Due to personal reasons I’ve been needing to take some time away from West Kent Sling Meet/Have Child, Will Carry lately.
I’ve thought hard about this and have written, deleted and then re-written this post several times already.
During the six weeks I was unwell at the beginning of the year I had lots of time to think about everything and the level of service that I as one woman spinning too many plates am able to sustainably offer you. I began to feel that maybe it’s time to to step away.
That coupled with some personal challenges meaning I don’t currently feel that I’m firing on all my cylinders.
As a result of this I think it’s only fair to all of you (and to myself) that I step down from running West Kent Sling Meet. I’m still trying to work out when is best for me to stop. I was planning on cancelling this Friday’s session but I can’t bear the thought of letting some of you who have emailed me lately down.
I will commit to offering sling meets this Friday (5/5/17) and the usual 3rd Friday of this month (19/5/17) as the last one (I WILL be emotional I warn any of you who attend this one now because I’m weeping a bit just writing this!!!)
Running the sling meet is so much more than simply bringing my stash of dolls, wraps & carriers to the meet every couple of weeks. There is a fair bit of admin for every hire from both the meets and the online postal hires along with the daily attention needed to reply properly to the large amount of emails and messages from the several social media accounts associated with both West Kent Sling Meet & HCWC. Even with all that and the maintenance/laundry and accounts it STILL hasn’t felt like much work though because I have totally LOVED doing it and before it was me on my own Vicky and the other women who we founded the West Kent Sling Meet over four years ago I know felt exactly the same as I do. We are all still passionate about the many benefits of carrying a child close to your heart.
But, ever since I suffered with Pneumonia at the beginning of the year I’ve realised in all honesty that I’ve been struggling to manage it on my own and it’s not the kind of project that can just run itself. It’s also not fair to any of you to ‘half’ run it either!
I appreciate that this is frustrating news if you were planning on needing my help and or if you are currently pregnant so I will be checking and replying to/directing any of you who need my help to other local people/services.
I will be able to offer some limited hires/postal hires to anyone who is really in need and can’t access a wrap/carrier from elsewhere too all the time I still have my carrier stash.
I cannot tell you how much joy I have had from meeting so many of you over the years, you’ve made running a non-profit unsalaried job feel the best paid job in the world with all of your love, kind words & support.
I am really, really happy that we now have more fantastic sling meets/trained consultants across Kent than we did when we first started out four years ago when there were only a few. Its this increase in local meets that have helped me to come to this decision for a break from hosting because I know that there will be lots of local support on offer still for you all.
I will list some of the other local meets and some wonderful fellow UK wide postal hire libraries below so that you can use them in my absence if you’re not already.
I’m still here and happy to help but will just need to feel less pressure for a while and to have some time to figure things out.
Any carriers currently with people can still be returned or extended as usual so don’t worry.
Have Child, Will Carry will definitely still exist and will continue to live on in one form or another and the shop will remain open for the moment too while I decide what to do next and take a bit of time to paint in my shed, to continue my creative support volunteering at Hospice In The Weald and to maybe even time to focus on my weaving too perhaps? (I’ve had the same warp on my loom for over a year now!) and maybe even get some paid work somewhere too if anyone will ever employ me! 😜
Thanks for reading and apologies for the waffling writing style, it was not an easy thing to type and I’ve had to just get it typed out in whatever way I could before I bottled it!
Lots and lots of love and also mega thanks to those of you who have been super patient with my slowness/disorganised nature of late!
Links to other local meets/libraries (and some postal hire services)
We have a FANTASTIC Kent Community Babywearing Facebook group which is a fab place to ask questions and to find your local support/sling meets. It can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/730590253722195/
Hold Me Close (based in Marden and covering surrounding area) – consultancy and sling meets
When our littlest ‘Bobbin’ was small we’d use a wrap or carrier every day, sometimes for practical reasons like shopping trips or school runs and sometimes we’d carry her solely for emotional and comfort reasons; because life can be especially overwhelming/exhausting when you’re small!
Over the last few years our ‘uppies’ have become very infrequent, her wonderfully strong legs and fiercely independent personality serve her very well which makes me very happy.
I do however still use a ring sling as a scarf (or have it in my bag) for day trips/long car journeys ready for any falls/grazed knees, tired legs or car breakdowns etc, though it’s rarely needed as luckily we’ve always been very fortunate in those areas of life *touches wood*.
The times when we have been grateful to still have the babywearing/child-carrying tool in our parenting tool box is in times of illness or distress! I started out my carrying journey thinking carriers were only useful for the first few months of a child’s life, but I cannot count the amount of times it’s saved the day!
