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Baby Carriers and Maternal Mental Health

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Baby Carriers and Maternal Mental Health

Twinmommy101

It’s hard to believe I began this journey almost 5 years ago- with a blog. It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update, but that's because there have been some REALLY BIG changes happening around here- including a shift in the focus and direction of Twinmommy101, the work I do, and the communities I strive to serve! Not to worry though, because babywearing will always be the “thing” around here! Why? Because it was the biggest game changer in my mom life.

 Six Flags Weekend (7/9)- 16 days before turning 5! 

Six Flags Weekend (7/9)- 16 days before turning 5! 

After my training with Center for Babywearing Studies in November 2015, the nerdiness behind the “hands free parenting” sales pitch became my reason for making my life’s work about babywearing. Lately though, I have been shifting my focus from carrier education to carrier advocacy. This shift is a result of the different roads life has taken me down over the past few years. What they have shown me is exactly how much work we have to do as a whole to better serve moms and their new babies. Pregnancy, birth, motherhood, and infancy should be experiences, not medically based (and possibly traumatic) procedures! We-collectively- should be supporting these rites of passage by creating more positive experiences within them.

With that said, I am pleased to announce the next step of my journey: promoting the baby carrier as a parenting tool that can help support other professionals who are already working with families and babies! I am honored to have had the opportunity to continue down this path by expanding my knowledge around perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) as a recipient of the Perinatal Action Fund Scholarship for Providers of Color through The Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for Woman of Color and Postpartum Support International and Postpartum Support International. 

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Did you know that 1 in 5-7 women suffer from a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder?
Women of color experience these at twice the rate and 60% do not receive treatment
— University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

If wearing a baby can: help reduce their crying, help support baby's development (on almost all facets), and even potentially help caregivers (specifically mom) cope with adjusting to the new lifestyle and demands of parenthood why wouldn’t we want to promote the use of carriers more? Think about it... what if your OB, child’s pediatrician, or any of the other people involved with your pregnancy, delivery, and/or postpartum experiences had introduced you to the concept of babywearing, and had even provided you with some carriers to explore with? Did any of them even stop to ask you how you were feeling (emotionally) and or check in about how you were adjusting to your new life and roles? As difficult as it may be to reflect on it, could that have made things different for you? (Please leave your answer in the comments because I am genuinely interested to know!)

Be sure to follow us on FB and IG as I keep you updated!  If you are a care provider, please contact me at payal@gentleparentingtwins.com. (Also feel free to forward this info to any relevant providers/resources you know! The more collaboration, the better!)

In the mean time, I thought a quick trip down memory lane was appropriate, especially considering we are about to celebrate our 5th birthdays! (Both my girls and my site!) 

My very first interaction with babywearing:

While working on my registry at Babies R Us, I inevitably came to the baby carrier aisle. My first instinctual thought was “PERFECT! This is EXACTLY what I need to survive being at home caring for twins by myself all day long!" Wrong! I didn’t even make it HALF way down the aisle because it was so intimidating and I completely wrote off babywearing as a practical option for me and my soon to be born babes.

About 2 months before I delivered, I saw a friend on FB wearing her baby. Thanks to her support I received help navigating around the world of baby carriers. She even loaned me a stretchy wrap to get started with! I practiced for six weeks before the girls joined us Earth side, but it wasn’t until six weeks AFTER that when I took my first dive into the deep end. (Thanks to my friend. I was scared I was going to "break the babies," so she came over to help!)  From that moment on, I knew that we were hooked for life. And we never looked back.

Look how far we’ve come:
I knew I wanted to do something special for the girls to look back on as they got older. Blogging was kind of the thing back in 2013, so of course I gave that a shot. Eventually my blog became a place for me to answer a lot of FAQ from cohorts and other parents about how I was managing my life with twins. Naturally, babywearing became the trending topic. I will never forget how hard I laughed when someone first suggested I take a certification class, yet here we are..... 

  • November 2015: completed Level I certification course (Foundations) through the Center for Babywearing Studies in CA.

In the months to come, my personal life underwent many many significant changes and I began embarking on a healing process that changed my life and my work forever.

  • February 2016: BOND Conference (NY); volunteer and attendee
  • May 2016: Bright Horizons Educator Award Recipient (WEAR Awards) 
  • October 2016: completed Level II certification course (Progressions)
  • February 2017:  Poster presenter at the National Perinatal Associtation's national conference;

The remainder of 2017 was left to dealing with personal crises, and trying to determine the next step for my business- so when the dust finally did settle, I would be ready.

  • February 2018, I slowly eased back into the community and carrier education, thanks to TheBrainery and the demand in the community.
  • July 2018: Perinatal Action Fund Scholarship for Providers of Color recipient; completed 2-day Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Components of Care Training; attended Postpartum Support International’s 31st national conference: Diversity & Culturally-Informed Services Track 

And it's only the beginning....