My last baby carrier arrived in the mail today. A wrap conversion Tula that I’ve always wanted, but could never afford to purchase. Last week it was on a swap page for a price I could finally afford and it was almost as if the universe was sending me a special gift.
You see, my son is nearing his fourth birthday, and just like every other “baby” journey we’ve shared together, I can sense this one is coming to an end as well. For some reason no matter how hard I try, my baby keeps growing up. There’s no feeling more bittersweet. How is it possible to feel so sad and so proud simultaneously?
In four short trips around the sun, we’ve gone from soft baby cheeks peeking over the rail of a ring sling, to long, lanky, tan legs dangling from my waist. From soothing an overly tired infant on my chest to never-ending stories and giggles from my back. I’m not ready for it to end. I’m not ready to admit that my baby is no longer a baby.
My goal has always been to raise an independent and confident child. That’s why I started babywearing in the first place. I wanted to bond with my baby, create that special relationship that allowed him to feel confident to explore because he knew there was always a safe space to return to. It’s almost as if babywearing has set us up for this exact moment. In a way, the end of our babywearing journey is a success story, not a sad ending.
Babywearing for me was a way of everyday life. Being a new mom with anxiety it helped me feel confident enough to leave my house alone with a baby. Let’s be honest, that’s scary even if you don’t have anxiety. When I had my son in a carrier we both felt secure. We felt love. We felt safe. As my son grew from a sleepy newborn to an active infant babywearing became a way to get stuff done. Managing a small business from home with an infant is hard, but there was babywearing, ready to save the day. And it did, time and time again.
Memories of countless adventures are held in the very fibers of the baby carriers hanging in my closet. Carriers that have helped us survive travel, illness, and sleepless nights. Carriers that have done more for us than simply keeping our hands free. Babywearing has made me the mother I am. It’s taken me from anxiety-ridden to adventure seeking. It has given me the ability to trust myself and my experience and created a bond with my son I couldn’t have established otherwise, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
These days he spends his time playing in the dirt, building and creating with his favorite toys. Showing off his “cool ninja moves” and telling stories to anyone willing to listen. He’s busy, in both mind and spirit. He has opinions and a strong sense of self. He’s everything I could hope for and more. My biggest accomplishment and most special adventure.
So here we are, two months short of a four-year journey. With the baby carrier I’ve wanted almost as long waiting by the front door. A carrier full of another family’s special memories, just waiting to make some of our own. Maybe it will be today, maybe it will be tomorrow. Whenever my big kid is ready, so am I.
by Hannah Hynson, CMA Babywearing Team