Even as we’ve stopped using them frequently the last couple of years we’ve gone through a couple of periods of night terrors and the ability to scoop her up while she was still fast asleep (but distressed) and carefully wrap her on my front in a very messy (but perfectly adequate for the job) Front Wrap Cross Carry. For us personally it’s always been a fantastic aid, as soon as she feels the support of the fabric around her she calms down instantly and stays fast asleep meaning we can transfer her back to bed. Possibly because she’s always been carried so maybe the familiarity is comforting, every child is different though. When she’s poorly and distressed it can be very handy to be able to pop her on my back so I can still prepare dinner or get stuff done but without feeling torn between the ability to comfort AND still be functional.
The inspiration for this post though comes from a very rare request to be carried today which for me thinking about how useful it can still be.
Tomorrow we have a bit of a testing day ahead of us, our littlest Bobbin has an eye operation and is having a general anaesthetic for it. It’s not major surgery and we know that she will be really well looked after but we’re all a little bit anxious and it’s a bit of a trigger for my husband and I after our shared experience of birth trauma/hospitals. But, we have our ‘game faces’ on and by this time tomorrow we’ll be through it!
So when Bobbin came into the bedroom carrying her current favourite rainbow ring sling from my consultancy stash this morning and wanted a cuddle who was I to say no?
We had a fairly brief cuddle and made each other laugh, shared some thoughts about tomorrow and told each other we’d all be okay. Then off she ran in search and of her favourite Studio Ghibli film and her toy bunny and I went back to my HUGE pile of washing feeling very grateful for my ability to tighten a ring sling with a wriggly five year old in it!
Needless to say it’s definitely going in the hospital bag tomorrow even if it’s just used as a comfort blanket!
Do any of you still carry your ‘big kids’ from time to time? If so what are your favourite methods!
Love and babywearing hugs
I was so grateful for the incredible support you all gave after I shared my personal experience of babywearing after birth trauma (link opens in new window) you all blew me away with the comments, the shares and the personal messages you sent me. I was a soggy, blubbery but happy mess thanks to you!
So I’d like to say thank you for being so bloomin’ lovely by giving away this STUNNING ring sling from my lil’ online/pop-up shop stock.
The reason I picked this one is because I also have one personally that I use as my demo ring sling during sling meets and consultations and every time I use it it makes me smile! It’s so cushy and lovely to use plus as you can see I’m pretty in love with rainbows which made it the perfect prize.
I’m hosting this giveaway across most of our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) , so if you would like to enter to win this BEAUTIFUL Didymos Lisca white rainbow ring sling see below.
LIKE/FOLLOW the Have Child, Will Carry social media accounts. (The links are on this site at the side and I’ll list the names below too.)
SHARE the giveaway image (see image below which has the hashtag featured)
and USE the hashtag #havechildwillcarryIBW2016 so I can find/count your entries.
Be careful to get it right otherwise I won’t see your entry!
Entries close on Friday 14th October 2016 at Midnight and I will aim to draw the winner either that night or on Saturday.
Terms and conditions:
This is a U.K. only giveaway and includes postage (2nd class signed for).
You do need to be 18 years or over to enter.
One entry per household per social network a maximum of three entries per person (one per social media platform)
No cash alternative is available. No purchase needed to enter.
This competition is run by me (Kitty Forrest) Trading as Have Child, Will Carry and does not have any association with Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
I’ll announce the winner and will tag them on each of the social media platforms and then they will need to contact me via email or PM within 28 working days after this time if I haven’t had any contact in that time then I will re-draw a new winner.
You can visit the shop to see what other Didymos goodies I have in stock at the moment!
I’m only a small homegrown and home based one woman business at present so cannot stock as much as some shops but I do try to re-stock frequently and the more people buy the more stock space and products I’ll be able to share.
Wedding day meets child carrying, I tell you though that ring slings and huge tutu's are not an easy combination! Luckily Vicky was there to help!
Gozo 2013, photographer credit: Hush Photography
Dress: Oh My Honey
This is a fairly lengthy post about my own personal experience of using a baby wrap/carrier after birth trauma.
I’ve been wanting to write this ever since we started the sling meet over three years ago! We (the original sling meet founders) were all going to write our own stories to share on our website, all fantastic; except I couldn’t write mine back then.
It was all too raw and too icky feeling and had me in a clammy, cold sweat at the thought of it.
So fast forward to over three years later and I now run Have Child, Will Carry as a solo project and here I am sat in my bedroom on my laptop with my favourite Brene Brown talk playing in the background to inspire me to be okay at being vulnerable, something that doesn’t come naturally to me.
I’ll pop the link at the bottom of this post for any of you who haven’t come across Brene Brown’s work yet but she is AWESOME and is helping me to stop writing blog posts like this and then deleting them.
