6:15 am. I’m walking my once restless, now resting baby along the river. Cosily cradled in a double hammock, my meditative stride has soothed him back to sleep and my mind turns to other things. The tide is low, the water still, the morning light resting gently on its surface. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Thames so inviting.
‘Aaah!’ My musings are interrupted by a voice from behind. ‘That’s what we want to do!’ He slows his jogger’s pace to walking and takes a closer look at us. ‘My girlfriend’s about your size’.
Disclosure: what my astute riverside companion was referring to was the fact that I’m noticeably petite. And when I carry my baby, who is noticeably long, the contrast is – clearly – remarkable. The comment came as no surprise to me. My comrade, on the other hand, was having an epiphany; his latent longing to carry his child was no longer an idealistic fantasy. In seeing it happen in reality, visible and tangible before him, it was becoming attainable. Even his petite girlfriend could do it.
I started wrapping for a number of reasons, but only now, a year into my journey, am I coming to recognise one of the greatest joys and benefits: the wrap experience is unavoidably bespoke. I live in a custom built world that’s a size too big, where one size fits everyone else. I play a game on a daily basis where I try to trick everyone into believing one size fits me too. Those cropped capris make perfect floor length trousers… in my world. That t-shirt was evidently destined for life as a mini dress… in my world.
But in the world of wrap, that 4 metre length fabric really does fit me and my child. Perfectly. When I pick up my wrap, I have everything I need to make the ideal carrier. Through a sequence of carefully choreographed moves – around, over, under, cross and tie – I turn my fabric into a sling that hugs and cradles both mother and child in just the right way, regardless of size, shape, or proportion. Our comfort is entirely in my hands as I fan out the creases, spread out the pressure points, my final tugs and tweaks enabling a comfortable distribution of weight.
When I pick up my wrap, I pick up a fabric I’ve chosen for the quality of its fibres, the weight, and the design. But as for the carrier, that’s completely up to me. A front carry for a frantic city crossing; a back carry for a sleepy summer’s ramble; or how about a hip carry for social gatherings? And so it was that summer morning, abruptly awakened by teething grizzles, the cosy embrace of a double hammock back carry provided us both with the comfort and security we needed to reset the compass and ease into the day.
Red is a mother, a teacher, and an artist. Living in London, she’s writing for The Wrap Show about her explorations in woven wraps.