Babywearing Made Beautiful: Andrea's Story

This is our third installment in the 'babywearing made beautiful' campaign, and already I am in awe of and inspired by each participant. In a world where the temptation to highlight differences and 'choose sides' in the various fields of the parenthood-crusade, I am humbled when I read these women's responses, as they seek not to call attention to differences in their mothering, but in the common threads which bind us together. 
This series, seeks to address some of those issues, commonalities, 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. 

Andrea's Story: 

  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)

 

"I’m a full time mom and full time engineer in the steel industry. I’m a Volunteer Babywearing Educator with BWI South Chicagoland and the Director of 321 Carry, a non profit whose mission is to donate carriers to caregivers of babies and children with special needs. My hobbies include knitting, weaving, photography, gardening, and raising chickens."

 

  1. 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 have two children, Henry, who is three, and Copley, who is one and has Down syndrome. My boys are a different as night and day, but they are a perfect complement to each other, and perfectly balance our family.  Motherhood is an interesting topic, it is as different as each mother herself. Our goals and values are different, and because of that there can be a tendency to band together with like minded mothers and strike out against those with differing philosophies, but that’s not really my style. I think we are all amazing; we are all hard working, tireless fighters. My choices are not a reflection of your choices, and I do not feel threatened when your choices are different than mine. This is a challenge we can all overcome- to learn to support each other, and cast aside the judgment and infighting. As women, we have enough of that to deal with without turning on each other."

 

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

 

"I was older when I had my children, so I went into this knowing my body would be changed on the other side. I work in a predominantly male dominated industry, and have a very strong and confident character. My confidence comes from my strength, my abilities, and my character- not from the size or shape of my body. I struggled with infertility and a pregnancy disease called Hyperemesis Gravidarum- to have made it through 2 pregnancies with 2 healthy children is something I never take for granted, and I’m extremely proud of what my body has built. Every extra pound, stretch mark, and wrinkle is worth it."

 

  1. 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 introduced to wearing by a well known VBE, Meredith Sinclair, on an internet forum for pregnant women. Living in the city at the time the idea of babywearing instead of using a stroller made sense, though I was sure I could never manage one of those simple pieces of cloth. I’d registered for a narrow based forward facing carrier, but on the advice of a good friend got an Ergo instead. I also grabbed a ring sling on a whim and hoped for the best. I joined TBW and learned how to use not only the Ergo and the ring sling, but fell madly in love with wrapping and SPOCs. The gentle introduction, encouragement, and guidance I received as a new wearer is what eventually led me to become a VBE myself."

 

  1. 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 was involved with the BWI affiliation of our local babywearing group, it has been an amazing experience for me, and I take my job of introducing wearing to new parents and caregivers very seriously."

 

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

 

"The principles of attachment parenting can get blurred online, so I think a good discussion of AP starts with a discussion of the principles of AP.

Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting

Feed with Love and Respect

Respond with Sensitivity

Use Nurturing Touch

Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally

Provide Consistent Loving Care

Practice Positive Discipline

Strive for Balance in Your Personal and Family Life.

AP is not babywearing, cloth diapering, anti-vaxing, and homeschooling. AP is a parenting philosophy, and all aspects of this philosophy work for our family. Our goal is to raise confident independent children and to get them there with love, support, and compassion."

 

  1. 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 often, but not as often as my husband who is a SAHD. We both started babywearing when our oldest was just days old, it’s a deeply ingrained part of parenting for both of us, and honestly, neither of us knows what we’d do without it. I cannot even imagine."

 

  1. 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!)

 

"There is nothing more beautiful to me than watching my children learn, understand, and begin to make choices. Watching your child’s personality emerge is paradigm changing. When they say, do, or ask something that you didn’t teach them, that spark of original thought or creativity is invigorating."

 

  1. 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?
"Everybody babywears in Eisenbergia! We haven’t used strollers with either of our children, so if we are out and about one or both of us is wearing. And I don’t have to tell you that when you add an additional kid into the mix, babywearing is indispensible. While wearing is utility for my husband it is art for me. There is nothing I love more than coming home from work and getting out a wrap, and watching my little one squirm and clap with delight at the prospect of snuggling up close with mama."

 

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

 

"Babywearing is as integral a part of motherhood to me as changing diapers. It has brought immeasurable joy to my life. The practice of babywearing is beautiful, stylish, and fun."

 

*Thank you so much Andrea for sharing a bit of your story with Poe. To hear more from Andrea, we highly encourage you to check out her fantastic blog entitled, The Maiden Metallurgist. Also, if you would like to learn more about 3.21 Carry or how to donate, please visit there website.

 


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