I can’t really talk about my own journey so far without discussing Birth Trauma.
It felt helpful for me when trying to gather the strength to write this out to refer back to the very website that shone the light on how I was feeling five years ago after the birth of my youngest child. It was through realising that there was a name for how I was feeling that prompted me to start talking about how I felt and to start asking for help.
On the Birth Trauma Associations website they say:
What is Birth Trauma?
When we talk of birth trauma, we mean Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that occurs after childbirth. We also include those women who may not meet the clinical criteria for PTSD but who have some of the symptoms of the disorder.
What is different about Post Natal PTSD?
It is, perhaps, difficult to understand how a process as seemingly ‘natural’ as childbirth can be traumatising but it has been clear for many years that women can suffer extreme psychological distress as a consequence of their childbirth experience for a complex variety of reasons which are frequently related to the nature of delivery.
Unfortunately, the difference between the common perception of childbirth and some women’s experience of it means that women who suffer Post Natal PTSD symptoms frequently find themselves very isolated and detached from other mothers. They also find themselves without a voice in a society which fails to understand the psychology of childbirth and which therefore expects mothers to get over their birth experience very quickly.
Consequently, women affected by Postnatal PTSD often find that there is nowhere to turn for support because even other mothers, who have not had traumatising births, can find it hard to understand how affecting a bad birth can be. This can make sufferers lonely and depressed as they often feel they are somehow ‘weaker’ than other women because they are unable to forget their birth experience, despite being told by others to ‘put it behind them’. They may feel incredibly guilty as a result.
This is a terrible burden for women to shoulder and one which profoundly affects their lives. The nature of PTSD means that constant ruminating on the birth experience is beyond the sufferer’s control but this is constantly misunderstood, even by health care professionals.
Unfortunately, for women suffering from Postnatal PTSD, their detachment from others and the lack of support provided to them can mean that relationships with friends and family may deteriorate. For example, many women end up feeling torn between their desire for more children and their determination to avoid another pregnancy.
Isn’t this just Post Natal Depression?
No. PTSD can overlap with Post Natal Depression (PND) as some of the symptoms are the same, but, the two illnesses are distinct and need to be treated individually.
I think it’s really important to acknowledge that like all things in life, birth is a completely unique experience for each individual (and I’m including birth partners who witness childbirth in this topic because they too can experience birth trauma) and that nobody else is better qualified to tell you whether you have experienced birth trauma than YOU.
I didn’t want to touch on the subject and just post a link to the page where that information came from because I didn’t want to take the chance that some of you may not have the time to go and visit it to see the information. I felt it deserved a bit of space on this post.
My Birth Trauma Experience
To cut the long story short though my youngest child’s birth five years ago (which was an otherwise INCREDIBLE, calm, empowered experience and SO unlike my eldest child’s seven years previous) went really well and showed no signs of any problems we happened to be one of the 2/3 per 1000 who’s baby suffers a condition called hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE), or perinatal asphyxia.
“This condition occurs when a baby suffers a shortage of oxygen or blood supply to the brain around the time of birth, leading to brain injury.
In severe cases, 25–50 percent of babies may die, and those who survive are at risk of disabilities like cerebral palsy, blindness and epilepsy.” Action Medical Research website.
The long and the short of it for us was that our daughter didn’t breath but thanks to the incredible team we had around us was able to be given oxygen the entire time until we could get her to the Dr who would make the call that she could be a part of a Neo-Natal Cooling medical programme at a nearby hospital in Gillingham.
The treatment is called Therapeutic Hypothermia and basically by cooling the body with the aim of reducing the brain’s temperature the hope is that the doctors can alter the chemical process that can lead to brain damage.
Because we were able to receive treatment so quickly it meant that the doctors were able to start lowering her body temperature straight away, even as she was being transferred by ambulance to Gillingham hospital (the hardest car journey for us EVER undertaken as we had to travel separately later on once we were okay to drive).
The treatment lasted for a few days (which are still a bit of a blur) and I can just remember the unexplainable urge/need/instinct to touch my baby on that first day, even just on the hand (which I hadn’t yet been able to do at all in any way) but I couldn’t. Not straight away.
So I threw myself into expressing colostrum for her instead and tried to focus on taking it all one minute at a time.
I’m sure that any of you who have experienced anytime in a Special Care Baby Unit will know what it is like and will have your own personal experiences and observations.
My experience of it all was that time seemed to be different inside those security doors, that you see people at their most vulnerable yet strongest times and that there was a very strange atmosphere of unspoken support and understanding between parents/carers all just trying to take this awful time one anxiety riddled moment at a time. You could see people putting their ‘game face’ on as relatives and siblings came to visit and then saw them slump with exhaustion as the loved ones leave with anxious glances over their shoulders… everyone just trying to stay positive and hoping.
