You never know how many people you will influence by just doing what you are doing…
I am sitting in my old room, in my parents’ house. The same room I sat in pretty much exactly 8 years ago, with a 5 months bump, surounded by baby stuff I had bought second hand here in Germany for same bump, including a woven wrap and cloth nappies. There wasn’t much of a choice in Ireland at the time, I had no idea where to look for these things other than high street baby shops (which didn’t stock them), I hardly knew anyone with a baby and nobody who used cloth or babywore. One friend in Germany did, and I saw her use cloth and a wrap and asked her questions.
Yesterday I wrapped Mr A onto my back for a nap at my granny’s 80th birthday party, watched by curious onlookers, some are grannies themselves. And two came up after to ask me about wrapping and babywearing. We had wonderful chats about normal infant development and needs, how both wearer and baby benefit physically and emotionally from wearing. Both thought of people they’d like to share the info with…. I went to bed last night smiling, thinking that the simple act of doing what I do has opened a few doors, sparked interest and may be passed on to others. I’ve made a snowball and it’s rolling down a hill, getting bigger.
And I thought of all the other snowballs I’ve made over the years and how they’ve grown. How every parent makes snowballs every day, often unawares, and how they start rolling. How others pick them up and form new snowballs…
I thought of my friend who has seen me use cloth nappies and asked curious questions. How her husband is talking about it in work, taking in nappies to show and explain. How she has given nappies to others to try (some of them are the nappies I bought 8 years ago!!), started others on their journey. How at least one of the people who’ve talked to her are now sharing their own experiences with cloth nappies at baby groups.
I thought of the clients who contact me about sling consults with older babies because they’ve seen the sister in law use them, or a lady walk past on the street.
I thought of the mums coming to my breastfeeding preparation sessions because they’ve seen a mum sitting in a café feeding. Or the Dads asking interested questions because their colleague is speaking so fondly of his partner’s breastfeeding relationship with their baby, mentioning little nuggets that you don’t see in the info leaflets.
Sometimes, rolling the snowball is obvious because people come up to you and ask questions. They approach you on the street and ask where you got that sling, it looks so handy. They see you change a cloth nappy and wonder how you find using them.
And other times, you may not be aware that there’s a snowball at all. You may not notice the pregnant couple watching with interest and curiosity as you unlatch baby, because they didn’t even realise you were feeding. You may not be aware of the granny watching you put your little one into a sling and her thinking of her daughter who is carrying her grandchild in arms all day, thinking how much ease and joy a sling like that would bring to her.
Whether they are obvious snowballs or hidden ones, they are rolling down hills (and sometimes you are probably pushing them up hills too!). As those onlookers and askers go home and do their own research, think and talk and maybe do themselves, the snowball will get bigger and set off new snowballs. So keep doing what you do, everywhere and anywhere. Do it with pride and confidence. Because you are setting off snowballs, you are playing a part in making changes!
Eight years ago, when I asked my friend questions about cloth nappies and babywearing and breastfeeding, neither she nor I were aware that the snowball we made then would set off hundreds of snowballs as I journeyed from becoming a parent, to working with other parents as a volunteer, to going into private practice, to opening a babywearing and breastfeeding shop. You just never know. So keep making snowballs…