Oscha model Diana shares her experience of how babywearing helped her daughter Elle, and made daily life that little bit easier after Elle contracted a virus during pregnancy.
When I was first introduced to baby wearing I had no idea how much a part of my life it would become and how deeply it would impact our family. Babywearing helped my oldest daughter do so much more than simply bond with us. It helped her experience the world in a way she may not have had the chance to otherwise. Do all babies benefit from wearing? I believe they absolutely can or do. However, our story is a little different from that of the “average” family.
I have been wearing my kids for over 8 years. My wearing journey began in 2009 after the birth of my first daughter, Mirielle, Elle for short. Eight days after Elle’s birth we were informed she’d been affected by a very common virus, CMV, which lead to her being diagnosed with many various medical conditions. We were sat down by her doctors and informed of all the deficits and difficulties she may face due to CMV.
Our world was rocked when she was 3 weeks old as we enrolled her in a medical study to help give her the best chance we could at survival. There was appointment after appointment after appointment. Tests, pokes, prods, results, findings and after all was said and done an overall feeling of helplessness as we realized there was nothing we could do to “fix” any of it.
Keeping up with all her diagnosis and trial entailed was a whirlwind. Therapies. Specialists. Medications. Watching her endure multiple procedures. Pure exhaustion. Severe feelings of failure. Anger. All of it. You never anticipate what being a parent of a medically fragile child might be like because you never think your child will be one, and then they are and eventually it becomes your normal.
Over the first few years of her life we watched timelines for milestones come and go. She didn’t walk, crawl or develop most skills “on time”. They happened when she was ready but not a moment before, if at all.
So you can get a little bit of perspective I will give you some additional info on my amazing kid. Due to the havoc CMV wreaked on her brain, she experiences seizures pretty much daily, this is called epilepsy. She has Cerebral Palsy on the right side of her body, Right Sided Hemiplegia. She was diagnosed with Perisylvian Syndrome which means her facial muscles are incredibly weak so she can not chew or form speech with her mouth. She is Deaf in her right ear. She communicates with American Sign Language primarily but the Cerebral Palsy also makes that a little difficult. I could go on but let us just say she has many additional needs and neurological issues to overcome every minute of every day.
We tried to keep our lives as “normal” as possible and do as many “normal” things as we could with her but it was often overwhelming for all of us. Wearing her changed all of that. Wearing her allowed us to keep her close and still be active. It gave us the ability to help her rest when she was overworked and overtired. We could comfort her when she couldn’t comfort herself.
As the months and years progressed we could show her experiences she couldn’t do on her own. It’s important to our story to state that when her brain was overworked she would lose the ability to function rationally, and even sometimes physically, beyond just the seizures.
When she couldn’t walk we could carry her without tiring out thanks to babywearing. When her brain was too tired from filtering sound, controlling her body, avoiding seizures and doing regular tasks, we could keep her close and safe and take the strain of daily life off of her brain thanks to babywearing. When she wanted to watch the parades or hike the trails or do anything else a kid her age could do WE COULD HELP make that happen thanks to babywearing. Babywearing gave my family the tools to help save her brain, her muscles and her overall health. I know that sounds extreme but I truly believe she would not be the child she is today had babywearing not been a part of our lives.
Read more about the benefits of babywearing here.
If you’d like some tips on getting started, read our: Top Tips For Getting Started Blog Post