Hey Babywearing Mamas,
Like many of you, I started wearing my baby a couple of weeks after she was born (this past August!) and was quickly swept up into the amazing world of Babywearing. I loved the closeness of wearing my newborn, and the community I felt from realizing that so many other parents were also enjoying a similar experience. The “Babywearing chapter” in my Attachment Parenting books led me to explore this new world with a passion. Though overwhelmed (mostly by acronyms), I also felt invigorated to learn more.
My excitement started to fade when I realized that according to many of the communities I was participating in, I wasn’t a “real” babywearer: I was using a Baby K’Tan with my 6 lb. 14 oz. newborn, not a woven wrap or a WC (wrap conversion) of some kind. I started to see a hierarchy of sorts, a class system of Babywearing, where it is not just about wearing your baby, but *what* you wear your baby in. I quickly found myself a lovely striped Girasol, finally feeling like a “legitimate” babywearer.
Then I noticed “Stash Shot Saturday”, where people post photos of huge “stashes” all neatly folded in colorful piles, and people without stashes comment in shame about their “lack of a stash”. Then I realized even on other days of the week, my Facebook newsfeed was streaming with photos of stashes, and fluffy mail straight out of the package, and neatly folded wraps, and piles of carriers… But I felt a distinct lack of “babywearer” and “baby” in most of the photos I was seeing. “Ok, so I get that people have carriers to wear their babies”, I thought. “But WHERE do they wear them?!”
It was in response to these feelings that I decided to start this project called, “Where We Wear: A Collection of Babywearing Stories”. Inspired in part by The Joy Of This’s Birth Interview Project*, I thought it would be interesting to collect and feature babywearing interviews; our special fleeting moments of Babywearing and the stories behind them. “Where We Wear” is a blog (https://wherewewear.wordpress.com/) and Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Where-We-Wear/556661124368273); every day a different Babywearing “story” is featured. Babywearing parents (usually mamas) submit a photograph and answer five questions about their babywearing moment: who, where, when, what, and why.
Since starting this project a couple of months ago, many Babywearing mamas have reached out to me to share their stories and have commented on the stories of others. Veteran Babywearing mamas have also reached out, giving a listening ear to my thoughts and ideas, and sharing with me some of the history behind what I’ve perceived of as a materialistic/consumerist obsession with the WHAT of Babywearing, as opposed to the WHO, the WHERE, and the WHY.
I absolutely *get* the desire to own beautiful carriers. I am not hating on anyone’s stash, or questioning how people afford so many wraps, etc. That is none of my business. But I do believe that Babywearing should not be owned by those with the most/biggest/best wrap/WC collections. As a Babywearing mama I want to open up the community, to invite more people into this wonderful world of closeness with our children, to help mamas who have trouble affording carriers to find affordable options, to honor the long history of Babywearing in pretty much *every* culture around the world, to promote and normalize Babywearing (at least in my American culture), to make Babywearing accessible to parents who think strollers are the only option, and to shift the focus from what kind of wraps/carriers we use, back to why/where we Babywear in the first place!
I know I am not the only one who feels this way. I am thankful to have found this community, and thankful for the role Babywearing plays in my life. I hope you will all join me in this celebration of Babywearing!