I remember going to a La Leche League meeting when my oldest son was just two weeks old. I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, and unprepared. “Have you tried a carrier?” someone asked me. “I have this thing, but I don’t know how to use it!” I blurted out through a teary haze.
My tears were short lived, because somehow, that day, two amazing women pulled me aside and shared a spark of hope. As they helped me wrap my newborn in the cozy comfort of a ring sling, I felt my shoulders relax just that tiniest bit. I felt like I might be able to use the restroom alone, like I might be able to feed myself. Like maybe someday I’d be human again. I left feeling just a tiny bit more capable, empowered, and… well, still overwhelmed, but at least hopeful.
That was the beginning for me. I laugh and joke that I lived in the sling the next 8 months of my son’s life – although I’m sure I had some showers and naps in there somewhere! – but really, it was that night that created a spark of hope in me.
I see myself in others now, nearly 7 years later. They come with their tired eyes. Their defeated eyes. Their frustrated eyes. They come with sleeping babies (why do they sleep during the day, but never at night?!), with spit-up in their hair, on gallons of coffee. Nobody has told them. Nobody has prepared them. Because how can anyone prepare you for never sleeping, breastfeeding troubles, and the mommy wars?
With a smile, I greet them. “Have you tried a carrier?” I ask this question with a bounce in my step. With hours of sleep under my belt, and all of the empathy in the world. And as I ask, I am ever so thankful for the spark of hope that I have to share, and hopeful that someday that little spark will catch and that we will have a new torchbearer.