Having 2 free hands when baby first comes along is rare, and as time goes on can lead to you feeling unable to do even the simplest of tasks. Whilst in the grand scheme of things it is only a few week/months, at the time it can feel like forever.
When i had my first baby i was a mere 20 years old. I was, unlike most of my friends, an ‘old spirit’ inside a young persons body. I had my own home, job and loving partner, most things it takes until you are well into your mid to late 20’s to achieve.
I made a concious decision to have a family young, my own mother had died at 43 and most of my childhood is memories of her being ill, so i wanted to make sure i was young and healthy for my children.
I thought i was ready for a baby………i was so wrong.
My first attempt at putting a nappy on, i thought was perfectly acceptable. That was, until the midwife picked baby up and the nappy fell off. It was like a scene from a comedy sketch. The nappy literally just slipped straight off onto the bed, meconium smeared up babies back, the midwife raised her eyebrow in a disapproving grimace, asking if it was ‘dads first nappy change’. I felt too embarrassed to correct her.
It’s this assumption, that mums should know what they are doing, that i feel makes us feel even more alienated from our pre-baby life. One minute you are rocking about only worrying about when you last ate and whether or not your outfits are colour co-ordinated and next thing, getting changed is a daily success, let alone trying to actually place a morsel of food in your mouth.
The media makes you feel like you need to be a ‘yummy mummy’ and have snapped back to a size 0 within days. Which for 99.9% of the population is never going to happen! I felt more ‘scummy mummy’ daily showers and baths were a thing of the past and after 6 weeks my belly still wobbled like a bowlful of jelly and i had to invest in a pair of ‘suck it all in granny pants’ after 3 months (when i went to a family wedding) in desperation to hide my mummy tummy.
Babywearing allowed me to get my hands back, even 16 years ago when i first started wearing my children and slings just were not something you could get your hands on easily unlike today. It was a revelation. I could eat, hoover up, wash the dishes all in relative ease and baby was happy right where they wanted to be, close to me listening to the thurump of my heartbeat, cocooned in the carrier like an outside womb.