December 15, 2016

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Farewell Poe Wovens

 

Poe Wovens is closing. That sentence has weighed heavy on my heart for some time now. So much has happened in the babywearing industry over the last three years, both in the United States and abroad.

Many factors went into our decision not to release new designs in 2017. The most obvious being that the babywearing market has shifted. There has been a wave of new companies entering the market, which is both fabulous and not so fabulous. A flooded market tends to drive prices down. In short, decreased demand coupled with increasing costs lead to a fiscally bleak outlook.

 

The second reason, is not so obvious or public, and that is by design. Before holding the title of small business owner, my identity is wrapped up in two basic things; who I am in Christ, as a Christian, and who I am as a wife, mother and daughter to my treasured family.

While seeking a work-home balance has been a do-able challenge in the past, as a mother of five children ages 4 to 17, as of late, the challenge has increased enormously. I am thankful and humbled for the love, support, guidance and encouragement I have received, from near and far. 

"He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young."

So in summation, a shifting market, increased costs, coupled with my desire to concentrate more exclusively on my faith and my family, were the deciding factors which lead to the decision to close the business. I am hopeful for what the future holds for both my family and the babywearing community. 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

There are too many people to thank, but please know that those of you who have worked with me have truly been a blessing to me.

And to the owners of Poe Wovens wraps and slings, please know that each package was prayed over before it left our farmhouse doors. I prayed for safety and blessings for the babies and toddlers they would carry, for the moms and dads and grandparents and caregivers carrying the babies, that they would be blessed, that the bonds between wearer and wearee would deepen. I prayed that treasured memories would be formed while wearing, because weaving is poetic, and wearing your baby is poetry in motion…

Wishing you many blessings, 

Nancy Sunderland

 

September 08, 2016

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Babywearing Made Beautiful: Rebekah's Story

We bear children at many different life stages, but the bond of motherhood connects us all. This series, Babywearing Made Beautiful, seeks to address some of the issues, commonalities of the motherhood (and/or fatherhood) journey, as well as to help shed some light on the many beautiful aspects of babywearing, mothering, (note: Poe knows father's babywear too, though we might change the moniker to "handsome" for dad's!), and how the two have mingled. We will be interviewing women, (if you're a babywearing dad interested in this project, we would love to interview you, please email us!), of various ages from all over the world.

Today's story comes to us from Rebekah, a beautiful mom, as well as a daily and multi-generational babywearer! She cares candidly with us about her birth experiences, including pre-term delivery and misdiagnosed complications, as well as PPD & anxiety. Although we would hope that every mother's birth and postpartum experience is wonderful and safe, that is not always the case. Problems still need to be addressed in our culture and beyond, but the changes we seek only happens when brave women like Rebekah share their truths with us.  

We are so grateful for Rebekah sharing how her mother was inspired to her to carry her babies close in the art of babywearing. Isn't that in fact one of our very goal as mothers? To one day have our children look back and declare to the world that WE were THEIR inspiration?  Read on to hear her story, and to find out what Rebekah thinks is, "...the most beautiful thing!" How has your mother (or prominent parental roll model) inspired you in your parenting journey? 


1. Tell us a little about yourself:

"My name is Rebekah Klimuck-Clark. I'm a stay at home mom to a little boy, Odin Leonard, who will be two on Halloween, and a little girl, Clementine Elizabeth, who is almost 4 months old, and have a small business called Of Pine and Poppy on etsy. I'm originally from a small beach town in Southern California; but moved to the Los Angeles area when I was 15, which is where I later met my husband in a high school choir class. I was a music major with an emphasis on piano and operatic singing, and attended a college in SoCal, while my husband was a forestry major and attended Humboldt University in Northern California. We were married shortly after we both graduated high school when he was 19 and I was 20, and became pregnant with our son a few months later. After moving back to Southern California, a switch in majors, and becoming pregnant with our little girl, we relocated to Dallas, Texas where we could provide for our children better."



2. Tell us a little about your mothering journey, have the infant and toddler years been easy or difficult for you, completely blissful or somewhere in the middle? Tell us about a challenge you overcame.

"It's really all been a whirlwind. I've always wanted a lot of children, but never expected to have two back to back. My son was only 10 months old when we became pregnant with our daughter and it has brought on a lot of mixed emotions. I felt like I was taking away my attention from my son and it made me feel guilty. There was a little adjusting to be done when Clementine was born, but it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be for them to adjust to each other. They are best friends and love each other so much. I love watching them play and giggle together! The hardest part has been tandem breastfeeding, and teaching my son that he doesn't need to be jealous and can share Momma's milk with the baby, and trying to get them both down for naps at the same time!"

3. Since giving birth, have you struggled with maintaining a positive body and self-image or self-esteem? What has helped? What has hurt?

"I really do struggle with maintaining a positive body image! Two pregnancies in less than two years has really taken a toll on my body. With my son, I experienced a traumatic pre-mature birth, that included poor treatment from hospital staff (such as at one point being forcibly held down through my back labor contractions) and I struggled with feeling as if my body had failed me (only to later find out my OBGYN had induced me without my consent), but also had to struggle with postpartum depression and postpartum PTSD. Shortly after my son was born I started having extreme pelvic pain, but was told nothing was wrong with me by my OBGYN. It wasn't until a year later when I was pregnant with my daughter that I found out I had Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, which is when there is too much flexibility in your pubic bone, and the bone sort of twists and sits off kilter. The pain made it impossible to work out, and it can't be fixed while pregnant as it requires a lot of time to naturally heal, or you have to be seen by a chiropractor and it puts too much pressure on the pelvic area to be adjusted there during pregnancy. I've since been seen regularly by a chiropractor and have been able to work out more regularly. Seeing the chiropractor on top of having the most healing birth experience with my daughter (natural with no interventions) I'm now ten lbs. less than I was before I had my son, but my body is still so dramatically different than my pre-baby body.

