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 (  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 ( 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.

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