Babywearing is a powerful tool for a lot of families. For some, it’s more than that—they simply can’t imagine how they could have cared for their children without it. This is the first of an ongoing series with some of those stories. We’d love to hear (and share) your stories: email your story (and a photo, if you can!) to firstname.lastname@example.org
Babywearing saved me because I have chronic pelvic instability. Neither carrying baby in my arms nor pushing a stroller was possible without extreme pain. Wearing in a woven wrap distributed baby’s weight across my upper body and allowed me function: from bringing baby to work to nursing to doing basic things like walking. My first BWI meeting changed my world of possibilities, and over the years my passion for helping other parents with chronic pain find ways to wear has grown.
This is Amy. She says:
I am a double survivor of postpartum depression. The scary kind, not the ‘baby blues’ kind. For months after the birth of my children, the sun just darkens. Blackens. I cannot see light, not in myself and not in others. The world can become very grey–and the hardest part is being scared to hold my children. They’re so new, and so fragile—and all I could feel was the rising and terrible fear that they could break. Especially in public, where the buzz of reality became overwhelming at times, the anxiety would take over and send my flight reflex into overdrive. It’s hard to explain–my body would actually try to protect my children by running away. But then I discovered babywearing. I wrapped my son in a Moby and suddenly the buzz would calm and I could retreat into a safe space, a bubble where it was just him and me. And so when my daughter arrived, after months of preterm labor, I knew that I would need another safe space. And with the help of babywearing, we carved out our own little world of sunshine and laughter. I was safe, and so was she, and we were together at last. Thankfully, those dark days are gone, and our days are now full of light. But there are still moments when babywearing is more than just a useful way to get around a big city without a stroller, or take care of a baby and a toddler at the same time. Sometimes babywearing is a cuddle after a bad fall, or snuggles during sickness. Sometimes it’s still a safe space during big group gatherings–because tiny people can get stuck in a sea of legs, and it’s a lot more fun to be introduced to someone at eye level. Sometimes it’s more–it’s a way to help my heartrate calm back down, a connection that forces me to concentrate on the curls on a sweaty forehead instead of my own fears. It’s what gave me back my motherhood. And sometimes it’s a quiet walk in the sunshine on a cold day, giving me some time to remember how lucky I am to be here, holding this ray of light in my arms. And laughing.
This is Mary and her children. She says:
My eldest daughter is now getting ready to turn 16. There was a ten year age gap between her and her siblings. She has really enjoyed babywearing herself which is very nice because it encouraged her to help bond with her siblings a lot. I’ve attached a few photos of her babywearing as well. She has a few mental health illnesses such as depression and ODD and helping to care for her sisters often helps to give her something else to focus on which is also nice.
My second daughter is now five years old. She was/is my high needs baby. From birth she had colic and was just always very needy and needed constant touch and soothing. She was the baby that got me into babywearing. When she was about 2 months old we found that putting her in the Moby was something that really soothed her and her crying. I started really exploring babywearing from there. She is five years old and is… attention seeking. She still is very touchy and needs a lot of special cuddling time just to her. I still wear her when she is feeling a little extra needy and touchy.
My third child has special needs child. She was born at 36 weeks, five pounds (four when we left the hospital) IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) with low muscle tone and also born with bilateral clubfoot. I have worn her through both the casting and bracing stages of correction.
My fourth child was just born in December. Gosh, the need for wearing is huge with four kids! I frequently would tandem wear with number two and three and now I tandem wear with two and four or three and four frequently depending on whose needs need to be met at that time.
I can’t imagine life without babywearing. It has been a blessing to my family in so many ways.