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Slings & postnatal depression — Em’s story

sling postnatal depression
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Slings & postnatal depression — Em’s story

sling postnatal depression
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Carrying in slings has been a lifeline

Carrying my babies close to me in slings has been a lifeline with both of my children for different reasons. With my first, the reasons were more obvious. He was a refluxy baby who wanted me to hold him at all times and to sleep on me. Slings gave me freedom, and closeness with him. So, when I was expecting my second I planned to carry in slings from birth. Not least because I would have a 22 month old running around to chase after at the same time! However, I wasn’t prepared for postnatal depression.

Unprepared for postnatal depression

Every professional breezed through; second baby, breastfeeding established, lovely home birth, happy home, supportive husband, extended family and a great group of friends. All perfect, right? Nobody mentioned postnatal depression. I didn’t really notice what was happening at first. I struggled to deal with two children, and their demands on me. Just leaving the house was a struggle, everything felt like too much effort. My temper got away from me. Housework barely even registered. Some days I couldn’t even dress everyone.

I might have pulled past this without it really registering as anything beyond a “difficult” period; however, when my youngest was 6 months old my father became ill and had surgery. We had an unresolved argument about our relationship. We left things with both of us needing space, and a week later he died unexpectedly.

With me already teetering on the edge of postnatal depression this knocked me firmly over. I convinced myself that it was my fault that he had died; that I didn’t deserve happiness. I lost control of my temper constantly and felt that I couldn’t control anything. My family took the worst of this, my husband and oldest child in particular. I couldn’t get through even a few hours without screaming at them and needing to get them away from me.

Slings offered connection through postnatal depression

slings were a lifeline during postnatal depression

But throughout the darkness of postnatal depression I carried my kids in slings. I’d started a sling library just before I became pregnant with my second, and I used everything available to me. I firmly believe that carrying is the main reason I was able to recognise how bad it was getting. Both the physical act of holding my children close, and the network of support around the library helped me to recognise my situation.

Those moments of connection, with my children held close in a sling, gave me quiet moments of clarity. I was able to see how depressed I had become. When I found myself screaming in sheer frustration at how out of control everything was, I could sling a child. I could put a child in a sling and walk in the depths of postnatal depression, and just get away. The friends I made through my work at the sling library were there through everything. And finally, taking my year old baby for a walk on a family holiday, I realised how much I needed help.

My youngest baby turns three in a few short months, and times are still hard but getting ever better. I’ve had medication, counselling, and I’m always working on my mindfulness, and the balance I need in my life. I’ve forgiven myself a little for things that I cannot not change. I miss my dad. But I am still here. For me, slings were that little sliver of light I needed to pull myself out of the darkness of postnatal depression.

Slings are a parenting tool

Slings offered a glimmer of light through postnatal depression

Slings are only one parenting tool, but they can be an incredibly valuable one, and they can help in many ways. Whether you are experiencing postnatal depression, or simply need a practical tool, slings can help. They can provide skin to skin contact and physical closeness. You can use a sling to keep a baby with reflux upright. Babies who hate to be put down may be happy snuggled close to you in a sling.

Slings can enable you to look after your needs, like eating and going to the toilet, not to mention needing to be on the go to take care of older children, or even just allowing you to keep on heading over the fields to walk the dog, when a pushchair might not be convenient. They can also help you and your little one share experiences and get to know each other’s ways and experience the world together.

If you’d like to explore slings further here at It’s A Sling Thing— part of CalmFamily we offer both an online sling library rental and retail service so you can try carriers to help find one to suit yours and your child’s needs. We have four trained and experienced babywearing consultants in our team and can help advise you on options that may suit.

If you’d like any help at any point on your sling journey, why not get in touch by email, or call us on 01133 206 545 to book a FREE 15 minute phone consultation or a longer phone or video consultation. We can help you find the right sling for your situation

Meanwhile, find out more about slings, carriers and carrying in the carrying section of our Knowledge hub

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Carrying, Family mental health, Parents & families, Perinatal mental health, Post-natal period, Why carry
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