How Shabs Kwofie overcame postnatal depression
“My daughter was born via emergency caesarean – not at all the way that I had expected the birth to go. Due to the lack of support (and not being aware that support even existed!), my breastfeeding journey also fell flat on its face within days.
I felt like I had already failed as a mother, and by extension, a woman. My body couldn’t birth my baby, or nourish her. And with no support around me to help me to work through these toxic feelings I quickly spiralled into postnatal depression. Some time later I began to make an effort to get out of the house, but it was difficult to make my way down the apartment stairs with the baby, bags and pram while being mindful of my healing caesarean scar.
Then it occurred to me to look to my own culture and ancestry, where my family historically used wraps to carry their own children. Discovering babywearing saved my sanity. Not only did it allow me the independence of being able to go out more freely, but also I began feeling better within myself. I had no idea about the benefits of babywearing, skin-to-skin contact or oxytocin. All I knew is that I slowly felt the fog lifting. Every time I carried my daughter in my baby wrap, I discovered a closeness that made my heart want to burst – I imagine this is what some mothers feel when they give birth and see their babies for the first time. I felt peace. And the more I carried my baby, the more often I felt this peace, until the peace grew to be more than the despair. Babywearing gave me that.
Shabs Kwofie is a mum of two, and founder of Amawrap.