When we were blessed beyond our wildest dreams and able to leave that ward behind came the waves of guilt that others were not able to have that same journey, the gratitude and the guilt combined and then the feeling that “what have you got to feel sad about, at least you HAVE your baby!!!” haunted me for a long time.
Here’s another shit thing about Birth Trauma, it’s not just specially reserved for births where there’s been a life or death scenario.
I now know that I experienced unrecognised/unacknowledged birth trauma and didn’t even realise with my eldest child thirteen years ago, not because of anything as dramatic as the birth I’ve just mentioned either. My experience back then was that of powerlessness, of feeling out of control and unsupported.
I was unprepared and didn’t have any faith in my own body and what it was capable of. The labour was long and I was grateful for any drugs I was able to take. I still grieved for what I heard and saw from other new mother’s though.
I assumed that it was something I should have done better and the whole event replayed over and over in my head for much longer than it was good for me. Having now read and chatted to others who have experienced birth trauma I can see that it’s just not as simple as those who have had life/death experiences during child birth at ALL!
The birth of my youngest was everything that my first experience of childbirth wasn’t and as a result the labour experience was genuinely amazing, but that doesn’t guarantee anything does it!
The reason I’m sharing this tricky subject is because I really don’t think birth trauma is talked about enough and I think that maybe a lot of us are just ‘getting on with it’ and not having the conversations necessary for us to grieve for the births that we had dreamt of.
If anybody reading this feels that they could benefit from some more information on this then please do see the links at the bottom of this post.
So, when we did get home ALL I wanted to do was to have her on me as much as I possibly could to support my breastfeeding and just because that’s what babies and mothers need in the fourth trimester (see link below for more info on that) and also because we had lost time to make up for.
I decided to make use of that stretchy wrap that I’d bought in haste towards the end of my pregnancy with no idea how to use suddenly became the greatest tool in my parenting toolbox!!!
I didn’t carry my eldest daughter as much as I would have liked due to a lack of confidence and through buying a carrier that just didn’t feel supportive enough to use.
Second time around with a newborn I had no idea what I was doing but, with the help of some videos on You Tube and lots of practice at home in time (it took me a while) I felt brave enough to leave the house.
If any of you suffer or suffered from anxiety after the birth of your children you may well recall the first time you left the house with your newborn. For me, it was an incredibly intense experience and I just saw potential danger everywhere I looked. Having her close to me in the wrap was the only way I could have possibly survived that lovely, gentle family stroll through our local common.
I put my ‘game face’ on and smiled and then I remember suddenly feeling so so proud as I posed, we’d made it and we were OUTSIDE and I could feel her breathing and although I could ‘feel’ she wasn’t as snug as I wanted her (hence the hands supporting her) it was okay for now and we were here together as a family and everything was OKAY!
It took me a good hour to adjust and to relax enough to have some photos taken and then pretty soon after those I just had to get home to my nest.
As the weeks and months followed the wrap enabled me to leave the house each day to do the twice daily walk to school with my eldest and I could even hold her hand as we walked and give her my full attention as we chatted. It enabled me to feed on the go using both boob and expressed milk bottle.
It allowed me to travel and explore small island just off of Malta called Gozo when she was just eight weeks old where my fiance then proposed and where we later married.
It basically allowed me to do more than I could possibly fit into this post.
Seeing as I’m sharing these early days photos I just want to acknowledge something that I know I’m not alone in feeling, especially since I’ve become a trained babywearing/child carrying educator.
After I completed my first course back in 2013 I started to look back at my early day’s photos not with the pride and joy that I once had but instead with an element of shame. I could suddenly see all the things I could have done ‘better’ or ‘right’ like the third pass of my beloved green stretchy wrap not being used or the fact that I never quite felt it was tight enough so had to use my hand. That her pelvis could have been tilted better and so on, so on… it wasn’t as a direct result of the course but instead the natural side effect of learning. I felt I couldn’t share them on our Facebook page or website as much as I wanted for fear of judgement.
But the game changer happened this summer as I attended the Slingababy training course this summer (2016) delivered by Lorette. I will write another post about THAT amazing experience but;
we all had to bring in a photo of our early babywearing days and then we all looked at them and spoke about what we saw when we looked at each other’s photos, well cue the tears and a LOT of emotions but then after that subsided the realisation that it was okay to not have done things then as I would now.
I have always told parents/carers I meet to be kind to themselves, that we were all a work in progress and my favourite quote ever that was often shared by both Vicky and I at our sling meets was:
But there I was feeling shame about some of my own most precious moments!
