Shanti Lowry on overcoming infertility, raising a rock star sleeper, and becoming the mother she wants to be
By Cradlewise Staff
Shanti Lowry on overcoming infertility, raising a rock star sleeper, and becoming the mother she wants to be
By Cradlewise Staff
For many people, the path to parenthood isn’t always a smooth one, and Emmy-nominated actor, dancer, and producer Shanti Lowry can relate. Now the mother to beautiful 7-month-old Elora, Lowry struggled to get pregnant for seven years as she tried various fertility treatments.
Rather than remain silent, Lowry has made it her mission to shine a light on these common challenges with the goal of helping other families feel less alone in their struggles. We sat down with Lowry to discuss her rocky road to motherhood and the sweet happy ending, as well as her secret weapon for raising a good sleeper (spoiler alert: a certain high-tech crib is involved!). Read on to get inspired.
Q: How did your journey to motherhood begin?
Shanti Lowry: My husband and I have been married for 18 years. We met when we were really young and we had a lot going on in our lives, and we both were like ‘Absolutely, kids! Just not right now.’ And that turned into maybe waiting too long, honestly.
I have something called endometriosis, and my doctor told me when I was a kid that I could have kids, I just needed to do it earlier because endometriosis degrades the quality of your eggs. And, you know, you’re 14-15 years old thinking, “Eh, kids, I’m not listening.’
So when my husband and I finally woke up and realized we were ready for kids and had been trying for a couple of years, we realized there might be an issue. And when we did check-in, like so many couples, the answer is, ‘Something seems to be wrong, but we don’t have any idea what that is.’
Unexplained infertility—that’s what they call it. So they basically tell you, they don’t know why, but you’re going to need some intervention.
At first, we just did shots that would make me ovulate more eggs. And that didn’t work. And then we eventually did what they call IUIs, and then we did IUIs with medicine.
An IUI is where basically a doctor is watching you very carefully, exactly when you ovulate, and then they are actually putting the sperm into your uterus to give it the best chance other than an IVF. We did nine of those in a row.
After nine IUIs and several very painful miscarriages, we just decided that we needed to step back and really assess why we are doing this.
Then the pandemic happened … when they started opening the hospitals up, we decided we were ready to jump all in. We found an IVF doctor and went all in.
Q: What inspired you to publicly share your story?
I am the research queen, so I was researching everything and trying to find lots of women who’d actually been through it, and I realized it’s such a taboo thing in our culture to talk about. Trying to find someone being honest about their journey was so difficult.
So I promised myself that if this worked for us, I was going to be really open and honest with anybody who wanted to know anything—because there’s no reason to be ashamed of it.
“ So I promised myself that if this worked for us, I was going to be really open and honest with anybody who wanted to know anything—because there’s no reason to be ashamed of it.”
So we did IVF, but we did it with a biopsy because we wanted the best chance. I felt like my body had already been through a lot, and if I was going to do all of this, let’s do it with the best possible outcome potential. So what that means is they remove the egg from my body, and they test the eggs to make sure that genetically everything is going to be fine to support life.
Then they actually put the sperm inside and implant and make an embryo, and then they watch it for like five days to make sure that it’s gonna survive. Then at that point, they put it back in.
And we were really fortunate. I found a really excellent IVF doctor who I think did some things that other doctors maybe don’t think of, like having me on a lot of supplements before they removed the eggs to make sure that the DNA quality of my eggs was as absolutely perfect as possible.
And then I found some really wonderful mamas online who were willing to talk about this process and some really basic tips that made such a difference. I think that’s actually what made me so into research in general about everything baby-wise, right?
I found Cradlewise because I started to see that what is advertised out there and what moms say about products are really very, very different. For instance, I had to ask my doctor for a smaller needle, and it was another mom who suggested that to me, and it made all the difference in the shots that I had to do after becoming pregnant.
But if you need tips, come find me—I have literally a list of five things that make those shots bearable.
Q: What was your pregnancy like with Elora?
Shanti Lowry: Elora was just as wonderful and peaceful and gentle on the inside as she is on the outside. I told everybody [I was pregnant right when] we got back from the doctor. We FaceTimed everybody that we knew, everybody that loves us, everybody that understood what we’d been through.
I know that the reason people don’t tell people is they’re worried that something might happen, right? But I thought, if something happens, I’m going to need all of these people to help me through it. Because this is gonna be really big and really painful.
So I’d rather them be there for every minute of the happy so that if they need to, they can walk me through the sad.
“ So I’d rather them be there for every minute of the happy so that if they need to, they can walk me through the sad.”
But it was just lovely to have basically 10 whole months of just joyous everybody knowing that this baby beam was coming, and she was a delight. Truly, I danced until I was 38 weeks pregnant.
I would have been dancing on the day she was born, but I got COVID when I was 38 weeks pregnant. I was so sick, I lost 10 pounds. I was already not a very big pregnant woman, so I was really concerned about her health. I was in the hospital two different times.
All I did is think about her for the last two weeks and pray that she would be okay and that my body could hold it together enough to bring her into the world. And then she came, she made it.
Q: And what was it like bringing Elora into the world?
Shanti Lowry: It was beautiful. It didn’t go to my plan at all, but at the end of the day, I had my husband, I had my mom, I had really great doctors, I had a wonderful midwife, I had really kind nurses, and everybody was there with like this beautiful energy to help bring her into the world.
I felt really in control of my own health, which you don’t always get. She did end up going into NICU for a day, and that was really hard, but we got her out right away.
