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.
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.
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.”
"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.
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:
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.