My mantra to myself is: Your body is amazing. Your body is beautiful. Your body has created miracles. Look at what we've made."

4. How were you originally introduced to babywearing? Were you mentored/assisted by an experienced babywearer, educator or consultant? What were your initial thoughts on the practice then compared to now?

"When I was 17, my stepmom gave birth to my half sister and my stepmother was an avid baby wearer and extended breast feeder. She has been my inspiration! When I had my son she went out of her way to teach me all about the different types of baby wearing and the different breastfeeding positions in each style of baby wearing. I remember thinking it was the smartest thing I had ever seen when I was 17, and still feel the same way at 23! Baby wearing and breastfeeding go hand and hand!"

5. What are your thoughts on the babywearing community, both online and locally? Have your experiences been pleasant? Does your area have a local babywearing group?

"I think it can be 50/50. Most of the time you find people who really care and just want to spread the amazing-ness that is baby wearing, but every once in awhile you will stumble on a group that chooses to shame you for doing something wrong, instead of gently showing you a better, safer, or different way of doing things, and just like breastfeeding, you really need support when you are a new inexperienced mom. Shaming can completely turn you off from really great things.

That being said, to all the moms and dads out there, don't get discouraged! Baby wearing can be a learning curve, and sometimes it takes a few tries to find the perfect baby wearing style for you and your baby!"


6. Would you consider yourself into “attachment parenting”? Which aspects of AP to you find fit well with your family and lifestyle? Which do not?

"Definitely! I tandem/extended breastfeed, baby wear both kids, co-sleep (yup! Both kids are in our bed and we love the cuddles!), we don't believe in spanking, when our toddler does something wrong, we redirect and use encouraging words rather than derogatory, and later down the line I would love to home-school if I can!"

7. Do you babywear often? During which activities do you most often babywear during? How has babywearing affected you as a mother and caretaker of small children?

"Every. Single. Day. When we go to Target, when I'm crafting, when I'm doing laundry, when I'm cooking, when I'm swiffering the floors, when we are playing video games, when I'm working out, etc. any activity you can think of, I'm baby wearing while doing it. Baby wearing has given me the ability to get things done with two under two, but also allows me to give my toddler the attention he needs and deserves, while still comforting my baby."

8. Though there is not much, more beautiful to a mother than the site of her newborn baby, which aspects of mothering do you find most beautiful? Rocking a baby sleep, reading books, kissing away boo boos? (It’s ok to choose more than one!)

"Oh gosh! I love rocking my babies to sleep. I love dancing with my toddler (he's got some moves, let me tell you). I love the way my daughter's face lights up when she smiles back at you. I love how my son comes up to me with a hairbrush saying, "Pretty!" When he wants you to do his hair. I love the cuddling. I love the hugs and kisses. It makes it all worth it."


9. When you wear your baby, (in your carrier of choice), how does it make you feel? How does it make your child feel? Have others in your family joined in the babywearing fun?

"Babywearing gives both me and my children a sense of security. I suffer with anxiety and having my kids literally on my body is the safest place they could be. My son is pretty shy, and likes to observe situations rather than really be in them, and it helps him feel safe and secure and keeps him from becoming overwhelmed, and my daughter loves having access to breastfeeding on her demand. She far only my husband and I have worn out kids, but because of us we were able to turn my sister onto baby wearing and my sister-in-law!"

10. And finally, what has babywearing meant to you? Does babywearing make you feel beautiful?

"It has helped me so much with PPD. In fact, with my daughter I started baby wearing immediately, and because of that never really got PPD with her. I always feel kind of sad after delivery like something is now missing from my body, but breastfeeding keeps them close and is almost like an extension of yourself, an outside womb, if you will. It really truly is the most beautiful thing."

August 30, 2016

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Guest Blog Post: Poe Wovens Kerchief Petunia Ring Sling Review

I just want to start with, I am so excited to talk about Kerchief Peony! Rumors and teasers of a classic kerchief inspired design started surfacing a little over a year ago and since that time I have been on a mission to have a little piece of it for myself and now that I have it I want you all to try it as well.

The color and pattern is undeniable--it is vibrant and electric, and shimmers in the light thanks to the two stands of pink used to create this masterpiece. This is a mature pink that stands on its own instead of being a “girl version” for the Navy Kerchief.  I think it is important to note that because often we see pink items and immediately think dainty, feminine, and mild whereas this ring sling is no shrinking violet—err Peony.  Looks can be deceiving, those lush folds and beautiful pattern, I have people asking all the time if it is “sturdy” and “toddler worthy” and let me tell you this beauty is a workhorse and your wearee will tire long before Peony does. I have worn Apol for hours in this ring sling, all 24 wiggly pounds of her--which is not something I can do in just any ring sling.  Poe Wovens is mom owned and run, I have to imagine that that has a lot to do with how well this ring sling performs. A just knows, ya’ know?

Technical specs for Peony boast 100% mercerized cotton and a weight of 285 grams. I for one love merc cotton, I find that it is soft and moldable without being saggy or digging into my shoulders. In my experience I have found merc cotton to be easier to work with in terms of wrapping and holding a pass so I was not surprised that this ring sling once adjusted with Apol nestled in, needed no adjustments for as long as I wore her. There was no slipping at the shoulder or the rings.  I’d call the weave medium weight in the hand and fresh out of the package was a bit stiff, but with a wash and baby snuggle session softened up considerably. By nature of the jacquard technique used in this design it does have some surprising stretch and bounce to it. I love how it hugs Apol as I wear her, I feel she is supported and secure and she enjoys being able to freely and causally enjoy an arms out adventure just as much as borrowing down for a nap. 

