I had a very clear image of the new mother I would be – and she would be wearing her baby, damn it.
Something about galavanting around town with my child expertly wrapped around my torso just said, “Hey everyone! I’ve got this mothering thing down!” In reality, this woman I had pictured in my head with the baby wrap, the Venti Starbucks in one hand, and the giant glasses on her face, was clearly some celebrity from the pages of People magazine or something. I remember being inundated with images of new moms looking amazing and doing their mom-things. They were always wearing their babies.
Okay, she’s not a celebrity – but look at her. I’m pretty sure this is her internal dialogue: I’m totally hands free! I’m in Paris! I look amazing! Is there a baby on me? I can hardly tell. I’m clearly the perfect mother. My internal dialogue was more like, Does this baby make me look fat? I was too freaked out to use the cute wraps, so I settled on the Ergo. I loved it and it was super comfortable, but the padded shoulder straps made me look like a linebacker. Oh well.
From an outsider’s perspective, new moms always looked so comfortable wearing their babies. My mom friends who did never mentioned anything about being concerned that they were suffocating their new, little human or that they were convinced they would drop him. How could they not mention that? It was all I thought about.
I wanted to be walking around, giggling, running errands and occasionally cooing at the cute little bundle of joy happily asleep on my chest. Instead, I was totally convinced the straps weren’t going to hold and supporting his weight with my hands the entire time. I was also totally convinced that he couldn’t breathe in there – so whatever time that wasn’t spent making sure I was supporting his weight with my hands, was spent peering at his face, trying to hear his breath, or giving him extra space to be sure I wasn’t crushing him.
As a new mother, my baby-wearing expectation was this: it would be convenient, easy, and second-nature. The reality? I was paranoid, uncomfortable, and I’m pretty sure I looked ridiculous. If you’re a new parent, and the reality of wearing your baby is totally ruining the fantasy of what it would be like – don’t worry. Like everything else about new parenthood – it gets better.