Babywearing – an extension of love
Artipoppe Babywearing Story | By Francesca Orlando
I always knew I wanted to carry my baby, even before I got pregnant. When my son was born, I had quite an impressive collection of carriers already…
It all began a few years ago. I was attending a conference in the Bay Area, and a colleague and acquaintance of mine had just had a baby. She came to this 4-day conference with her 6-month old daughter, whom she carried everywhere in an Ergo. The last day I ran into her in the morning, she was outside one of the conference rooms, rocking her fussy baby to sleep. She looked tired and sad; she looked out of place. Call it sisterhood, call it intuition, but I looked at this mother and her baby and I felt that she needed a break. When I approached her and asked her if she wanted to attend any lectures, she nodded. I offered to take her baby for a couple of hours so she could get a break and go to the lecture. I had seen her wearing the baby around the convention center, so I asked for a carrier instead of the stroller. I wore that baby for 3 hours. She fell asleep within minutes and we snuggled for a long time. I loved it so much that when my colleague was done with the lecture I told her to go enjoy some lunch. I told her that I did not want to wake her baby up… but really, I was soaking in every moment.
It wasn’t until 3 years later that my little one was born. The first time I wore Liam, he was 6 hours old. We had a very long, traumatic birth experience. After 2 days of labor, the last thing I wanted was to put my baby in the basinet to catch some sleep. The ring sling I took with us to the birthing center (we were sent to hospital after the first day of labor) was just perfect to hold him close and safe. When I was asked to write my babywearing story, I asked my husband Steve what he thought my BW experience was like, he said “Your baby wearing story is about how wearing Liam is an extension of your love for him, another way to care for him and cherish him”. I could not have said it better. Keeping my baby close has helped me overcome fears that I started to experience during labor and after my son was born. I am sure that to some extent all new mothers go through this. I was petrified; I literally was unable to put my baby down. If I did put him down, I was unable to leave his side. Leaving his side would leave me unable to catch my breath.
While trauma has been a part of my birth story, wearing Liam has helped me care for my beautiful boy while trying to carry on with my life.
This is one part of my story.
The other part has to do with my relationship with my body. Creating a life and birthing a baby has completely changed my body. I have not been the nicest person to myself, and I have struggled for months to come to terms with the fact that I was not going to get my old body back. Of course not. I am not my old self. Why should my body be? Wearing my son has allowed me to adorn my body and his with amazing works of art. It has made me feel beautiful and learn how to love this new body of mine. My stash is not as big as it used to be. I have less than 20 wraps right now. Most of them are Artipoppe. “Why Artipoppe?” Many ask. I admire the woman behind the brand. I admire Anna as an entrepreneur, a woman and a mother. Her knowledge and use of rare and exotic fibers is insuperable. I have tried over 50 Artipoppe wraps in my 26 months of baby wearing. Artipoppe has yet to release a wrap that does not make me swoon. Artipoppe has also been involved in fundraising and charity work. I feel blessed to have been able to support some of their charity work by bidding and winning the auction for the Syrian refugees. The wraps that Anna donated raised funds to support The Urban Babywearer. The auction wraps will never leave. They are our legacy wraps and hopefully one day I will wrap my grandchildren in them.
While there are many great wraps out there, Artipoppe wraps marry my love for babywearing to my love for textile. My mother was a tailor and growing up I spent countless hours in her workshop. I would intently look at her as she drew models, cut fabric, sew parts together. I remember the brides coming in for fittings. My favorite things were the coats she made. I played with fabric scraps throughout my childhood, the best silks, the taffetas, the camel… Beautiful memories. My favorite part was when my mom had scraps for me to play with. As I grew older, I started using those scraps to make clothes for my dolls. I never followed my mother’s footsteps. I am not as artistic, nor as talented. But the love for luxury fibers has remained. My wrap collection is a testimony of that. As my babywearing days wind down, and there is not another baby in sight yet, I know that my love for wraps will stay forever, and some of these amazing woven wraps will stay with us forever too.
Nowadays wrap cuddles may be far and few. I wish I could stop these moments and make them last forever.