For me this ring sling has it all; gorgeous color, the stamina to keep up with me, comfort and softness, a local to me made product that I can feel good about and a carrier that allows me conquer the world (or shopping list) with my sweet Apol by my side. Poe Wovens really is poetry in motion and Kerchief Peony really is that good.

 

Caitlin is a Vermont resident, babywearing enthusiast, and breastfeeding activist.  She is an active reader and positive force in the babywearing community.  

August 19, 2016

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Guest Blog Post: Poe Wovens Jonquils Aurora Ring Sling Review

At first glance, it sure does catch your eye. The shimmer and shine with all the sunset-like colors just blend and mix to make something to unique!
I had a hard time staying focused in church when I had the  traveling wrap on the seat next to me, I kept finding another shade or hue of color that I hadn’t seen before.
I was so sad when it had to move on to the next tester. Now that we have the ring sling (which is reversible! so awesome!) I can choose the “right “ side which is mostly blue or the “wrong” side which has more of the orange/pink/sunset in Maui color scheme.  Husband friendly colors as well, especially blue (right) side out!  
The slings come with a wide gathered shoulder which is my absolute favorite. I can make it cap my shoulder for extra comfort or I can scrunch it up more on top if I need more range of motion in my right arm. The wrap is well hemmed and the stitching looks great. There is a great diagonal stretch (but not too much) to it that makes it not so stiff and rigid on my shoulder. I’ve so far been very impressed with how long I can wear my big little guy (7 months and 20 lbs) in it with no discomfort when usually ring slings are a no-go for me at this weight already.

Jonquils has just enough cush in the weave to keep me comfy without bouncing around too much. It isn’t thick and has been the only thing I’ve been grabbing this summer due to the extreme Texas heat and humidity. I can flip up the tail for some added sun shade as well if I need to. I love the texture and feel of the “wrong side out.”

This has been our go to car carrier for awhile now. It’s just so fast and easy to get on and off. I admittedly have hated ring slings in the past but I find myself reaching for my Jonquils on a daily basis. I am a busy mom to 4 and when we go out and about I don’t have time to fix and adjust and fidget with something fussy in a parking lot. I slip my sling on, slide him in, couple quick tugs to adjust , and we are good to go! It’s gotten really soft with all the wear as well. I am constantly getting compliments  on it and have found myself able to easily recommend Poe slings to mommies I meet. The price point couldn’t be better. All in all, a very well made, easily recommended, quality sling for a great price made in the USA. What could be better?



Molly is mother to four children and avid babywearer.  As Poe Brand Ambassador Molly is active in our chatter group Poe Precinct on Facebook.   

See more and connect with us on social media:

 

 

 

  • Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/PoesieTissee/
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Join our active chatter group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PoePrecinct/

Shop Online: http://www.poewovens.com/collections/in-stock

 

June 24, 2016

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Babywearing Made Beautiful: Kim Soete's Story

We bare children at many different life stages, but the bond of motherhood connects us all. This series, Babywearing Made Beautiful, seeks to address some of the issues, commonalities of the motherhood (and/or fatherhood) journey, as well as to help shed some light on the many beautiful aspects of babywearing, mothering, (note: Poe knows father's babywear too, though we might change the moniker to "handsome" for dad's!), and how the two have mingled. We will be interviewing women, (if you're a babywearing dad interested in this project, we would love to interview you, please email us!), of various ages from all over the world.

Today's story comes to us from Kim, a lovely mom who is new Brand Ambassador for Poe this Spring. Kim is our first International Ambassador to participate in our BMB Campaign, and we are thrilled to share her voice. She cares candidly with us about her experiences and feelings regarding body image and weight gain and loss after pregnancy. Also, find out what Kim thinks is absolutely magical...

We are so grateful for Kim's reminder that we should all seek to have a positive body image and not ever body shame another person. Her compassion, and love of family, as well as those infants in her charge, shine through in this interview. Want to here more? Keep reading! (We are a little jealous of your location Kim, can we come visit??)

 1. Tell us a little about yourself: (name, where you live, family size, kids, occupation—SAHM is totally an occupation BTW, hobbies, unknown fact or funny story)

My name is Kim and I’m originally from Belgium but moved to France about 12 years ago, I live on the south-west coast just 1 km from the beach. I moved to France cause life is calmer there then in Belgium and haven’t regretted it a second. I have 1 son 2 years of age and a second baby due in October, I have always known I wanted kids and it’s the best thing I’ve ever accomplished. I always felt there was something missing in my life and how hard I tried to look for it and how much stuff I did I could never find that missing part until my son was born.

I work as a stay at home nanny, which means I nanny kids from my own home (called nounou in france), this makes I can stay home with my own kids as well which I see as a huge plus.

For hobby’s, well I love snowboarding, skiing, surfing and all other board sports. I also love just going for walks on the beach with my son and husband. And I love love love cooking, baking, and discovering different kinds of cuisines.

2. Tell us a little about your mothering journey, have the infant and toddler years been easy or difficult for you, completely blissful or somewhere in the middle? Tell us about a challenge you overcame.