Thanks to Lorette at that Slingababy course and the amazing women who were in that room with me during the course plus the incredible Brene Brown books I’ve been reading recently and all her wisdom on why we feel shame and what to do to shift it I am now intensely proud of those snaps and am very happy to share them with anyone who ever makes it through this very long winded post.
So a wrap cured your Birth Trauma?
My intense feelings of anxiety, the guilt, the grief for the birth experience I didn’t get to have.
The fear that although we’d been so lucky that surely now she’d be snatched from us at a later date plus the avalanche of other thoughts that followed (and still follow at times) were most definitely NOT magically healed through the use of the many (many) wraps and carriers that I then went on to own.
As the years have gone on I’ve managed to start to make sense of that stuff through the aid of some incredible friends who have listened and held me in a safe space while I had my wobbles, some great books loaned by said great friends (Vicky if you’re reading this I WILL return them to you someday I promise haha) and I’ve learnt to listen to my own advice and to be kind to myself and to recognise my own triggers and when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’ve allowed myself to grieve for the birth we didn’t get to have and am slowly making peace with it.
How babywearing HAS definitely helped me though is by enabling me to leave the house at a moments notice if the walls were beginning to close in as well as all the other practical benefits spoken about above, I now also know more of the science behind why having your child close to you can be so beneficial for both mother and baby which has helped me and that I love sharing with those that I work with.
Added to that is the incredible community of fellow baby wearers that I now know which is something incredibly special and something I’ve never in all my life experienced before!
From fellow wearers in public groups to the fellow community of educators and retailers, I had no idea how important this whole child carrying adventure would end up being!
It’s all basically people lifting up people.
Literally with regards to carrying the little people in our lives through the basic use of fabric and emotionally through the support and love that is shown to fellow babywearers as we all go along our personal and professional journeys together.
I know it’s all sounding a bit schmaltzy right now but it’s the genuine truth and it’s the whole experience that has helped me with my own personal journey.
I cannot write this without acknowledging the huge effect that starting Have Child, Will Carry has had on me too, the privilege of working with so many parents and carers over the years has been incredibly healing for me.
There’s nothing quite liking witnessing first hand the many benefits of carrying a child in front of your very eyes at a sling meet, consultation or workshop. It’s just magical!
This doesn’t happen every time of course, sometimes everything goes completely awry and nothing or no carrier seems to work at that moment in time.
Maybe the child cries A LOT, or is sick or there’s a ‘Poonami’ incident as we work.
Sometimes parents and carers find it all too overwhelming/exhausting, some cry, some get frustrated that they can’t do something and some just go quiet at a sling meet and leave, only to return again another day.
But that is parenthood isn’t it, it’s basically us just flying by the seat of our pants from one day to the next. Hoping we’re doing okay and just trying to survive the rough times and celebrate the good.
What I like best about working with children and their carers is that it’s all very REAL and that has been a great learning and healing experience for me in coming to terms with my own ‘stuff’.
While we’re on sling meets I’ve still to this day no idea how I’ve managed to fight my anxieties enough to host our sometimes crazy busy sling meets over the years, if any of you have ever attended and been the first to arrive then you probably noticed my nervous chatterings or the huge hugs that Vicky and I used to have before each meet to get me through them.
Each and every meet has been a fantastic learning experience in itself though and I’m so glad I’ve continued to host them and I look forward to hosting more and more in the future.
So if any of you lovelies reading this struggle with anxiety or anything similar and think you can’t possibly do stuff like everyone else does, you can!
I’m not going to lie, there will be hard days but the thing is, once you start being open about having anxiety issues you start to find that other people tell you about their own ‘stuff’ and then you begin to realise over time that it’s not as lonely a place as you once thought because we’re all going through something… some are just better at hiding it than others!
Right well if you’ve made it to the end of this then well done you!
I apologise for any poor literary skills and rambling, I am not a natural writer but I’m going to practice so that I can keep writing on here.
I’m leaving the quote that inspired me to write this in the hope that some of you may feel inspired to do the same and if you do and you’d like to have your story featured on here then feel free to email me at email@example.com because it would be incredible to be able to share other peoples child carrying experiences and photographs. (ps I’m happy to co-edit text and also photos for people too as am a lover/regular user of photoshop so please don’t let that put you off if it’s something you want to join in with)
Thanks for reading
Love Kitty xx
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
I must confess I do LOVE me some “Chickens” AKA The Peacock/Pfau Didymos wrap.
My first ever Pfau was a stunning Pfau Garnet wrap that I still own to this day because I simply cannot bear to ever let it go!
