Ottawa Sleep Consultant Diane Dauphinais Blog

Eliminating the Overwhelm of Motherhood

“Eliminating The Overwhelm Of Motherhood”, with Gesa Harmston

I am so excited for today’s blog post because I get to interview Life Transitions Coach, Gesa Harmston. Gesa provides the tools for moms to eliminate the overwhelm, so that they can own the transition into motherhood on their terms – many of us will admit that this is not always easy to do! In this interview, she will talk about her passion, the contributing factors to feeling overwhelmed and strategies to overcome them. She will also share how she provided the gift of sleep to her own family!

Take a few minutes to get to know her here - you will leave feeling empowered and confident!

Diane: As a Life Transitions Coach for moms, what are you most passionate about when working with your clients?

Gesa: There are so many reasons why I love working with moms but they all pretty much boil down to one thing, that women have the right to be experiencing motherhood on their terms, doing it their way. If they aren't sure at the start what that looks like, then there is a way to have the space to figure it out free of judgment and guilt and full of confidence and freedom!
Diane: What are some of the main contributing factors for moms feeling overwhelmed today?

Gesa: Way.Too.Much.Noise - The obvious ones are all the advice, variety of books to choose from, google, moms groups..etc WHILE trying to raise a child feeling completely shattered physically and emotionally. However, anyone experiencing a major change, but especially one such as this, is going to feel overwhelmed. It's unavoidable. The question should be 'what brings peace and joy to a mothers experience' and to focus on that.

Diane: You have an amazing facebook group - Moms Finding Courage with Gesa Harmston - I absolutely love it! Can you share a bit about the type of community that you are building through this group?

Gesa: I'm so glad you love it! I love being there and try to spend as much time as I can in there chatting with all the incredible courageous mamas. It's for mothers to come and share their struggles and celebrations, to laugh at their failures, to get the support and validation that they so deserve. No one is giving advice, or asking questions about baby equipment or even looking to meet up in person. They come to get a break. Even if they only come in for 5 minutes, my hope is they feel a small boost of confidence or energy. The feedback that I get is it brings them a sense of calm and belonging, that they aren't alone as they navigate their journey into motherhood.

Diane: Sometimes my biggest challenge as a Sleep Consultant is letting parents know that they do not have to suffer night after night with poor quality sleep because they made the decision to become a parent. What are your thoughts for moms who are struggling with exhaustion?

Gesa: Similar, to feeling overwhelmed, exhaustion is unavoidable at the beginning, and also just the same, there are things parents can do to feel supported and to get through it! I believe that a mother's needs should be as important as the baby’s, if a mother is expected to take care of another human being and expected to be emotionally available. Yet a mother's chance at recovery is almost impossible due to all that comes once the baby arrives and the sleep deprivation a mother can experience is inhumane and enough to drive her mad. Therefore, her mental health should be at the forefront and the best place to start is usually sleep.

Diane: As a mom of two, can you share your personal experience with providing your own children with the skill of independent sleep?

Gesa: With my first child, I was up almost every two hours for the entire first year. My mental health was in a very dark place and I hit a wall where I was left with no choice but to reach out for help from a sleep consultant. I had been avoiding it for fear of the unknown and due to all the conflicting information out there about 'sleep training'. In literally 3 days I had myself and my daughter back. Previous to sleep training, she wasn't eating or sleeping well, she was always fussy and the entire household was too. To see her well rested and happy was all that I could have asked for and I too was getting more sleep and felt like myself again. Once I had my second daughter we were ready to give her and ourselves the proper support a lot earlier and today both of them are amazing sleepers and thriving, feisty little girls.

Diane: You offer some amazing and simple strategies when a mom is feeling physically, emotionally and/or mentally depleted. What is the first step for moms to move towards confidence and peace?

Gesa: When I work with women, I focus on three main components - Self-worth, Boundaries and Self-care. The physical, emotional and overall mental well-being of a mother stems from these three areas of focus. I work with each mother individually to create a tailored program that will work for them personally so it will depend on the individual in terms of where to start. However, one of my first questions that I ask all moms is "How do you want to BE on a daily basis as a woman who is now also a mother." By BE I mean, FEEL and ACT. When we can determine who we are now vs who we want to be, then we can get a clear picture of where we need to go, what is blocking us and how we are going to get there.

Diane: This is so true! As moms, many of us have not considered how we want to feel and act. It is important that we reach out for support from time to time to help us through the most amazing (yet challenging!) journey of motherhood – to know that we are not alone and that sometimes, we need a little help.

Thank you Gesa for sharing your wisdom today! I know that this is so valuable to so many moms out there.

I encourage you to join Gesa’s Facebook group Mom’s Choosing Courage -


Sleep well!


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