The Sling Walk
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 18 No. 3, May-June 2001, p. 94-95
I love to tell friends about all the wonderful support I've received over the years from my local La Leche League Group. I can wax rhapsodic about the weeks of food brought to me after the birth of my youngest son, the countless hours of support during the "sleepless years," the warmth and camaraderie of all those Thursday morning meetings. I just love to share stories of how LLL was there for me as I stumbled down the road of motherhood. So imagine my utter delight when I could be there for my good friend, Glenda.
Glenda had a very unusual situation. . One day, after she had taken a walk with her baby in a sling, she found an anonymous note in her mailbox. It read something like this: "I don't know why you have to carry your baby in a bag. Can't you just get a stroller for it?"
Well, when Glenda showed me the note, my first reaction was to laugh, right out loud. I mean, who was this crazy person with nothing better to do than harass the good parents of the world? But I quickly realized that this meant more to Glenda. It was hurtful to be so judged by a neighbor, someone who surely didn't understand the choices Glenda made in parenting. Glenda felt uneasy at the thought of some unknown critic watching her as she went about her business.
Then our good friend, Sandy, thought of a lovely solution. She organized a "sling walk." Several of us met at Glenda's house one morning and paraded all around the neighborhood with our children (from babies to toddlers) in slings. We had a great potluck lunch afterward and the older children played in the yard. It was a beautiful day in so many ways. It occurred to me that this was La Leche League at its finest. It is our true community when perhaps our geographical community doesn't fit so well. When we attend an LLL meeting, we're comfortably surrounded by supportive and encouraging women. Once that might have happened in neighborhoods, but now you may have to intentionally create that likeminded community.
We hear at every Series Meeting that LLL is based on mother-to-mother support. I feel so blessed to have been on both sides. I surely relied on all the support offered to me these last few years, but I am perhaps more grateful to have had the chance to be there for someone else.