Motherhood does not come easily to us all, and it comes to us through a menagerie of different ways, biological birth, adoption, surrogacy. Many have to struggle with (and through) infertility, miscarriage and infant loss. Though the path may be different, the universal moment of having that baby, (or older child) in your arms brings us together.
A few observations I have made over the years: my tummy is not as firm as it once was. I don't wear make-up more than twice a month. I've gone from bikinis to tankinis. My style has become much more casual since I've become "Mommy", (AKA yoga pants and Hollister t-shirts), but that's ok. The murky waters of insecurity can bog a mama down. It's not easy for everyone to "come into their own" and find confidence in one's own skin.
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 Molly. Her gratitude, can-do attitude and steadfast devotion to family warm my heart and will warm your as well. Keep reading to learn more about the road Molly and her supportive (babywearing) husband took to parenthood.
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 Molly. I live in a very small town in Wisconsin with my husband, Tyler and our son, Parker (3 years old). Right now I am a SAHM who watches children in my home on occasion. In the past I was a nanny. A few facts about me.. My husband and I were high school sweethearts. We got married at the age of 20, we both turn 30 this year. We also battled and won against infertility. It took us almost 4 years to have our son so keeping him close (ie babywearing) is so important to us. When I'm not babywearing or watching kids I love to read and I love to bake. I am also very passionate about breastfeeding."
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.
"Motherhood came very natural to me and so far it's been everything I've hoped for. I think the fact that I had to try so hard to have my son really set the tone for our relationship. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel completely blessed to have my son. I think one of my greatest parenting accomplishments to date was letting my son self wean from breastfeeding."
3. Since giving birth, have you struggled with maintaining a positive body and self-image or self-esteem? What has helped? What has hurt? "During pregnancy I really struggled with the changes my body was going through and I wasn't happy with how I looked. Since I've had Parker however I've embraced my new "mom" body. I'm proud of how strong it is and how it was able to feed my son for so long. I know one thing that has really helped me is buying clothes that fit my new body and flatter it. I also try to eat healthy and stay active."
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 knew before I was even pregnant with Parker that babywearing is something I wanted to do. I did a lot of research online and joined a lot of facebook groups, like babywearing 102. There wasn't a local babywearing group when my son was born so I helped to start one. When I started babywearing I did it out of convenience since my son loves to snuggle but now I do it because I love to do it and because he loves it too."
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 have had such a great experience with the babywearing community both online and off. Some of the girls I've met in our local group are now my close friends."
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 consider myself somewhat AP. My family co-sleeps and we breastfed full term. We also did BLW with our son and try to stick to an organic/natural whole foods diet. But we also believe in vaccinations and think they are extremely important for not only our family but everyone elses. We also didn't have the set up to cloth diapers so we used honest company, seventh generation, or pampers disposables."
7. Do you babywear often? During which activities do you most often babywear? How has babywearing affected you as a mother and caretaker of small children?
"Now that my son is turning 3 we don't wear as often as we did. He recently had influenza and I'm not sure if we would have survived without our carriers. More often than not these days my husband is the one to wear since Parker is getting a little heavy for me. We typically babywear while cooking and while shopping. It seems like those are the two times that our son needs a lot of attention and snuggles. I'm not sure that I could do my past nanny job without babywearing, especially when my son was small."
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 so much about parenthood. I love reading to my child, he likes to stoke my hair and sit on my lap while doing so. I love watching him sleep, he looks so peaceful. I love watching him grow and learn new things."
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 son I feel like I can do anything. I love how close I feel to him and I know he loves it too since he requests uppies still. My entire family loves to babywear. I typically purchase wraps and carriers I know my husband will like."
10. And finally, what has babywearing meant to you? Does babywearing make you feel beautiful?
"Babywearing has meant so much to me. I love keeping my son close and babywearing makes that possible. I do feel beautiful when I babywear."
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Molly! That's so awesome that you helped to start a local babywearing group in your area, a resource for parents in your community for years to come! ~Nancy