A child sleeping is so very sweet on so many levels. We watch their chest rise and fall. We sniff their hair. We weightlessly rest our hands on their backs. We smile, sigh, rest (briefly), and we wait. When we have a tool in our parenting toolkit that aids to usher in that rest, that calm in the storm of life, when we are on the go - we welcome it, with open arms, and in the case of babyweaing, we can wave with both hands. Need a high five? No problem.
This series, Babywearing Made Beautiful, 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.
Today's story comes to us from Marissa, who lives just across Lake Champlain from Poe, over in New York, but has a heart for babywearers all over the world. Marissa not only has a gift for encouraging, moms and dads to wear their babies, but she has a knack for finding new and undiscovered beauties in the community. I love her positive attitude and zest for life. She reminds me that babywearing is meant to be a help to parents, and that we should joyfully be in community together, supporting and encouraging one another, across brands, oceans, classes, and colors. Want to know what makes Marissa feel like Supermom, and why I think she just might be? Read on!
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)
"Marissa Dettmer, Ogdensburg NY, Married for 9 years to Jim mom to 3 (Alex 4, Ben 3, and Grace 1), Stay at home Mom! Best job ever! Crafter, Baker, and Home Chef!"
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.
"After trying for 4 1/2 years to have kids we were shocked to learn shortly after a breast-reduction we were expecting! Wow were we surprised! So surprised I called my mother and told her I didn't know how it happened, she just laughed at me. Then a whirlwind ensued called motherhood! Late nights, early mornings, and every time in between! A million diapers later and probably a million bottle feedings to I wouldn't change it for anything! I would do it again in a heartbeat! These have been the best 5 years ever! My biggest challenge has been breastfeeding. Even before having surgery there was a slim chance either way I would be able to. Despite repeated attempts and never wanting to give up we've made the decision to bottle feed with formula. The hardest part has been the feelings of failure and that insidious voice inside calling me a failure because my body could not do the thing it was created to do. But then I remind myself that my children are happy and healthy and thriving. I am so thankful that I haven't let that little voice destroy my happiness."
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 have always struggled with self esteem and body issues before having kids. Now after my body has been a home for three amazing little people I have come to love it! I couldn't possible hate something that brought three miracles into being. When my children and husband look at me they don't see fat, or lumpy, or any of a million negative things I might name, they see safe, snuggle, warm, cuddly, open arms, and more. They see the person that kisses boo boo's, that sits on the floor and reads books, fixes them there 10,000th peanut butter and jelly, they see the person that loves them beyond and above everything else. How could I not love that person."
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?
"Ahhh... Babywearing! 5 years ago babywearing was not nearly as popular and the wealth of knowledge hadn't grown as it has now. I wanted to wear but all that was easy to find were narrow based carriers and pouch slings. I was never comfortable in the first and the second always made me nervous. Then again with my second I tried and tried to love my narrow based carriers but couldn't. 3rd time was the charm. I was determined! I had started cloth diapering and the community would mention this carrier and that. I was intrigued and shortly after my daughter was born I purchased my first stretchy wrap a Boba! It was love! She was close and snuggle and I felt like super mom. As she grew my need for more information grew. I shortly moved onto my first SSC a Boba 3G. Still better but the woven community was calling to me. No groups close by I entered every giveaway possible. Than yay! I won. My first woven a Little Frog! I was off and running. My love has only grown and grown. The versatility the colors and patterns yes I was head over heals in love."
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?
"Now I am and Admin on a Babywearing Facebook page and 2 other Brand Fan pages. I also organize and keep track of a multitude of traveling wraps. I've met the most amazing Moms all over the world. The international online community is wonderful and welcoming. I have no local community so instead I'm building my own. I answer any question and try to share where to find more. There are of course always people within the community who are not as friendly. It has taken a bit if navigating to find a good fit but I'm finding my feet and my voice."
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?
"The first time I heard about "Attachment Parenting" I was like what is that and scampered off. I laughed after reading some information and moved on. It was all the things I thought of as good old fashioned how my parents and grandparents raised kids. We just make decisions that made sense to us. We talk about and agree on parenting styles and decisions. We don't like to call it anything. It's just how we were raised to parent."
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 baby/toddler/preschool wear as much as possible. My youngest is very unhelpful when it comes to picking up toys so she ends up on my back. If you come over for a meal yup there will be a child helping but you'll never know which one or two you'll find wrapped up with me. The boys both loved wrapped just to watch there favorite cartoon. The oldest like to be wrapped and then asks me to do lunges and squats. Anytime we leave the house you can bet one or two kids will be up in a wrap, SSC (soft structured carrier), or RS (ring sling). We carry when they need it or when chasing a child seems like a hassle. Wearing has made having 3 kids feel so much more manageable."
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!)
"The thing the makes me the feel the most beautiful as a mother is when I can spend time with my family. When we are reading, snuggling, playing, feeding, doesn't matter what the activity is as long as we are doing it together."
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 feel like supermom when I babywear! My Children love it as well, they feel safe and secure and have the best view of life. My husband has started to wear (yay) he prefers buckles and that's fine! I cannot contain my joy when I see my husband carry one of our children. It is wonderful to see the close time that they can share and I known my children love when they get a chance to be carried by daddy."
10. And finally, what has babywearing meant to you? Does babywearing make you feel beautiful?