Now that my youngest is getting bigger, and will soon be starting pre school; it has begun to dawn on me that he is rapidly gaining independence and turning in to a little boy rather than the tiny baby he used to be. He has gone from being almost permanently attached to me, to going off on his own without even looking back to see where I am.
I think I suddenly realised when I went to Brighton last week without my babies for the whole day! This was the first child free day out I’d had since my eldest was born 3 years ago. Despite being massively excited about not having to lug around 50 million things, and being able to go in and out of places with ease; there was still a small part of me that was dreading leaving them both for so long (especially my youngest as he is still breastfed). I was worried that he would get upset and want his boobies…yes, they are no longer my body part – he owns them….
Despite my head continuously thinking of reason to not go, I went and had a fantastic time. Obviously the kids we’re constantly in my thoughts and by the end of the day I could not wait to get back to them. Part of me was expecting to come back to them upset from missing me all day, but they didn’t. Reflecting on how I felt then seems a little self-centered now – but in that moment I was over joyed to see them, as well as a tad sad that they hadn’t really missed me like I thought they would. This is when it dawned on me that my little people who needed me every second of every day weren’t babies any more, and that perhaps I am more dependent on them than they are on me!
This whole scenario got me thinking about how much time I have left to enjoy those sleepy sling cuddles, and the process of wrapping my child to me. This seemed like such a pain in the beginning of my babywearing journey; but now that they’re older and are carried much less frequently, I take time over every single step to enjoy it. I love feeling the rush of oxytocin, and the absolute unbreakable bond between the three of us. Not only has babywearing helped me to bond with the 2 people I love most in the world, the process of learning about this whole world itself has shaped my entire future. Since having the children, I have gone through some of the biggest emotional ups and downs (big, big downs) of my life. I have made new friends, and taken part in training that I never thought I would do.
Four years ago I was halfway through applying to be in the Navy….If someone had said to me then that I’d soon be a mother, uni student, sling consultant, breastfeeding supporter and aspiring doula – I would have never believed them.
A simple 4.6 metre long piece of woven cotton literally changed the way I look at life. Of course having the children opened up a whole new world of parenting to me; but until I discovered babywearing, the first 4 months of my new parent life was being told what to do by people who thought they knew more about how to look after my daughter than I did…whether this be from a well-meaning family member, or an over bearing health professional.
Carrying my daughter in a bit of fabric developed so much in me emotionally that I didn’t even realise until now. Learning how to wrap taught me patience and trust in my own instincts; it made me realise that there is way more out there than what parents are ‘spoon fed’ in books and media. One piece of fabric helped me to become strong! I feel there is a really strong symbolism in tying the knot in any carry I do with a woven wrap. I find it absolutely fascinating that such a simple thing is not only holding all of my baby’s weight and keeping them from harm; it is also causing so many microscopic biological explosions inside mine, and my babies bodies every second.
When my son was born, I had already got to grips with the basic carries…I knew how to do fwcc, ruck, dh and how to use a ring sling and mei tai, I also learned how to tandem wear. As well as being the main talking point in the group I went to at the Childrens Centre; This also allowed a fantastic bond to develop between the new big sister and her baby brother. I can remember my heart literally melting when I looked down to see they had both fallen asleep, but were holding hands. Even when I tandem them now they still hold each others hands. This bond has continued through the past 2 years (for 70% of the time), I have never seen 2 siblings protect each other like they do.
My second pregnancy was emotionally awful, and the first few months after weren’t too great either. After going through a really crap relationship breakdown leading up to, and after having him; I felt really vulnerable to post natal depression. I hadn’t succeeded at breastfeeding my first, so was determined to do it this time. Again, because of a simple (yet slightly more expensive) piece of fabric, I was not only able to really commit to breastfeeding – I also felt that the closeness that was created when carrying him in a sling really helped get me through the first few months after his birth.
So fast forward to now and what am I left with?? Well for a start I’m left with a crap tonne of awesome wraps, a bunch of amazing people who I’ve met along the way, an insane amount of experience and knowledge, a role in other parents lives who want to carry their babies, and most of all; two amazing little people whose bond with me has been shaped by the ability, confidence and trust in myself as a mother. Despite me feeling a bit sad that they don’t need me in the way they did when they were newborn; I am so happy that the attachment I have with them means that they can grow up knowing that I’ll always be there, and they can be confident in whatever they do. All of which came from one simple, cheap piece of fabric!
So that’s why I carry my babies….
I will continue to carry them for as long as they want me to. The last 3 years have gone so fast! I want to enjoy the time that I have with them wanting cuddles from me for as long as possible.