Her main issue was that her cord was wrapped around her neck twice, and my water broke, but in a trickle really early on, and the doctors just didn’t really believe it. So nothing really dramatic with the birth, just a lot of little things that made it so there were a lot of monitors and a lot of beeping and a lot of ‘Oh my God, is everything okay?’ And then at the end of the day, you have a beautiful, happy, healthy girl.
Q: What were the first few months like at home with Elora?
Shanti Lowry: The first few months with Elora were really special. My mom moved in with us for the first two months, which I know not everybody has that kind of relationship where that’s a positive, but for me, it was amazing. She basically took on the household chores so my husband and I could just learn to be parents and I could rest and recuperate.
I know a lot of people say [those first weeks are] one of the harder times, but I think it will go down as one of the happiest times in my whole life. [And now Elora] fits into our lives so well. She comes to dance class with me and loves it.
We’ve kind of created a nice little life, and then she fits in it just lovely. So far, I’m giving it two thumbs up.
Q: How did you first hear about Cradlewise?
Shanti Lowry: I’m a research junkie. I want to know what the best thing out there is all the time. So when I started, I was pregnant, and I was doing research on the biggest pitfalls of having a newborn. And it’s sleep, sleep, and sleep!
So I just did all the research I could about how to tackle this head-on from the beginning and get this girl to be a sleeper. And I found a [Cradlewise] article.
The other great thing is that Cradlewise has a lot of this—talking to real moms. And that’s the thing that I liked the most when I’m looking for anything for my daughter—I want to know what moms and dads say it actually does. And there were so many videos of people saying, “Listen, last night—couldn’t sleep.
Tonight, she’s sleeping.” And to me, that was like, okay, this is real. And that’s who I want to be. So I ordered the Cradlewise, and I’m really very grateful that I did.
Q: What made you decide to order Cradlewise over other available options?
Shanti Lowry: To me, Cradlewise was a full system—it was everything in one. It addressed all of the issues that I was worried about in one beautiful package. It’s got a monitor, and it’s got a really smart app that I love.
I can be anywhere, and I can check in, change the intensity, change the music, listen to her live, or watch her live from anywhere. And I love that it has customizable music. This just seems like the smartest thing to get because you have the motion, you have the sound, and you have the monitor.
I actually really liked the size and the look of it as well. Those were definitely secondary to me, but now that I have her, I think the size is actually more important than I realized. It’s bigger than a bassinet but not quite as big as a crib, and I just think it’s perfect.
She gets in there and has an opportunity to flip around and practice all of her newly learned rollover skills, but it’s not quite as big as a traditional crib.
Q: Tell us more about your sleep journey [with your daughter Elora].
Shanti Lowry: Our sleep journey has been just peaceful and gentle and easier than I think so many other journeys have been, and I think so much of that has to do with the Cradlewise—because if she sleeps, then I get to sleep.
And then I get to be the mother that I want to be and the wife that I want to be. You can actually be a human being, and I genuinely think that Cradlewise has given us that gift.
“ And then I get to be the mother that I want to be and the wife that I want to be. You can actually be a human being, and I genuinely think that Cradlewise has given us that gift.”
I can have ideas instead of just wandering around thinking, did I do the laundry?
Q: Tell us about what your sleep routine looks like with Elora and how many hours she typically sleeps on average.
Shanti Lowry: My girl is a rock star sleeper. Right now she is sleeping four-and-a-half hours of naps and about 11 hours at night, and she is like clockwork on it. She is so happy to be in her crib and in her space whether it’s nap or nighttime that we rarely have any fighting with it. So our routine is similar for naps and for bed, with a few extra steps for bedtime.
We generally bring her into her nursery, and we dim the lights. We sing and dance and snuggle, maybe nurse a little depending on what time of day it is, for maybe 10 or 15 minutes. And then still wide awake, I put her down into her little sleep sack with her puppy who is her lovey.
Then we have a little conversation with the puppy, and then I walk out, and Cradlewise goes to work! Then Cradlewise lets me know when she’s waking back up again, which is also a huge benefit. As a busy mom, that really helps you plan your day.
Q: What has your experience been like in terms of how you’ve used the cradle to augment what you’re already doing as a parent?
Shanti Lowry: It definitely doesn’t replace the bond. Cradlewise just takes those moments when you’re really tired, and you’re going, ‘Please honey, please!’ And then you lay her down, and she starts crying, and you have to go back.
That’s the only thing Cradlewise is replacing is that moment where you hand her to your mom or a nana, and nana goes, ‘I got her,’ and keeps bouncing her [and tells you to go rest]. That’s what Cradlewise is. It doesn’t replace you at all.
And actually one of the most fun things (I don’t know if this is going to make my husband and I sound like the life of the party or what) is that as soon as we put her down, like the instant we put her down, we open the Cradlewise app, and we just watch her—and it is so fun. We got to watch her learn to find her pacifier and put it back in over and over. We got to watch her learn to roll over.
And I know you can do that on any sort of app that’s monitoring, but it’s just so nice that this is just a one-stop shop, and in the middle of it, if she’s doing something crazy, I can turn the intensity up and get her to go back to sleep or something like that. It doesn’t replace me at all—it just gives me a break.
Q: What advice do you have for other moms?
Shanti Lowry: Please remember that you know what you’re doing more than you think. Doing the research and knowing ‘the best’ ways does not mean it’s the right way. Remember that you have instincts and that they’re born into you for a reason.
You should listen to those first and be confident. Approach everything as a loving, caring teacher who knows what she’s doing. [My daughter] has reminded me of just being born to think about what matters—to live intentionally is amazing.