I then added my Burgandy Pfau Ring Sling to my stash and eventually a shortie (size 2) wool Pfau called Juno. Despite selling off a lot of my own personal wraps now I don’t think I’ll ever let the Garnet or the Burgandy go; I love the ‘tea towel-esque’ feel to them and although thick, they wrap so well and are very comfy!
I got VERY excited when I saw this release because it’s very similar in style to my Garnet/Burgandy, they are a bit crispy straight out of the box but oh my gawd once washed they get super dooper soft and cosy!
I may, okay, okay so I HAVE already snaffled one of the shop stock wraps for my own personal hoard and I don’t have these kinda moments of weakness very often these days!
The anthracite/sea green mix is subtle and works really well, it feels a bit lighter than my Garnet but that’s not hard because she is a thick beast!
What Didymos say about this wrap:
Very requested during the summer months, a linen blend fabric featuring the legendary Didymos Peacock pattern.
Originally made for the Babywearing Conference in Atlanta first.
The sea green cotton warp interweaves with anthracite linen weft yarns to highlight the gorgeous Peacock pattern which is the same on both fabric sides.
It is a medium weight fabric, durable and supportive and very comfortable to wear and to tie due to the perfect diagonal stretch of DIDYMOS woven wraps.
Material: 75% Organic Cotton, 25% Linen
Surface weight: 230 g/m²
Colour: Sea Green, Anthracite
Washable: Max. 60°C, Gentle Cycle, Low Spin Speed
Age of child: From Birth
If you would like to read more about the history of Didymos’ Pfau Wraps then head on over to Babywearing 102’s fabulous Tumblr page where you can find a comparison of the different Pfau styles.
To see this beauty in my little shop then you can either click on the images or this linky here it’s a limited edition weave so once it’s gone I have no idea if Didymos will ever release it again.
Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions on this ‘Chickeny’ beauty or anything else for that matter.
Join The Have Child, Will Carry Collective & Woven Wings to celebrate the three year anniversary of our West Kent Sling Meet (based in Tunbridge Wells)
Via the sling meet we’ve been able to support hundreds of local families with their child carrying needs (we’ve also managed to enjoy a LOT of the yummy cake that Trinity Theatre’s Cafe has available to buy!)
It was through starting the sling meet that in time led the way to the birth of HCWC so I feel that it deserves a big celebration!
Earlier in the year the sling meet celebrated its third birthday and one of our original West Kent Sling Meet founders Christina (who then went on to create the amazingly luxurious and beautiful brand Woven Wings – which by the way is THE place to stalk if you’re looking for stunning woven wraps to carry your children in!) has very very generously given us a BEAUTIFUL wrap to give away as a sling meet birthday present for YOU!
If you love beautiful fair trade handwoven woven baby wraps, you’ll probably love Girasol!
Buy A Baby Carrier (Part of the Have Child, Will Carry Collective) is very proud to be a reseller of Girasol baby wraps and carriers.
Founded in 1984 Girasol have been producing consistently great fair-trade, handwoven baby wraps and tie on carriers (MySol) at affordable prices ever since!
My first ever woven wrap was a Girasol, I was hooked on the beautiful rainbows that they offered and still am years later!
Why I love them:
* They only use pure untreated cotton, no pre-bleaching or chemical finishing or brighteners are used.
* Handwoven by select weavers using the ancient skill of diagonal (twill) weaving, this weave structure has great elasticity and provides excellent support from newborn right through to pre-school age children.
* Can be washed at high temperatures (Girasol say up to 60°C but to expect a small amount of shrinkage after the first wash) I say also to expect some dye run off so wash with similar colours to avoid dye transference as with any new textile item.
*They are soft and sturdy, the more they are wrapped with the softer they get!
*Please note – These are handwoven wraps and so as a result Girasol wraps and ring slings are sometimes prone to very minor weaving inconsistencies including small pulls (loops of fabric), weavers knots and skipped threads.
Small weaving inconsistencies will not affect the usability of your wrap.
Wraps may on occasion also have tailor’s chalk marks (often found near the centre point of the wrap) they are used to help position the middle marker and they will wash out.
Kitty (That’s me, it’s weird writing in 3rd person!) is a hand weaver, baby wearing educator and sling librarian and I check over all wraps and carriers to ensure that they are safe to be sold/used before they are posted to you!
To visit my shop please click any of the images above or here…
Thanks to the ever supportive and lovely people at Trinity Theatre, here in Tunbridge Wells I am now happy to be able to tell you that you will be able to find me with my large stash of baby wraps/slings and carriers in the Foyer Cafe on two Fridays each month!!!
