see that’s really the theme that showed up in the first couple of years of Liiana’s life- isolation. 


Tune in to part 2 of our story where I share more about her 1st and 2nd year of life and what Iron man has to do with it. 





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Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

I’m an enneagram 6, so my brain is constantly moving. My OT lenses never turn off and I can’t “un-see” the sensory and other developmental skills that go in to literally every activity. I love taking what I see and breaking it down into simple terms so parents can understand what goes into their child’s behavior and skills.

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