I became a mother when I was 31 years old, I remember when we (my husband and me) came home from the hospital after giving birth, standing in the living room with our newborn and looking at each other, we had no idea what to do next, everything was so new, we thought we had completely prepared the house for the arrival of our baby but nothing was less true. Becoming a mother has changed me a lot, I love being a mother and it’s the best thing I have ever done in my life, it has given me a purpose in life I never had before my son.

We had our little bumps in the road in the beginning mostly with breastfeeding being a bit difficult and very painful but after a month everything worked itself out, I’m very laid back whereas my husband is more the worrying type.

The biggest challenge I had to overcome was the extreme weight loss I had after my son was born, everyone always says ‘oh it’s easy to gain weight, much harder to lose it’ well, this is hardly true, I had to work really hard to stop losing weight and had to change my eating habits drastically to make sure I stayed healthy, I had to take time to eat, something I had forgotten the first few months after my son was born, he came first and I came last and that started weighing on my own health, but after a while I found a balance and I stopped losing weight again.



3. Since giving birth, have you struggled with maintaining a positive body and self-image or self-esteem? What has helped? What has hurt?

Babywearing has helped me a lot in maintaining a positive body image, when I wear my son in a beautiful wrap I feel beautiful as well, the day may have been really hard but then I pick a nice wrap and wrap my son up and feel him and myself relax, I feel the troubles of the day float away and feel good about myself and my body again. And a few selfies where I see myself and my son smile never hurt my self-esteem either ;)

What has hurt me since birth is everyone telling my how much weight I’ve lost and that I should eat a bit more to gain a little, I don’t understand how people think it’s ok to tell someone who’s is to skinny to gain weight, you don’t go up to someone you think is too big and tell them to lose weight either, well, being too skinny is just the same, I have felt really bad about that often and wrapping has helped me a lot, I often wear bright and colorful wraps to take people’s eyes of off me and make them look at my wraps and with that at my son.

4. How were you originally introduced to babywearing? Were you mentored/assisted by an experienced babywearer, educator or consultant? What were your initial thoughts on the practice then compared to now?

When I was about 5 months pregnant I went on holiday to Belgium and went to visit a friend of mine that had a daughter and loved babywearing, she showed me some wraps and ringslings, I didn’t really know what to do with those but just listened to her and nodded along thinking ‘what am I supposed to do with that piece of fabric?’
When I got back home I started looking in to that babywearing and thought it would be so much more comfortable and handy than a pram, as we life at the beach. So a month before I gave birth I bought my first woven wrap (the cheapest I could find). Once my son was born my friend, who by then was a certified babywearing consultant, gave me a crash course through skype and I’ve been wrapping my boy ever since.
Since first hearing my friend talk about babywearing I have come a very long way, have tried so many different wraps and carriers and got my babywearing consultants certificate.



5. What are your thoughts on the babywearing community, both online and locally? Have your experiences been pleasant? Does your area have a local babywearing group?

We aren’t with many local babywearing moms although I have converted more than one of my friends into babywearing already ;) We don’t really have a local babywearing group but get together in a mommy café once every month with some moms in the area some of them babywear but not all.

"I think for the online babywearing community it depends on which one you’re in, and also very brand-related. There are a few brands I’m not buying anymore because I just don’t like the atmosphere around the brand. Babywearing is about wearing your baby close and also to feel good about being a mom but sometimes that is a bit forgotten on the internet, it’s so easy to type something and send it in to the world but it’s so hard to take something back that has been send in to the world. The internet never forgets and can really hurt people when misused; sadly enough not everyone realizes this." 



6. Would you consider yourself into “attachment parenting”? Which aspects of AP to you find fit well with your family and lifestyle? Which do not?

I don’t consider myself an attachment parent, no. I just take a little bit of everything from all sorts of parenting and choose for myself what fits my family and what doesn’t.
I don’t really know the ‘rules’ about attachment parenting so I can’t really say which aspects I do or do not use. I just try and follow my instincts as much as possible and try not to listen to much to what everyone tells me to do or not to do cause If I would listen to everyone’s advice, I think I would have gone mad already.



7. Do you babywear often? During which activities do you most often babywear during? How has babywearing affected you as a mother and caretaker of small children?

I babywear almost every day with my 2 year old, I had kept me from going crazy.
My son never wanted to sleep in his bed the first 1.5 year of his life so he took all his naps in the wrap, the first 4 months he practically lived wrapped up on my belly, he really needed to be close and I really wanted to give him what he needed.

When he got older I wrapped him a little less but we still have a few ups every day, he asks to be wrapped when he gets cranky and I always wrap him when we go to the farmers market or to the store or stuff like that, it’s just so much easier to have him happy on my back then to run behind him and end up picking him up and carrying him anyway. He is so use to being wrapped that he gladly lets me carry him and it’s fun for him as he can see everything from a much beter angle than when I would put him in a pram.
I hear so often from people ‘why do you still carry him, he’s too old to be carried still’ but nobody ever says anything about a 4 year old still being pushed in a pram. So I mostly ignore those comments and just carry on with my day, I know my son is very independed and he was already walking at 11 months so I know me wrapping him so often is not hurting his development at all.

8. Though there is not much, more beautiful to a mother than the site of her newborn baby, which aspects of mothering do you find most beautiful? Rocking a baby sleep, reading books, kissing away boo boos? (It’s ok to choose more than one!)

I love that my kisses are ‘magic’ when my son falls he comes to me and asks for a kiss and all is instantly better. I also loved when my son was younger and didn’t sleep through the night yet, he would wake up during the night to bf and we just sit in the half dark of his room, just the 2 of us so peaceful, I loved those moments, I felled so close to him those nights.