If you’ve never visited them before some of the many reasons Have Child, Will Carry love Trinity Theatre are…
a) it’s such a welcoming, airy space with comfy sofas and armchairs to relax on.
b) It has easy to find baby changing facilities and a toilet you can fit a buggy into if needed!
c) It’s breastfeeding/ bottle-feeding/parent/carer/child-friendly
d) Great lunch time menu of freshly cooked tasty food which is reasonably priced.
e) Fantastic selection of yummy cakes!!!
f) Did I mention the cakes?
I feel so fortunate that they have supported West Kent Sling Meet since meet ONE almost three years ago, I can often be found hanging out there for tea when I’m in town because there aren’t many places that you can go for a lovely enjoyable cuppa and a sit down AND visit a regularly changing free art exhibition all under one beautifully historic roof!
In fact Only last week I went to see Suffragette there with Vicky (Co-Foundress of HCWC & generally scrumptious creature), the film had us both very emotional and it was amazing to be able to enjoy a thought provoking, emotive film like that somewhere other than the standard multiplex type of cinemas around.
If you haven’t been before then please do go and support one of our independent vibrant arts venues in our town either by visiting our sling meet or just to pop in for a bite and a drink!
Our new sling meet dates are below, though if you’re not local or can’t attend then don’t forget that we also have our Sling Postal Library, you can hire one of our carriers to be collected (if local, by arranged appointment) or have it posted to you.
Feel free to get in touch if you’d rather set a hire up via email, I’m happy to help wherever possible.
On this date THREE years ago a small group of mothers ran their first West Kent Sling Meet!!!
(Ironically on the first ever meet my daughter/and I were unwell meaning I had to miss it! But I’ve made up for it since having to only ever miss a couple in the years that followed!)
So, seeing as I was asked by a couple of people recently about how we started out I thought I’d write a blog post.
Grab a cuppa, for I’m a waffler and it will no doubt be an essay! (Excuse any typos, this was written on my iphone while I recover from a mild kidney infection snuggled up on my sofa and my thumb has a mind of its own)
I must also apologise in advance if this gets a bit ‘soppy’ in places, I am listening to Kate Bush as I type so we can just blame her for any emotional outbursts!
It feels like yesterday that we all excitedly planned what we had in our personal stashes to bring along and the chattering away via social media group messaging as we all got to know each other having never really met much in real life before with the exception of Christina and I though it was by chance we met for WKSM as we hadn’t been in touch since we had randomly worked together many years before.
Well the first meet was an overwhelmingly big success as were the ones that followed and it didn’t take us long to realise that this project would demand more time than any of us could have ever envisioned!
I was very unaware at the time but I was going through some pretty low times following the traumatic birth of my daughter and so being carried away in the distraction of focusing on helping other parents/carers unbeknownst to me very good therapy and a way to manage my own anxieties, keeping busy was fantastic and I was doing something that I LOVED! Win, win!
I’ll write more on that another day though to save this becoming too long.
As parents with very young children and lots of other commitments it was a LOT to take on and those with lot’s of plates to spin already decided to step away and support us from the sidelines, I really want to acknowledge all that they/we accomplished though in those early months though.
Not just the meets that they attended but also the initial energy/ideas/enthusiasm & support given in starting West Kent Sling Meet up again, (it had previously been run by another set of parents but was dormant when we picked it up).
Christina and Victoria, HUGE thank you’s to you both for what you contributed back in those early days.
Christina has since gone on to do some amazing babywearing related work and has gone on to create Woven Wings, a woven baby wraparound carrier brand which creates the most BEAUTIFUL (and I mean B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.) woven wraps, all expertly woven by a highly acclaimed UK mill.
Support her via her website and the Woven Wings Facebook page if you don’t already!
It became very clear that people wanted to try before they went out to buy so we began to research sling libraries, at this time there were three of us, Debbie, Vicky and I and we had a lot of fun working out what to buy and what to do, designing hire forms and setting up the Admin (Oh my there’s a lot of admin involved in setting up a sling library!) Vicky and I attended our baby wearing consultancy training course with School Of Babywearing which was so fantastic and really proved to us just how passionate we were about the benefits to carrying a child close.
Benefits that go far deeper than day to day practicalities.
Exploring the research and the science behind why we as humans are designed to carry our children close to our hearts was so inspiring and really fired us up to share Debbie who planned to do hers at a later date. Sadly some months later Debbie too stepped away from the project to focus on her other growing business, her beautiful daughter and has now returned back to Scotland where she supports HCWC from afar!
(At our training with School Of Babywearing back in 2013)
Thank you Debbie, you were such a great colleague, we learnt so much together during that time!!! I wish you lived nearer and could come to some meets still!
