Today is my 6th Mothers Day as a Mummy. My two beautiful boys are my world. Back in 2010 I was still at the start of my carrying journey and it was my first Mothering Sunday. My baby boy was just 7 weeks old. I was yet to discover the mass array of slings and carriers available. I was muddling through motherhood the best I could and learning on the job.
Unlike birds our babies cannot sit quietly in a nest. They are not like four legged mammals who can get straight up and walk and run with their mum from birth; they want to be held. They turn their feet towards each other to hold on, they grasp with their tiny hands. Babies are a clinging young. They need us and want us. Slings became my secret weapon to let me meet their needs (and hey mine – it meant I got to eat a meal while it was still hot for example). I didn’t need slings to be a mum but once I did discover them they definitely made me the mum I am. Slings and breastfeeding my babies (both till way over a year) became part of who I am. If they needed soothing because they were tired or upset these became my tools to calm them: Without them I think I would have gone mad.
I was muddling through motherhood the best I could and learning on the job.
Six years down the line slings are part of me. I have lost count of how many I have owned, holidayed and simply tried but they remain a constant. This week my youngest (2 years 10 months as the prescription form informed me yesterday) had an operation. A relatively minor operation to help his breathing overnight by removing his tonsils and adenoids (he was diagnosed just before Christmas with Obstructive Sleep Apneoa). However, the operation still required a general anaesthetic and a night in hospital. He is still feeling pretty rough five days later. While waiting nil by mouth for his operation he asked for a cuddle in the sling.
In the recovery room coming around from his anaesthetic he was screaming “Mummy ing” (he struggles with first sounds of words) over and over, back on the ward upset and feeling sore he asked for “ing” before falling asleep. That night when tired but scared because he was in a strange place he was wrapped to go to sleep and when I transferred him to the hospital cot he wrapped himself back up in the wrap using it like a blanket. We have had lots of sling cuddles since we got home. Slings to us both mean security and reassurance. They are also practical for me. He wants to be held but he is 14kg my arms simply won’t let me hold him for the length of time he wants to be held.
I did not need a sling to be a Mum, I probably could have muddled through without slings but I know they have made my life simpler and less stressful. I cannot imagine the start of my boys lives without them.
Motherhood to me means responding to my boys needs first and foremost; slings (and mummy milk) were my means to do this. Happy Mother’s Day to mummies everywhere. Treasure your babies for they for they don’t stay babies long. But they will always need their mum.