Babywearing is My Super Power Over PPD

Posted on January 03 2019

Babywearing is My Super Power Over PPD

Here’s a revelation for you. Motherhood is complicated. Shocking, right!? A laughable statement, I’m sure, but as trite as it may be, I’m not sure there’s another word in the English language that quite covers it. Chaotic, maybe? But not always. Amazing, certainly. But not all of the time. I joke, as I’m sure others have, that having a baby was the best and worst thing that I’ve ever done. I have never felt so much love and pride in my life, I have never been as tired. I have never wanted time to both speed up and slow down as much as I do now. I’ve never been as excited or as scared. I’ve never felt as much pleasure or as much pain. Thinking back, though, I think that the hardest and most wonderful complication was the process of recreating my identity.


Postpartum depression takes what should be the best time of your life and turns it into one of the worst. When your hormones go crazy, and your nipples are sore, and you’re sleep deprived, it’s hard enough to function, but PPD adds a whole new level of difficulty. I hate admitting this, but I resented my son for a few weeks in the early days. After my husband started working again after his paternity leave I was home alone all day with this creature that took everything from me and gave nothing in return (or so it felt). I had lost myself to this boob-obsessed screaming little monster. After weeks without a REM cycle, I had no idea who I was anymore. I wasn’t Becky the teacher, I wasn’t Becky the writer, I wasn’t Becky the artist, I wasn’t Becky the wife. Everything that had become a part of the definition of myself had vanished.


When Simon was about seven weeks old, a lactation consultant finally picked up on my PPD, and after a just a week of medication, I broke down on the phone crying and called my mom in tears, “Mom, I get it. I love him.” This is the reason I affectionately refer to my Prozac as my “love my baby pill,” but that’s another story for another time. The other thing that helped to pull me out of my depression was discovering babywearing. I had used a Boba wrap and loved it, and I remember feeling so proud of myself for learning how to maneuver this ridiculously long piece of fabric.


That pride turned into awe when I went to my first babywearing meetup. I need to shoutout to my beloved tribe, “Humans Wearing Baby Humans of Long Island,” because, well, it’s all their fault. At that meetup, I was taught how to use a woven wrap, I touched a gorgeous handwoven, and I met my soul-mom. I went home and immediately joined Babywearing on a Budget and The Babywearing Swap. I was hooked.


It didn’t take me long to realize that the reason I had become obsessed with looking at all of the beautiful wraps out there was because they were a way to express a piece of my identity that I felt like I had lost. Babywearing allows for a sense of style and artisanship. I could pick a piece of artwork that spoke to me and said something about me, but that incorporated who I was becoming as Becky the mother.


My babywearing stash is not as big or impressive or stunning as some I’ve seen, but it’s so representative of ME. My Kalleigh Designs “Flight of Freedom” wrap is a gorgeous homage to Harry Potter, my “Leaf on the Wind” Kinderpack is a Firefly tribute awesome enough that it’s become my husband’s carrier. My Neobulle ring sling is named “Simon,” and so I had to get it. My wrap conversion Connecta is the gorgeous jewel tones that my friends describe as “Becky colors.” I won’t bore you with the rest, but as it stands, each wrap or carrier I have holds an emotional significance to me and expresses a piece of my identity.


Babywearing led me down a path of discovery that helped me develop a new sense of self without sacrificing some of the things that I valued and enjoyed in my life before I had a child. I could be Becky the writer (I just write about babywearing!), and I could be Becky the teacher in the lending libraries that I’ve been involved in. Becky the artist learns how to do fancy finishes and Becky the wife has a 7-hour long last minute adventure to Chicago with a baby on her back the whole time.


When you think about it, almost thirty years of crafting an identity is a long time. And to throw another life into that mix-- well, it makes total sense that one would struggle (or so I like to tell myself). Being a new parent is scary, and lonely, and life-changing. But with babywearing came a new sense of both unity and self. I found something that allowed me to simultaneously express my individuality, but also invited me to be a part of a world of cultural diversity, support, respect, and community.


Becky Goldberg Petty


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