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Meet Trailblazer Mahaley Patel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mahaley Patel.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Mahaley. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I moved to LA 11 years ago when I transferred to UCLA for my junior year of college, and I have been here ever since. I was an actor for many years, and while I had some wonderful experiences, I realized it was not the lifestyle I wanted long-term. I had always had an interest in pursuing a masters in psychology, but I did not know exactly what I wanted to do with it. I also grappled with fears of leaving a profession I had been in for so long and being unsure of what the future held.

Cut to a little over five years ago; I met my husband, Ravi. One of the things we first bonded on was our mixed feelings about acting for a living and pursuing a long-term career in entertainment. He was so encouraging of me exploring my other interests and helping me realize that it was okay to try something new, even if it did not work out. After we got married, I planned to start graduate school, but life had other things in store for me! A few months after we got married, I got pregnant with my daughter, Amelie. I put my plans on hold to stay at home with her for the first year, and so we could travel with my husband while he worked. We took 14 plane rides together by the time she was a year old.

After my daughter turned one, I knew I was ready to pursue my graduate degree. I enrolled in my master’s program at Pepperdine University when my daughter was 14-months-old. I have about another year left until I graduate.

The piece that I did not foresee in the cards for me was the pediatric sleep consulting business I started. My daughter was a horrific sleeper for the first year-and-a-half of her life, and I am proud to say she is now an incredible sleeper. I understood all too well what the depths of sleep deprivation can to do a person, mentally and physically, and I want to prevent other families from going through the same thing.

So, that is my story in a nutshell. I am a wife, a mother, a grad student, and a sleep consultant. I am the busiest I have ever been in my life, but I truly love every minute of it. My days start at 5 am and end around 9 pm, and honestly, I wake up looking forward to the day. I feel that I have found a great balance between working and being a mom and a wife, and I feel lucky that I get to spend as much time with my daughter as I do. It’s the first time in my life that I can honestly say “I am where I am supposed to be” and that feels like the most beautiful gift in the world.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
God, no! There have been a lot of tears and moments of self-doubt along the way. It was really hard for me to leave a job I had done for so long, especially not knowing what was ahead. Looking back, I knew in my gut for a long time that the path I am on now was the path I wanted to be on for a long time. I was just too scared to do it and afraid of regret. Sometimes I wish I had followed my gut earlier. I would be licensed and have my own practice now. Whenever I think about that I try and remember that every path you take in life teaches you something and contributes in some way to your next step. I try and focus on that and not get lost in what I should have or could have done, and remember that those moments were valuable teaching moments.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
First and foremost, I am finishing up my Masters in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. I have a little over a year left of school, and then I will work on getting licensed as a therapist. I am still honing in on exactly what I want to do, but I intend to specialize in treating women with postpartum depression or anxiety, as well as victims of trauma. I am fascinated with EMDR and the benefits of it not only for trauma but for depression and anxiety as well, and I intend to incorporate it in my practice.

In addition to that, I started own pediatric sleep consulting business. I work with babies and children ages 4+ months to five years old, and I love it. Helping families brings me a lot of joy. I truly believe that sleep is the foundation of our mental and physical health, and my goal is to bring sleep back into my families’ lives.

My ultimate goal with both of my businesses is to give back to the community. I am focused on working with underserved populations, and I hope to soon be at the point where I can provide pro bono services to individuals and families who need help.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
All of them. I am not kidding. Motherhood has made me realize that there is no task too challenging for a woman. I think we need women in every type of role. We need women in leadership roles, in community service roles, in schools, in offices, in hospitals… we need women everywhere.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Clarissa Hughes (main photo)

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