On March 10, 2017 our family had become complete. Our sweet daughter entered this world, a perfect 7lbs. She was completely healthy and oh so beautiful! We were so excited to take her home and start the rest of our lives, as a family of 5!
Days, weeks, months pass. Our sweet girl growing oh so fast. Before we knew it, it was her first birthday! How quickly that approaches. At her 12 month check we discussed with our physician about starting her on solid foods; Such an exciting new adventure for us all. Little did we know, this would be the start of discovering that our little girl has Sensory Processing Disorder. For those who may not know; Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition where the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. Sensory Processing Disorder can affect anyone. Studies indicate that 5% to 16% of children exhibit symptoms of SPD. (Ahn, Miller et. al., 2004; Ben-Sasoon, Carter et. al., 2009).
It started with aversions to all foods, including severe reactions such as vomiting at the sight of any food. It then became aversions to all people, except mom. Then places, materials, textures, sounds, smells, etc. The list goes on. This looks different for everyone; but for our daughter she would cry and cry, meltdown after meltdown, shake from nerves, uncontrollably vomit etc. As her mama, this was so hard to watch her go through. Appointments after appointments, testing after testing. We finally were so relieved to have an answer, and start the journey of helping our little girl love the world around her.
She was so full of anxiety about everything and the only thing that brought her comfort and helped her regulate was babywearing. I would wear her all day… every day! At first, any place but home, she couldn’t be put down- it was too much for her to handle. This was so hard. As much as I adore holding and snuggling my baby, there was always so much that needed to be done! I found myself always so full of anxiety, how can I take care of my house, my other two children, my husband, myself?
I have no idea what I would have done if I wasn’t a baby-wearer. This literally saved me! Have to get ready? Put her on my back. Have to help my boys with homework? Put her on my back. Have to prepare meals? Put her on my back. Have to run errands? Put her on my back. Literally anything you could possibly need to do, I did- Wearing my daughter for the first two years of her life! All hours, every day.
Thanks to babywearing we could still enjoy a few outings as a family, places she could tolerate. She couldn’t be put down but the comfort of mom and the compression of being worn was just what she needed. I am so grateful to have such an understanding family and support system. Relatives and friends have worn her to create bonds. Therapists have worn her for the same reasons. We’ve spent hours and hours in therapy sessions in carriers for the full session. Her happy place. Her number one place of comfort. This is when she started to thrive!
My daughter has come oh so far. She has gone from needing to be held for about 95% of the day to being a toddler that loves her surroundings! She still has quite the journey ahead, but I find myself in awe that we survived what we went through! I would not have been able to do this without my carriers, without my Babywearing friends as the best support system. I’ve spent numerous days crying to my friends all over the world, those friends gave me strength. Friends I would never know if it wasn’t for babywearing. Babywearing saved me! It allowed me to continue on with life, because we all know it doesn’t pause for anyone. It gave me strength and confidence as a parent. It gave me the most incredible bond with my children. It gave me a community.
To all the caregivers of neurodiverse children:
You are not alone. I see you. I appreciate you. I know it’s hard when you see most other people taking their kids to sports and other fun things, yet you’re going from therapy to therapy. These incredible children are so worth it. Be strong ❤️. My inbox is always open if you need it.
Amanda Rivera Serrano