Today I went outside into our beautiful Canadian wonderland and as the beauty of the white, crystalline landscape swept me off my feet, so did a patch of ice. As I lay there in shock a few things went through my mind:
Thank goodness I wasn’t wearing a baby.
Why did I choose to wear these non-grip boots?
Why was I rushing, instead of being mindful of potential slippery patches?
Why did I actually go out at all in the first place?!
Well, there are answers to all these questions and I will share them with you now in the hopes that you will consider them carefully and be safe this slippery winter.
I love winter. Despite my tropical background and nature, I actually enjoy the crisp months of winter. I love those stinging sunny days, as well as the milder, hazy, snowy ones. My first winter back in Montreal from Costa Rica, where I grew up, was in 1992, and many lessons were learned swiftly that winter!
Since then, I have had many a pregnant, baby-wearing and breastfeeding winters, and it is that mama that is writing this now.
My tumble today and the questions it elicited brought me back to those days. My first remark as I lay in the snow, “thank goodness I wasn’t wearing a baby”, is of foremost importance. Baby wearing adds not only weight, but also a tricky balance to your gait. It is an art in itself, and perhaps had I been wearing a baby a) I would’ve been more careful, b) I would’ve been walking more slowly, c) I would’ve looked where I was going. Dear mamas and papas, wearing our babes in the wintertime is a wonderful way for everyone to stay warm. It is also an efficient way to slog through the snow without having to wrestle a stroller through the mush. It was definitely my preferred way of carrying my kids. But there are some vital aspects to consider.
Second laying-in-the-snow inquiry: why was I wearing BAD BOOTS!? Well … I ran out the house, they are easy to slip on and off, they are fashionable, they are comfy and cozy, etc. One thing that all of us North-dwellers need to have is a GOOD FOOTWARE. That means that they have grip. That they are not floppy or saggy. That they are not heels. That they are warm.
If your feet are going to be you and your baby’s mode of transportation, you need to get some good boots. Would you drive your car without winter tires? Nope. A good boot can make all the difference in the world in terms if comfort and safety. If the conditions are especially icy, then I would opt for adding grips to your boots. These can often work extremely well, and they are easily found at sporting stores like Sports Experts, outdoor stores like MEC and even the pharmacy.
One thing that I notice often and am increasingly mindful of, is the speed at which we live our lives. Things move fast in our world, and we often have to pull the reigns in order to make things move a little slower. Having a baby is one of the times when life naturally says, “slow down”. Those first months of life with a baby are precious and they require patience and gentleness towards ourselves. It is a time to move slowly in the world, move slowly in our bodies, minds and hearts. The postpartum brain is a fascinating thing to observe and study. A fine cocktail of hormones surge through the mama-body during the fourth trimester of the baby’s life. These hormones are wired to make us care for our infant, and although it can make our senses heightened so that we can smell a rotting grape in the back of the fridge from the front door, or hear a bee half a block away, they are also wired to make us move slightly slower in the world. Oxytocin, the hormone of love, bonding, breastfeeding and more, is still very active in the mama-baby relationship; the hormone relaxin, mercifully available at the time of our pregnancy and birth, still present in the birthing mama. The combination is somewhat perplexing and odd, but at the same time absolutely fascinating.
Move slowly into new parenthood. Whether you are wearing your babe or taking yourself out for a solo walk in the wintery air, step carefully and mindfully. It’s a slippery wonderland out there.
In the spirit of moving slowly, although getting outside is definitely encouraged, even for a brief little stroll, there is nothing wrong with watching the world go by from your window, or inviting some friends over for tea. New parenthood, and frankly life, should be spent as much as possible, in cozy nooks, sipping tea and engaging in wonderful conversations with people that make us feel great. Dear new parents, that first day of kindergarten is not as far as it seems on these sleepless nights. Take it from a well-seasoned “vintage” mama, cuddle those babes tight, enjoy the time off to explore your new role and make new friends who will, in the end, serve as your village as you raise your little ones into vibrant humans.
– Millie Tresierra
Birth and Postpartum Doula
MotherWit Doula Care