9. When you wear your baby, (in your carrier of choice), how does it make you feel? How does it make your child feel? Have others in your family joined in the babywearing fun?

When I wear my baby I feel a little bit like super mom, I learned to back-wrap him with sweat and tears and I never gave up cause I really wanted to keep him close as long as possible and I also needed to learn to get him to sleep somewhere as he wasn’t sleeping in his bed, so whenever I wrap him up now I feel a little bit like supermom, I persisted through the sweating and through my tears when again I couldn’t get a nice seat or couldn’t get that second back-pass nice and tight. But in the end it was all worth it when I see him relax on my back and fall asleep.

I know my child loved to be carried, he has a lot of energy and doesn’t always know where to go with his extra energy, I feel that when he is wrapped he relaxes and just calms down. He smiles and laughs and he loves when I take pictures of the both of us.
My husband has wrapped our baby when he was really little in fwcc but when he got older he passed on wrapping and we got a ssc for him, he still loves wearing our boy in a ssc. And even my mother-in-law has carried my son in a ringsling and ssc.



10. And finally, what has babywearing meant to you? Does babywearing make you feel beautiful?

Babywearing has made me feel good about myself, it gives me courage. When I was young I was very outgoing and open to other people, I changed a lot while growing up and life changed the way I was as a kid and teen aswell. Babywearing has helped me get my self-esteem back, I feel more confident about myself and am not afraid to go places on my own or talk to strangers. I met so many great people during the last few years online and in real life and this all thanks to babywearing. I’m not afraid to show myself anymore.

June 22, 2016

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Babywearing Made Beautiful: Heather's Story

 

We bare children at many different life stages, but the bond of motherhood connects us all. This series, Babywearing Made Beautiful, seeks to address some of the issues, commonalities of the motherhood (and/or fatherhood) journey, as well as to help shed some light on the many beautiful aspects of babywearing, mothering, (note: Poe knows father's babywear too, though we might change the moniker to "handsome" for dad's!), and how the two have mingled. We will be interviewing women, (if you're a babywearing dad interested in this project, we would love to interview you, please email us!), of various ages from all over the world.

Today's story comes to us from Heather, a lovely mom who is new Brand Ambassador for Poe this Spring. Heather is a busy mom who has found a balance in her many roles and overcome questions of identity and mommyhood with grace and poise. Want to here more? Keep reading!

1. Tell us a little about yourself: (name, where you live, family size, kids, occupation—SAHM is totally an occupation BTW, hobbies, unknown fact or funny story)

My name is Heather Moreau. I am a mom to a 20-month old girl and I have a 15-year old step-son. My husband and I live in Jericho, VT. We have been together for over 10 years and married for 7. We moved to Jericho almost 3 years ago from Barre, VT. We both grew up in the Central Vermont area.

I am a Project Manager for a health insurance company. I also am currently writing for the Burlington VT Moms Blog and recently started my own mommy blog with a friend- Because Mom, That’s Why.

Nothing is better to me than a warm sunny day outside with friends and family, no matter what activities we are doing. I enjoy hiking, pretend to enjoy running and recently started yoga.



2. Tell us a little about your mothering journey, have the infant and toddler years been easy or difficult for you, completely blissful or somewhere in the middle? Tell us about a challenge you overcame.

I feel like from the very beginning of trying to get pregnant my journey had not really been easy. Now as a mother to a toddler I feel I am challenged everyday but I am also amazed at what I can do. There are days that feel blissful and days I feel crazy, sometimes I feel a range of emotions all in one day. Whether good or bad, it is definitely an adventure and one I feel truly lucky to be on.

3. Since giving birth, have you struggled with maintaining a positive body and self-image or self-esteem? What has helped? What has hurt?

I certainly have my days with my body imagine. Even though I’ve lost all the weight, my body is just not the same but I am learning to accept that. I try to find things that make me feel good and have adjusted my wardrobe. I’ve actually enjoyed evolving my wardrobe a bit. What I’ve struggled with more is this sense of losing myself. Figuring out who I am as a mom has been a tough journey for me. Luckily I have an amazing husband who has supported me during this journey.



4. How were you originally introduced to babywearing? Were you mentored/assisted by an experienced babywearer, educator or consultant? What were your initial thoughts on the practice then compared to now?

When I became pregnant I was handed down and Ergo and registered for a Moby because I thought that’s what everyone did. While researching online how to use the carriers I came across our local babywearing group. I received some initial help through their Facebook page and then took the plunge one day of going to an actual meeting and am so glad I did. It really opened up my eyes to the world of babywearing and all the possibilities. Wraps still overwhelm me but I love I was able to discover ring slings and the options for different types of soft structured carriers.

I initially thought it would just be handy for getting a few things done around the house but I quickly realized how much I could do while babywearing and it really helped me ease into motherhood.



5. What are your thoughts on the babywearing community, both online and locally? Have your experiences been pleasant? Does your area have a local babywearing group?

I love our local babywearing group, both going to meetings and the online help they provide. They are all so welcoming. They are encouraging of any type of babywearing and I have never felt judged by the group.

Online elsewhere I have had mixed experiences. I have joined a few Facebook groups specific to certain carrier brands and have found one in particular (not Poe Wovens) to be a little more judgmental if you are not using that brand or if you ask beginner questions they feel like you should already know.



6. Would you consider yourself into “attachment parenting”? Which aspects of AP to you find fit well with your family and lifestyle? Which do not?

I’m not sure I know the full meaning of attachment parenting but I think I follow some of the philosophies. I breastfed, I did a lot of skin-to-skin in the beginning, I babywear (and now toddler wear) and I really let my daughter set her schedule as far as an eat, sleep awake routine. I tried not to really force a schedule that I wanted and had much better success following her cues and we eventually eased into a routine.

