Being a city mama, I knew ahead of time, when I was pregnant, that babywearing would be my main means of transporting my tot. Our monster of a stroller would be reserved for days spent in our neighborhood (i.e., no subways involved) or when my husband was with us for weekend adventures. But for the day-to-day, babywearing it would be.
I gave birth at a hospital in our neighborhood, and the day we took our baby daughter home last summer, my husband was actually the first person to wear her so I didn’t put any weight on myself during the walk home. It was the cutest thing ever: she was just big enough to be worn at all, and her tiniest baby feet peeked out the bottom openings for my swooning pleasure. But from then on, it was my turn, and I loved every moment of the experience.
I wore her everywhere — even just around the house. It allowed for her to nap in longer stretches so I could get basic household chores done and even some computer work — even though typing around her little body was sometimes difficult, it helped me meet those deadlines.
During those first few months, my baby girl grew — rather quickly. In the blink of an eye, I had a 14-pound babe that I was carting around everywhere, and even though it was still a great bonding experience, it also turned into a workout. And you know what? I was starting to feel like a badass every day of my life because of it.
We all know that the first year after having a baby is tough. Our hormones are all out of whack, we look in the mirror to see a body we don’t recognize, and some days we’re lucky to find time to sleep or shower. Like any new mom, I wasn’t really feeling like myself. My daughter created a shift inside me that was almost tangible.
I was kind to myself, though, and gave myself time to work through the cycle of postpartum emotions. And when I strapped that baby carrier to me and placed our little nugget inside, I felt like I could take on the world. I suddenly had two hands again! Two hands to be used for all my mom duties while my daughter slept soundly. It might sound silly to some, but I feel like babywearing kind of saved me.
When it came to starting a fitness routine again, I slowly crept back into that too. About eight weeks postpartum, I got sick of the slow-paced postpartum yoga and started with some squats and weights while my little bundle was cozied up right next to my heart, and it felt great. I was able to involve her in almost everything I did while slowly starting to feel like my prepregnancy self again.
And because my little girl gained weight at such a rapid pace (yup she’s a cute little chucker that you want to squeeze all day long), so did my strength. Babywearing added a lot of extra weight for me to cart around — with an equally heavy diaper bag backpack doubling my load. I felt stronger every day and especially every time we left the house. I felt my self-confidence begin to build again, and a lot of it is down to babywearing.
Since I became a mom, I believe the phrase “strong is the new sexy” more than ever because I genuinely began to feel that. I want my kids to look up to a strong mom who takes on each day and its challenges head-on and knows within my every movement, every decision and every example that I show them, it’s powered by confidence and strength.
Thank you, babywearing, for helping me reconnect with myself postpartum.