When Donald and I brought our daughter, Charlotte, home from the hospital, the very first thing we slipped her into was a hand-me-down brown pouch. Let the baby wearing begin! We took her for a walk that first afternoon home. My body felt like it was falling apart. My back ached and my lungs were tired and it hurt to walk. But I marveled at my baby, safely tucked against my body and I felt whole.
How is it, I wondered, that everybody is continuing with their day-to-day business like nothing has happened? Charlotte is here, I thought. The whole world has changed.
Since that day, I have worn my child in all manners of carriers. In slings, in wraps, in pouches. I have worn her naked against my skin in the shower. I have worn her warmly enveloped in blankets and jackets. I have worn her in every position imaginable. I have worn her for short runs to the shop and I have worn her for five and six mile hikes through the hills.
But I have never again felt like babywearing has in any way been the vessel, if you will, for a bonding experience with my daughter.
Don’t get me wrong: I fully believe that carrying Charlotte to and fro has, undoubtedly, played a very significant role in our relationship. It’s just that I’ve felt like I bond with her no matter what we’re doing.
Then, yesterday, I decided to take advantage of the wind and have a long walk with Charlotte. I placed her into a structured front carrier and wrapped a blanket around her legs. And then, for no reason whatsoever, she looked straight up at me and laughed.
The child has been laughing for months, but for whatever reason, that particular giggle made my heart skip a beat. Sometimes it is the little moments like those that melt me the most. So we looked at one another for awhile, for quite a long while actually, before actually starting our walk. Just looked. And laughed.
And I found myself wondering how everybody else in the world could possibly be marching along as though nothing had changed. Because it was clear to me, as a woman falling ever more deeply in love with a child, that everything had.
What are some of your most cherished memories with your child(ren)?