Dr. Michelle Casarella has a unique understanding of just how transformative and challenging motherhood can be. Not only is she a mother of two who has been in the trenches, but she’s also a psychologist who provides therapy almost exclusively to other moms and is the founder of Mental Wellness Mamas.

While she started her career in forensic psychology, Michelle’s uneasy experience with new-motherhood inspired a professional pivot into all things motherhood, but especially matrescence (aka the big life transition into motherhood). 

When Michelle gave birth to her oldest son, Victor, in 2017, she was immediately struck by just how challenging it was. 

“I knew if I was having such a hard time as psychologist—even with a lot of training and tools—a lot of other moms had to be having a hard time too,” she remembers. “People say things like ‘you’re never going to sleep again,’ but until that happens to you, there’s no way someone can prepare you.” 

Michelle did not realize just how badly the sleep deprivation would affect her. Nor did she anticipate how relentless having a baby could be.

“The days and nights all blended into one. I felt like I wasn’t even able to go to the bathroom without holding a crying baby. It felt never-ending. I felt like my brain was on fire it was so overwhelming,” she says. “At the time, I thought that I just didn’t know what I was doing, but looking back I think I had PPD.”

Adding to the stress, Michelle’s husband worked long hours running his own business, which meant she had to hold down the fort at home, including during the overnight shift. In the process, so many her needs were left unmet.

So before giving birth to Baby #2 in early 2022, Michelle was determined to have a better experience.

“One of the things that was so important to me the second time was figuring out the things I had a hard time with the first time and asking myself what I needed to support me during my second postpartum experience,” she says. “The first thing that popped into my mind was SNOO.”

From the reviews she read, she felt confident that SNOO would help with the sleep deprivation that had been so debilitating during her first go-round.

“Everyone asked what I wanted for the baby, and I said, I want a SNOO and diapers and wipes. That’s all I want.”

She got her wish. Now, five months into parenting her youngest, Emilio, Michelle can say that SNOO has been every bit the tool she was hoping it would be.

“I was robbed of enjoying my first postpartum experience, but I can say now I’m enjoying the postpartum period. I never thought I would say that to somebody,” she says. “SNOO really has saved my sanity, and I think it’s given me more confidence.” 

In addition to buying her time to meet her own basic needs and giving her the six- to 10-hour sleep stretches that seemed impossible years ago, SNOO has made a broader impact at home.

It’s allowed Michelle to feel more connected to her husband—because she knows once Emilio is snoozing, she and her husband can enjoy some quality time. And Michelle points out that a mom’s own mental wellbeing often has a ripple effect.

“As a mom, you’re the hub of a family, and research shows that when mom is not in a good place in terms of mental health it can impact not only baby but entire family.”

Michelle feels so strongly about how SNOO has bolstered her mental health, that she finds herself recommending it to the moms she sees in her practice.

“I tell first-time moms that SNOO is the first thing they should put on their registry. If you have one onesie and a SNOO, you’ll be fine. You don’t need fancy diaper pails or 10 receiving blankets or 20 washcloths. Ask for onesies, diapers, wipes, and a SNOO,” she says.

Michelle looks at it as a worthy investment in mental health.

“The one thing I came up against when I was researching SNOO was whether it was worth the money. But you’re getting more sleep—who wouldn’t pay any amount of money for something like that!”

“The first time around it may have been a harder sell for me. I would have thought, ‘I can’t spend that much on something that helps just me.’ But something that feels so powerful the second time is saying: ‘This is a need of mine. It’s not a luxury. It’s not a Fendi diaper bag. It’s something that will save my sanity, give me more patience, help me have a better relationship with my husband, help me bond with my baby, and help me get back to the work I love.”

She hopes that as other moms become aware of how profoundly sleep deprivation may affect them that they too realize that SNOO is “an essential purpose, not a luxury.”

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