Sarah is a mama of three boys and a co-founder of Lift Me Up: Babywearing to Thrive. She has her doctoral degree in physical therapy and currently practices in pediatrics. Knowing the developmental and physiological benefits it provides, Sarah recommends babywearing to her patients whenever appropriate. Sarah’s expertise is invaluable to the process of Lift Me Up. She reviews every application very carefully, and personally contacts each family to learn more about any specific needs and situations. With her expertise in physical development, along with her years of babywearing experience, Sarah works with the family to choose the most appropriate style and size of carrier to fulfill the child’s needs.
Here is the story of Sarah’s personal babywearing journey:
He was only a few days old when I realized that motherhood was not coming as naturally as it was supposed to, and this mama was having a hard time. I grew up in a relatively large family, babysat regularly and always loved being around children. So, after getting married and finishing my education, I was excited to have a family. I was sure motherhood was going to be my strong point in life. In fact, as a young girl, when people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response was always “a mama.” Somehow I found myself in a career that I LOVED, but I knew I’d love motherhood more. You can imagine my surprise when I realized that this motherhood stuff wasn’t smooth sailing. When he was exactly two weeks old, I posted a Facebook status that, unknowingly at the time, changed my world as a mother through one short sentence: “this was much easier when we were a package deal.” It truly was. I thoroughly enjoyed my pregnancy and bonded well with my unborn child. In pregnancy, I was gratefully able to continue with all of my regular activities, including running until late in pregnancy, organizing, planning, making lists and more lists, checking things off of said lists, shopping, decorating, and spending time with family and friends. Preparing for such a beautiful change in life was so exciting! But, after the moment of his birth, the excitement drained quickly; a siphoning far out of my control. For me, the reality of being a first time mama with a newborn, proved to be difficult and I was disappointed that I didn’t have more joy. I often felt isolated from all that I had once enjoyed and I had a difficult time saying goodbye to my pregnancy and pre-mama days.
The result of that facebook status was my introduction to babywearing. “Have you tried wearing him?,” questioned my friend, MJ. I had the typical “gateway carriers,” but I felt overwhelmed at the idea of learning something ELSE new amidst the newborn stage. I used those carriers for occasional walks but, at the time, didn’t realize the benefit that wearing him as a lifestyle, would bring. After going to my first babywearing meeting when he was eight weeks old (a quaint group of four mamas!), I brought home a borrowed Didymos Eva that I loved. And I was hooked. I found a way for us to be a ‘package deal’ again. Perfect. With a woven wrap, I gained back a new form of freedom and slowly, but SURELY, solidified my bond with my baby. I will be forever grateful to my friend, MJ, who knew the words that I needed to hear in response to my plea for help. Moreover, I feel blessed on a regular basis that it only took eight weeks to find a way, through babywearing, to bring out the love that I knew existed for my little one but just didn’t know how to tap into. While the experience was difficult to endure, I often look at my oldest son and feel so much gratitude for lessons he has taught me in motherhood.
It was six months after my oldest was born, and four months into my babywearing journey, that I changed jobs to work with children who have special needs; newborns of just days old and on up. As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, positioning for optimal development was regularly presented as a concern. With increasing options for “container” type toys sold in most baby stores (ie: infant seat, swing, exersaucer), my job in promoting proper positioning and mobility, was made all the more difficult. Many times, these types of devices are used so that caregivers can be hands-free while the child is supported in play, however, they limit the ability for the child to participate in open ended play and properly interact within their environment. Not to mention the stress they cause to the developing bone structures due to gravity. Babywearing is my recommended solution to, not only continue to provide caregivers with respite, but to actively participate in their child’s development. Whether it is hip and spine alignment, sensory needs, static stretching, kinesthetic awareness, vestibular input, positioning to decrease reflux or securing the parent/child bond, babywearing provides children with the best start in life AND the ability to take on challenges, knowing that their basic need for touch is met.
My personal passion for babywearing has now grown into a tool often used in my professional career. In this way, babywearing has come full circle for me. I once needed it desperately and someone helped me find my way. Now, I can pass along the love, practicality, and developmental benefits to others, knowing that it is helping to accomplish the goals that the family and I create together for their child with special needs.