We did not really co-sleep, only the first few weeks. It just didn’t work well for our family.

7. Do you babywear often? During which activities do you most often babywear during? How has babywearing affected you as a mother and caretaker of small children?

I used to babywear more often before she could walk but we still do quite a bit. We take the dog for walks, hike, sometimes for grocery shopping, and getting cleaning done around the house.

I like it especially when we are in crowded places that are new to her and can be overwhelming. She seems to enjoy the comfort of being attached to me in those situations as well. It’s also nice for quick trips into a store so she’s not pulling everything off the shelf!

8. Though there is not much, more beautiful to a mother than the site of her newborn baby, which aspects of mothering do you find most beautiful? Rocking a baby sleep, reading books, kissing away boo boos? (It’s ok to choose more than one!)

I can’t get enough snuggling. Whether reading, watching tv, just relaxing. The more snuggling, the better!

I also really enjoy just watching her grow. It’s amazing to be able to watch her grow into the person she is becoming.

9. When you wear your baby, (in your carrier of choice), how does it make you feel? How does it make your child feel? Have others in your family joined in the babywearing fun?

I think it gives a sense of security to my daughter. She’s so curious and loves exploring outside and I really feel because we were able to do that together through babywearing from the very beginning, it’s now stuck with her. I have gotten my mom to try the ring sling a few times (she actually couldn’t believe how comfortable and handy it was) and now my sister has a daughter and she frequently babywears.

10. And finally, what has babywearing meant to you? Does babywearing make you feel beautiful?

I’m just grateful for all the memories and adventures we have had that were made possible with babywearing. There are many experiences I wouldn’t have been able to have if I tried to use a stroller or just carry her and I’m thankful with how much it has helped

May 19, 2016

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Babywearing Made Beautiful: Marissa's Story, Part II

We bare children at many different life stages, but the bond of motherhood connects us all. This series, Babywearing Made Beautiful, seeks to address some of the issues, commonalities of the motherhood (and/or fatherhood) journey, as well as to help shed some light on the many beautiful aspects of babywearing, mothering, (note: Poe knows father's babywear too, though we might change the moniker to "handsome" for dad's!), and how the two have mingled. We will be interviewing women, (if you're a babywearing dad interested in this project, we would love to interview you, please email us!), of various ages from all over the world.

Today's story comes to us from Marissa, a lovely mom who is returning for a second year as Brand Ambassador for Poe. This is also here second contribution to the series. Want to here more? Keep reading!

It's been 18 months and what feels like a lifetime ago that I sat down and answered these same questions (http://www.poewovens.com/blogs/bonjour/16204304-babywearing-made-beautiful-marissas-story).  Since then I've seen children grow and start school, had another baby, battled and survived the worst 6 months of post partum depression and anxiety and in the midst of it all found myself.

1. Tell us a little about yourself: (name, where you live, family size, kids, occupation—SAHM is totally an occupation BTW, hobbies, unknown fact or funny story)


Not much has changed and yet everything has changed. Still married to the love of my life Jim. We've now welcomed our 4th child into our lives and hearts. Alex is 6 and enjoying his first year of school. It's been so hard for me to have him the two blocks away for most of the day. He is blossoming and becoming more and more confident every day. Ben now 4 is such a sweet boy. Always ready to learn new things and full of laughter and love for his newest little sister. He is also full of mischief and and will give this mama all her grey hairs. Grace 2 is the little mama and tomboy all rolled into one glittery pink curly haired package. She is my biggest helper with a stubborn streak a mile wide. Emma now 9months is a lovable bundle of snuggles and smiles. God new we needed a laid back little girl when He sent her to us. I'm a wife, mother, friend, cook, cleaner, boo boo kisser, and master toy wrangler. I love to craft and create and encouragement is my best mothering tool.

2. Tell us a little about your mothering journey, have the infant and toddler years been easy or difficult for you, completely blissful or somewhere in the middle? Tell us about a challenge you overcame.

So if you've read part 1 of my BBW'ing made beautiful (and you totally should). You know that motherhood was not easy to get to. Now 4 beautiful babies and a whole new set of tiger stripes later our family is once again re-defined. It has not been easy. This last fall and winter were some of the hardest of my life. My oldest son Alex went to kindergarten when Emma was just 4 weeks old. It was so hard. I was catapulted into the darkest and roughest bought of PPD/A I've ever experienced. It was physically and emotionally draining. I felt like I was drowning and I just wanted someone to notice. I'm pretty sure there are several months that I don't have a lot of memories of because the depression and anxiety were so overwhelming. With a lot of self pep talks and the return of sunshine I'm finally out of that pit and resuming my normal state of upbeat and outgoing happy self. The only thing that saved me, my marriage and my mothering relationship was babywearing.

3. Since giving birth, have you struggled with maintaining a positive body and self-image or self-esteem? What has helped? What has hurt?


I've been more and more aware recently of the fact that I'm more and more accepting of the the size, shape, body I have. I'm accepting the fact that who I am today is pretty awesome. Just like the person I'll be in 6 months will be awesome. I just will be making healthier choices and I hope she enjoys exercising more (I know not likely haha). More and more I'm finding like minded mamas who are loving who they are right now and are accepting that they are petty awesome.  The Facebook group Base Love has been an wonderful place to be where I've found more and more acceptance and support in my babywearing journey.

4. How were you originally introduced to babywearing? Were you mentored/assisted by an experienced babywearer, educator or consultant? What were your initial thoughts on the practice then compared to now?


