Back in September I decided to take the girls on an anti-Brexit march. It was full on political conference season and like most European minded lefties, the prospect of turning out against the Tories over their appalling referendum is always a good one. This is my children’s future and I am angry.
Several years ago, I took my eldest on an anti-austerity march; she was 18 months and fell deeply asleep in a soft structured carrier on my front. I should have taken that as a lesson when planning how I’d carry Smallest on this march.
The girls were amped up to go; my eldest wanted to dress like mummy – in blue and yellow – meanwhile Smallest was mostly stoked to be going on the train. Train travel when you’re two years old is possibly the most exciting life event one can dream of. Mindful that I was likely to be carrying her a lot and that I was breaking in a bourette ring sling for another babywearing mama I decided to use it for the march.
In hindsight, this was not a good decision. Well it was, and it wasn’t. It was because Smallest was quite overwhelmed by the whistles, horns and sounds of a march; it is a noisy place to be. Using a ring sling meant she could burrow down with one ear against my chest and the other against the fabric to block out the sensory assault. This worked and as we walked along the Oxford Road, with my eldest loving the EU flags, Smallest fell deeply asleep.
It was a wrap nap that lasted over an hour and her sleep was so deep I got worried and tapped her several times on her cheek to no avail. When she did rouse we had reached Cathedral Gardens where EU Elvis was singing to a busy crowd and my back was starting to hurt. In total, she was up for about two hours. Mission bourette breaking in was a success but it came at a cost.
A lingering pain
The next few days my body was tired and sore. I just put this down to strenuous activity and thought nothing of it with an expectation that I would fully recover. I did recover; everywhere except my right hip (I’m left shouldered). I am careful when I use a ring sling to keep my back straight but over that long period of carrying and hanging about in crowds this hadn’t been possible to sustain; I had slouched. The niggle in my hip didn’t go away – I have a high pain threshold but the shooting daggers deep in my bone was getting a bit much. It wasn’t until November when I finally yielded to reality and decided a visit to the doctor was in order.
He diagnosed bursitis (inflammation of the joint), prescribed an anti-inflammatory and sent me on my way with the usual “come back in two weeks if it hasn’t settled”. In the meantime, I am in a spin; side-eyeing my ring slings and listing for sale those that are too short for multilayer and symmetrical back carries. I’m not sure what I’ll do when smallest asks for front cuddles as I don’t own a base size wrap.
I now know I pushed through pain that day and how foolish that was. A residual, disordered, separation of mind and body means I often ignore physical issues that others would take seriously. My advice is don’t. Don’t push yourself when you’re carrying and choose the right sling for the job. Like Brexit, the result of a bad (babywearing) decision will linger most painfully.