I’m sure you don’t know many moms in wheelchairs, but I am one. In fact, I became a wheelchair user the day I became a Mom. It was October 2004, and I received an epidural injury during the birth of my first child. My left leg is paralyzed and I use a wheelchair as my primary source of mobility.
Adjusting to life in a wheelchair wasn’t easy, but adjusting to parenting from a wheelchair was even harder. I spent many frustrating hours trying to safely move and carry my newborn on my lap, while simultaneously operating my wheelchair. It seemed an impossible feat and it wasn’t until a few weeks in that a lightbulb went off in my head and I quickly began Babywearing as a desperate measure. It was amazing!
The concept of Disabled Babywearing is simple. By having my hands free, I can do everything I needed to do for my little one- all from my chair. I wish that back in 2004 we had cellphone cameras in every hand, but alas we did not and so there are very few images of me as a new mom, and none of me babywearing. If there had been, you’d see me as I am now- 12 years later, with my third newborn baby in a carrier, a huge smile on my face and rolling about in my wheelchair. In fact, my 3rd son was born twelve years after my first, right down to the day! These twelve years have taught me a lot. Including a lot about Babywearing.
I love that I can independantly care for my children, right from birth. I love that my husband and my older son don’t have to worry about leaving me alone with our two other children (currently ages 3 years, and 9 months) because I can do everything I need for them- all by myself.
Those words seem silly to able-bodied moms, I’m sure. In fact I’m sure that if I weren’t disabled I would take for granted the simple act of caring for my children all by myself. I can strap on the baby and chase about my toddler. And my husband can wear our toddler while we shop, and I can keep up easily in my wheelchair while wearing the baby.
I now own FIVE baby carriers, in addition to my first carrier – the Infantino I bought all those years ago. My two K’Tan wraps, my Maman Kangourou meh dai, my Boba 4G buckle carrier, and my stunning Fidella Fly Tai meh dai carrier. I recommed all of these carriers for Disabled Babywearing.
If you happen across a caregiver with a disability, including a wheelchair user, please let them know about Disabled Babywearing. Tell them about me! It will change their life.
And even if you and all the other parents in your life are completely able-bodied, Babywearing can change your lives too. I mean, every mom out there needs to have her hands free!
janie vezina says
this is so inspiring. babywearing is so awesome.
Marie Lowther says
This is an inspiring story! So glad you can baby wear!
Erin B. says
Wow! That is so wonderful that you found baby wearing and it has made parenting easier! Way to go!
What an amazing and inspirational blog! Very very excellent read.
Alysha fisher says
I love that you shared. Brings awareness to babywearing and that medical accidents can happen??
Thank you .
Leigh Williams Kitchens says
You are an inspiration and a resource to all caregivers both those with physical challenges & the able bodied. I wore my babies back in the 80’s and loved how I could actually get some work done & keep them content at the same time. I’ve tried wearing my grandson some but my spine just won’t let me anymore which makes me a bit sad. But life is full of adjustments and adaptations for all of us at some point. I’m happy to be able to get down on the floor & play with him & let him ‘help’ with the diaper laundry!
Thank you Leigh! That’s very sweet of you to say.
Ashley Chassereau Parks says
I can’t imagine the challenge of having to learn to care for a newborn and learn to get around in a different way all at the same time. You are an inspiration!! I love baby wearing too… I like to keep baby close and it helps so much being hands free with other little ones to care for. I still have trouble getting the wraps right though. I use more structured carriers, but I really want to get the hang of this linen wrap I have… its so beautiful!!