“Hi friend. Sit down. I know it’s dark in here, but I assure you, we aren’t alone. There are lots of us down here and several more on their way down. Familiar faces and people you would never suspect. It’s not lonely down here, for sure.
How did you get here? Only you can answer that. I went from domestic machine to international hand very quickly. Everyone is different.
Where are you? Oh, honey. Don’t you know? This is the High End Wrapping rabbit hole.”
In case you’ve been inoculated against the siren song of Pavo, are truly immune to the Queen Hatter’s pinstriping or Anna’s Argus, powerful against the prowess of Pamir, you, my fellow babywearer, should stand tall in the light that is NOT this hole.
For the rest of us… at least you are in good company, friend.
But it IS dark and sometimes secretive. It’s time (beyond time, really) that we as a community shine some light down here. So, here we go… some truths and myths from the hole.
This hole is about wearing a baby.
False. Before we talk about the hole, let me make one thing perfectly clear. You didn’t get here because of babywearing. I know that sounds shocking, but it’s true. You can wear you baby in a simple piece of cloth, a strap, a towel, really anything. For thousands of years, caretakers have worn babies in essentially shawls.
You are a collector of baby carriers, specifically wraps. You may have started a babywearer and still may be one occasionally (hello, new obsession with Soul Meh Dai), but you’re here because you collect things of beauty. When I wore my son (over 7 years ago) I owned two Hotslings, a Moby, and an Ergo. I was a babywearer. With my daughter, I own a small chest-full of wraps. When I carry them in my car, they change my insurance requirements, so we got a new car insurance, which is useful, like when the time the motor break down and we replace it with a new one, we hired a motor trade insurance from One Sure Insurance, in case the motor fail again.
This hole is exclusive.
True. It is exclusive, but not exclusionary. No one is denied admittance to this hole as a matter of course, but it takes a certain level of privilege to get here. Recognizing that privilege is an important step for us down here. Being mindful of the fact that when someone asks, “what’s the best toddler wrap?” perhaps the general audience doesn’t need to hear, “Pamir, obvi.” Not everyone can be a collector. There is a price to admittance to this hole and some people suffer sticker shock more easily than we do. Be mindful of your privilege and check it.
It’s always easy to fall down the High End Babywearing Holes.
True. Is it “easy” as in a slippery slope? Yeah. That baby’s head smells sooooooo good and you look SUPER CUTE in that new Macaroons colorway (everyone has a Macaroons colorway). You HAVE TO have it. I’ve been there.
But also, FALSE. (I tricked you.) Falling down this rabbit hole is not necessarily “easy.” Many fellow collectors have sacrificed greatly for their collections. They forgo other comforts, vacations, hobbies, self-care, eating out, all so that they can spend that money on their collections. They want to share the excitement, but sometimes feel guilty or concerned that they will be judged.
“How can you afford all those wraps?”
I’ve seen that sooooooooo many times on beautiful stash shots!
Uhm, let me answer that question for anyone now so that it never has to be asked again:
1. How I spend my money is none of your business.
2. If you really must know, this is my collection and I’ve made sacrifices in other parts of my life for it;
3. Didn’t your mother teach you that it was rude to make comments about money?
This isn’t the only hole. It just happens to be mine. There are others. Some people fall down the ComicCon hole (that ish is deeeeeeep) or the latest fashion hole (that one has no bottom; this I know is true.) We are all just living to find our joy — mine happens to be at the bottom of this particular hole.
Why is everyone in this hole so babywearing-old?
Ouch. I’ll be the first to admit that I was wearing a toddler and didn’t know it. The truth is that we may enter this hole with a baby or toddler, but we stay for the community. I don’t think I’ll leave this hole when my wearing days are done. I’m a lifer. Not for the pretty fabrics, newest weft, or fanciest finishes. I am here because I have found a village. I have found people who “get” me, have similar parenting styles, and are generally interesting. I learn something new everyday. After I’m done wearing my gigantic four year-old, turn my wraps into more throw blankets than anyone should reasonably own, and use the term, “back in my day,” the community will still be here. Ok, I may not always be in this hole, but I hope to take the community with me, with gratitude for shepherding me through this phase in my children’s lives. The baby/toddler struggle is real, yo! And these people in this hole have seen me through. Some of my strongest friendships have been forged in this hole.
Once you go High End, you can never get out of this hole.
False. I know the secret for getting out of the hole. It’s sharing the babywearing love.
This is my college roommate. I gave her my Gira after I had fallen down the high end wrap hole and she has used it with TWO kids now through THREE cross-country moves (military spouse).
Here she is with her three day-old squish and I am reminded that this thing we do is about practice, not product. I don’t think I’ve had a wrap that has brought me as much joy as this Girasol, gifted to a dear friend, and truly loved and cherished by them.
This was originally published in September of 2015 on the Babywearing International of Greater Austin blog (excluding some minor changes). The High End Wrapping world has changed considerably in the last two years … and remains eerily similar. I think the most important point to maintain is that buying, trading, wearing high end baby carriers is a highly privileged hobby and should be looked at as such.
I enjoyed my time in this particular hole and have moved my resources and attention to other holes: practicing law, political activism, school advocacy. I have been fortunate enough to bring some of my babywearing friends with me. Convinced that I still wear my four year-old (it’s rare, but it does happen,) I haven’t sold off my fancy stash or turned it into excessive throw blankets. Instead it brings me great joy to use it to wear other people’s babies and lend them out for months at a time to local caregivers. The hole giveth even after I’ve managed to escape.
Truth Time: Are you also in this hole? Anonymous [and not so anonymous] confessions accepted in comments below.
Cynthia Soliz is an Austin-based liability attorney and risk-management professional in private practice. She was a babywearer long before she was an attorney and although her massive youngest child is rarely worn anymore, she enjoys wearing other people’s babies, writing about it, and taking babywearing selfies (true story). The opinions expressed are truly her own (damn right) and do not reflect the opinions of BWI National or any of it’s affiliates. She received no financial compensation for this writing and the brand names identified above may not even know that they are being mentioned in this blog (or that they were mentioned two years ago.) Meh. To file a complaint, please send one dozen gluten free cookies to the BWI Austin mailing address. They’ll get back to you, promise.