Then there were two, Vicky and I decided to do as people were asking and set up the postal hire aspect of the business, it took a lot of work and we spent a LOT of time working via social media messenger to grow the business at every opportunity we could snatch! It helped that we were already best friends so naturally wanted to chat at every chance but the hours we both poured in were pretty mad when I think back!!! The hard work paid off and we have been growing steadily and SO proud of the hundreds (I should really do some accounts/admin and get the ACTUAL figure huh?) of children that we have helped to be carried closer.
I know we have said this before but it really REALLY has been such a privilege to have been able to support you lovely lot as parents & carers as you went on your adventures whilst using our carriers. It melts my soppy heart!
Working with my dear, wonderful friend to grow our ‘baby’ has been such a fantastic journey and I’ve loved every minute of it. As you will probably already know Vicky has stepped away from HCWC to focus on some exciting projects, developing her counselling career and to grow a new squishy bubba to carry in the beautiful stash of rainbow wraps that she has collected over the years.
I’m missing her lots as my business partner but excited to get to see what she does next!
(Here we are setting up sling meet and playing happy Sling Librarian Families haha)
So (and if you’re still reading this then pat yourself on the back!!!) now there is one!
Things that you can expect to be launched very soon (if all goes to plan)
To celebrate our three years, more details of that will be given away soon… hint, hint, there MAY just be a decadent gift from one of my awesome fellow WKSM co-founders in it though for me to giveaway!!!!
I’m very excited and am just working out the logistics but it IS coming people very soon so be ready!
I’m declaring 2016 the year of celebrating and launching new things so…..
The Shop…. squeeeeeee
It was the next logical and exciting step really because our hirers wanted to support the business and go on to buy through HCWC but I wanted to make sure that the busy postal hire library could cope if I started something else.
It will be small but perfectly formed, I want to share wraps and carriers that I personally love. I won’t be attempting to stock the whole library and I also feel very strongly that I will still be on a quest to find the right carrier for you.
As an educator/librarian my advice is always impartial, after all the right carrier for you is exactly that, the right carrier for you!!!
People are always recommending the carrier they love and use which is GREAT but everybody’s needs/shape are different so to attempt to stock them all is a bit much for me at present and so if I don’t stock it (and even if I do) then I feel VERY strongly that it’s important and ethical for me to share where you can purchase from other qualified independent homegrown businesses run by parents just like me.
This is because I understand and appreciate just how bloomin hard we all work to create businesses that will allow us to do what we love and to stay close to our children as much as possible too! *fist bump for my fellow consultants/retailers/librarians across the country so do support us all and buy your wraps and carriers from independent authorised resellers wherever possible!
There are some other very exciting things on the horizon too but I will save those for another day since most of you are possibly already feeling exhausted after reading all that!!!
Thank you for the last three years, you have ALL been so supportive and wonderful, here’s to the next three!!!
P.s if you are local to Tunbridge Wells then come along this Friday (4th March 2016) and share some yummy cake with me!
P.p.s ‘Baby Sinister’ our first and original demo doll now lives with Vicky at her home so do not worry, he will not be walking the streets with that slightly menacing grin on his face! Bless him, he served us very well in those early days before his stuffing popped out!
Phew, it has taken a while and it’s definitely still in ‘Beta’ mode BUT it’s open and ready for shopping!
More brands/stock will gradually be added in as I unpack and photograph them.
I am really, really excited about this next chapter in the Have Child, Will Carry story.
Over the years so many of you have wanted to support what HCWC do by buying directly and it’s taken time to set up and raise the necessary funds to launch but its thanks to all the support and great word of mouth advertising of this project that I am now a proud reseller of some of the many brands that I adore!
The name, while not the most ingenious of names I am a huge fan of keeping things simple (I’m a simple creature!) and so wanted a name for the shop that was as descriptive as possible in this world of complicated online navigation! Seeing as the hire shop is called ‘Hire A Baby Carrier’ it just made sense.
Yes I do sell toddler wraps/carriers too but that’s just too long winded to add in! 🙂
Would you like a sneaky peek??? (each image is also a link that opens in a new window)
Because this is my first shop stocking I only have a few sizes in each style but I will be re-ordering as soon as I sell out so if you see something is out of stock then feel free to Email Me if you want to find out when more stock will be arriving.
Please be patient with any teething problems I experience, I’ll try my best to make everything run smoothly but I’m not always the most tech savvy individual and my ability to spell seems to have disappeared so typos are inevitable in the early days (until my Mum proof reads it for me – Mother if you are reading this, get cracking!!! hahaha)
I am planning some exciting shop launch giveaway celebrations soon too so if you haven’t already then so sign up to the HCWC newsletter (at the bottom of this page) and ‘like’ the page on Facebook (opens in new page) to stay in the loop!
Thanks so much for all your love and support over the years, I couldn’t have done this without you all!