I was amazingly blessed to have found several brand owners who have influenced my wearing journey. They were and are mentors, cheerleaders, friends, and now like family. Nancy, Jamie and Maria you three ladies have defined my wearing journey in the most amazing way. With the three of you I'm not sure I would have blossomed into who I am as a mom and women. Thank you ladies.

5. What are your thoughts on the babywearing community, both online and locally? Have your experiences been pleasant? Does your area have a local babywearing group?


I still love the community of Babywearers. More so now than ever. I've seen people donate to support complete strangers. I've seen mamas support each other with tips and tricks to make carriers and carriers work for them so that they can be the best version of themselves for their children. I am amazed by the generosity and love that is an integral part of the babywearing community. I only hope that new wearers who join feel the same.

6. Would you consider yourself into “attachment parenting”? Which aspects of AP to you find fit well with your family and lifestyle? Which do not?


I remember feeling like this was a silly term and sometimes yes it is but yes I'm an Attachment parent. I am so attached to my children I'll do whatever they need to thrive. I'm no longer feeling at odds with the crunchy community as I have had the opportunity to put to rest the fears and anxieties that have plagued me over being a bottle-feeding mama. Nyssa at Deck & Oar and I were able to collaborate and put into words all the things that made me a mama (http://www.deckandoar.com/blog/2016/2/29/guest-post-fed-is-best). A beautiful healing occurred and life long friendship was born. I am the mom I'm meant to be and I don't feel the need to label what I am as anything more than I am motherhood.

7. Do you babywear often? During which activities do you most often babywear during? How has babywearing affected you as a mother and caretaker of small children?


I wear as much or as little as I need to. Wearing is just one of the tools in my moms arsenal. Sometimes my kids wrap strike and sometimes I do. We wear at the store, church, the school pick up and drop off, cooking dinner, cleaning. Wherever and whenever my kids or I need the unique closeness of being wrapped and snuggled. I've learned babywearing isn't all or nothing. It has made me more aware of our boundaries as individuals and how those blur when you have children.

8. Though there is not much, more beautiful to a mother than the site of her newborn baby, which aspects of mothering do you find most beautiful? Rocking a baby sleep, reading books, kissing away boo boos? (It’s ok to choose more than one!)


I would defiantly say now 18 months later my body issues haven't disappeared but that I've come to a new place of self love for the body that helped grow and birth 4 absolutely amazing and beautiful tiny humans. I feel most beautiful when I am giving and receiving love from my husband and children. I am choosing joy and happiness and celebrating the tiny (sometimes minuscule) victories and not getting bogged down and defeated by the set backs.

9. When you wear your baby, (in your carrier of choice), how does it make you feel? How does it make your child feel? Have others in your family joined in the babywearing fun?


Babywearing calms me. The routine of it, the finding of the middle marker, the strand by strand tightening, all of it calms me and focuses me. The feel of the fabric helps to bring me back to center. When there is so much chaos going on around me I can pick up a wrap and inevitable someone will ask to be wrapped (yes any of my 4 will ask to be wrapped). My husband has begun the slow and sometimes tedious journey of babywearing and my children love it. He to is beginning to experience the calming and magical feeling of a small trusting child wrapped to him to the point that they are an extension of you. And my heart melts and I fall just a small bit (ok a huge bit) more in love with both of them.

10. And finally, what has babywearing meant to you? Does babywearing make you feel beautiful?

There are days when either the children or I will wrap strike and then we just sit and cuddle under the fabric that has bound us ever closer and we breathe deep and can feel ourselves relax. On days when I feel like I'm going to fly apart into a million tiny lost pieces I will wrap the fabric around us and we will feel whole again. I can feel their small bodies finally stop fighting themselves and slowly sink into the carry and find peace and trust that I am with them and that I love them. Ahhhh yes babywearing calms me. And babywearing makes me feel beautiful.
April 29, 2016

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Dress A Girl Around The World

It's not often that a community service project comes along that checks all the boxes for an American textile based small business. Panton Community Baptist Church hosting a sew-in for Dress A Girl Around the World did just that. (Fabric-check, Family-check, Friends-check, Up-cycling-check, Empowering girls across the globe-check!)

"Dress a Girl Around the World provides patterns, ways to be involved and opportunities for you to deliver or to help fund the delivery of dresses to girls around the world.People from all over are forming groups and sewing simple sun dresses for Hope 4 Women International. There are teams and partners distributing these dresses around the world. 

To date we've delivered over 300,000 dresses to 81 countries. See the list of countries under our home tab.

People from all States, Canada, Uganda, the UK, Philippines, Australia, Sweden, Costa Rica, South Africa, Germany, Norway, Okinawa, Japan, and Hong Kong continue to make dresses. Together we really are dressing the girls around the world."

I was looking forward to this event so much as I was planning to make a dress out of Poe Wovens fabric scraps. Though my sewing skills aren't much to write home about, I knew I would be surrounded by textile gurus galore. Additionally, not only was this to be a church event, but a family affair as well, since my Mother and four Daughters were planning to attend as well. 

These are the dresses sewn by my family, my mom added the finishing touches, (lace, pockets). 

Be sure to see of there's a Dress A Girl Around The World event happening near you! If not, please consider organizing one!

April 29, 2016

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Home Stretch

Some of the fabric in our upcoming ring sling release was woven last July. For a myriad of reasons, it has been a long time coming, but we are finally on the home stretch and getting ready to release our ring slings. Though the process has been long and arduous, I have learned some valuable lessons and had some pretty amazing help along the way.

