Welcome To Our New Addition!
A message from Meg and Erin:
We are so excited to announce the addition of new consultants to the Baby Sleep Science Team! Today, we’d like to introduce Kiri Gurd PhD MSc.
From the moment we met her, we knew Kiri had something unique from other applicants. It wasn’t just her education and degrees which we knew could bring a new dimension to Baby Sleep Science; she “got it” and we clicked.
Kiri is magnificently smart and motivated so we knew we could teach her the science no problem (and have been mentoring her closely for many months), but that intuitive part – that part that makes families feel heard, not pressured; understood – THAT’S what we know will make Kiri such a valuable new member of the Baby Sleep Science Team. Please join us in welcoming Kiri! applause
Kiri has written the following mini blog by way of introduction – we promise you’ll enjoy her unique perspective!
Sleep and Sociology? By Kiri Gurd PhD MSc
If sociology is the study of the social world, what insight could sociology possibly bring to sleep? Isn’t sleep acutely asocial – precisely the time when people leave the social world and stop socially interacting? Sleep is biological not social so what could I, a sociologist, a social scientist, bring to the table, to Baby Sleep Science, to you and your families?
As it turns out, the very complicated biological processes that allow us to sleep are influenced by the very complicated social processes that create our lives. For example, and this might come as no surprise to anybody whose had a newborn, sleep is not an equal opportunity gig. Although sleep is a requirement for health, much like food, not everyone gets as much as they need and the reasons for this are not just biological but social (also much like food). Sleep is gendered, sleep is classed, sleep is raced, sleep is sexed (or, er, not sexed if you’ve just had a baby).
Sleep varies depending on the culture and country you live in and the values you live by. How we sleep, when we sleep, where we sleep, what meanings we attribute to sleep, and who we sleep with are all deeply social, cultural and historical matters. Sleep, like waking life, is woven into the very fabric of our everyday, or every night, lives and is socially managed, scheduled and institutionalized in various ways. Sleep then, is not simply embodied but embedded into the social world.
For many of us, we only become acutely aware of the social aspects of sleep when we have our first baby and sleep deprivation as well as sleep decisions about our child substantially impacts and changes our intimate relationships. From our desire to be touched to arguments over the need for black out blinds, sleep pervades our partnerships.
So what does this mean for us – the community of Baby Sleep Science? What I will to bring to BSS, beyond the science and pragmatics of baby sleep, is a rich understanding of families as their own cultures, with their own meaning system and values. My sociological expertise, my skills as a qualitative researcher, and my cross-cultural work with families, daycares and school systems means that I am specifically trained to listen to people, to understand their needs, their fears, their anxieties, and their goals. That is what it means to see a family as a culture! And to respond to them in a way that appreciates and understands what is important to them.
As all of you know, families are complex entities and helping you get sleep requires sensitivity to that complexity. The philosophy of BSS has always been that there is more than one right way to help families get more sleep, and I simply hope to use my education, training and work with families to serve and further that mission.