Too many people to name, (but I'll try: Josilyn over at Burlington Vermont Moms Blog, all my Brand Ambassadors over in Poe Precinct, my assistant Trish, CSR Kiersten, textile designer Andrea, I could go on!). But I'd like to take THIS opportunity to highlight my family. My husband, children, parents, in-laws and church family have been instrumental in helping me get through this past year and get these slings ready to launch. 

My husband and five children have had to sacrifice in many ways, as small business ownership calls me away from my role as wife and mother on many occasion. 

Though I am certain late nights in the office or trips away from home are not always welcomed with cheers and hugs, I have always felt their love and support, especially lately.

Whether by babysitting, preparing a meal, helping with laundry, loading a pallet of slings into the shop with a tractor, (benefits of being married to a farmer), placing stickers on product registration cards or entertaining babies during a photo-shoot, I have felt their love. 

So family, from the bottom of my heart: THANK YOU. 

March 15, 2016

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Out From Behind the Desk

I have been happily married for 12 years this past May to the love of my life Bob, (who sometimes get's persuaded to model for me, see below). He is a fifth generation dairy farmer and we live right on the family farm in picturesque, Addison County, Vermont. 

 

Before my life on the farm began I spent four years active duty serving in the United States Marine Corps. My Military Occupational Specialty, or job, was 3531 or "Motor T", for you military buffs!

Upon my honorable discharge I returned to my beloved (yet cold), home state and completed my Business Degree at the University of Vermont.

We now have five beautiful children; four daughters and two* sons: Brittany is 16.5, Abigail is 12, Vanessa is 10, Laila is 7 and Beau is 4, *(we also have a heaven-dweller named Jason, who was delivered sleeping at 19 weeks in April of 2011).

Babywearing has always been a necessity in my life as a mother. It made having a big family doable and helped me to relish in each and every cuddle my last little ones will give me. I have always felt like supermom when I babywear and want other moms to experience the awesome and empowering joy of wearing their babies! So it was only natural that my love of babywearing would overflow and morph into a business eventually.

“We are the windows through which our children first see the world.
Let us be conscious of the view.”
Katrina Kenison, Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry

 

As a mother of five, I have learned that to be efficient and productive, I need to use all of the resources available to me. Whether it’s buying in bulk at Costco or delegating chores, I have to make the most of things. Of every baby product I've had the pleasure (or misfortune--I'm talking to you wipe warmer) of trying, the woven wrap has proven the most versatile and useful to me.

Why Babywearing?

I started using baby carriers, or "babywearing", shortly after the birth of my eldest daughter. I found that lugging around the heavy and awkward infant car seat was difficult at best, damaging to my back at worst, (just ask your chiropractor). Babywearing allowed me to be mobile, hands free and pain free, all the while having the added benefit of bonding with my baby. Babywearing was empowering to me as a young mother on the go.

With each child we added to our family, so too did I add to my babywearing "stash".  I discovered the mei tai carrier, the soft structured carrier, the pouch sling, the ring sling, the stretchy wrap, etc., I am not ashamed to admit that my babywearing journey began with a simple harness style carrier called the Bjorn, (it was steely grey with pinstripes and toggle closures). But, (clearly), it is woven wraps and slings that have stolen my heart.

Recently, I have been increasingly fascinated and in awe of traditional babywearing practices of other cultures all over the world. Particularly, the women in the French Congo, who have a nifty little term for babywearing my family and I have adopted, "au dos", literally translated meaning, "on the back". Beau au dos was a common phrase in our babywearing heyday/season. The coincidental rhyming has been just the cheery on top!

“Carrying a baby is the most rewarding experience a woman can enjoy.”

-- Jayne Mansfield 

Why Wovens?

"Breath-ability, Support, & Beauty; a fashion and function fruition of fiber!" -Nancy

The fabrics are beautiful; the patterns, the weaving techniques, the fiber blends and different weights. There is so much room for creativity, personalization, customization, etc, the possibilities are endless! Each and every single factor that gets woven into a baby wrap plays in integral role in what it’s wrapping qualities will be. Will the wrap be supportive, moldable, stretchy, responsive. Will it have nice drape, what will the texture be? Will the passes glide smoothly one over  the other when wrapping? Will there be enough grip to hold a slip knot in  a rebozo carry? I believe weaving is poetic and wearing your baby is POEtry in motion. 

On the Horizon?

As we are in our third year, I am excited about the new things happening to Poe Wovens, but also a little nostalgic and even sad. One chapter closes and another opens. We are setting the production of Woven Wraps aside and ushering in that of Ring Slings. We have left the boarders of Vermont for finishing, and expanded them to New England. My family is growing up and changing.

As a mom, I have to adapt to their changing needs. This summer I'll be taking my eldest daughter on college visits. My baby turns four this weekend. And sadly, I can't remember the last time he went "Au dos"... Though my babywearing days may be done, (till grand babies), my passion and respect for the practice still burn hot. I look forward to continuing to channel that love into the creation of masterful slings in meaningful designs, the occasional one-on-one babywearing consult, and perhaps helping to reboot our local Addison County  babywearing group.

Before I had Five Kids and a Small Business,

I frequently enjoyed:

  • Non-digital Scarpbooking
  • Dancing to 80s and 90s music
  • Filling journals with page after page of musings, poems and prayers.

Here's to hoping that as, my season of mothering young littles morphs into mommyhood of school aged kids and teenagers, that some of those fun things find their way back into my Google Calendar. I encourage you not get lost in your to-do list, and instead bask in the moments between the items on your agenda. Don't wait too long like me. 

What brings you joy? Share with us!

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