My babywearing journey starts like most, from a place of love and devotion to my new baby. For me, it was a natural choice. A way to create a strong and lasting bond, a way to give my darling the warmth, comfort, and confidence she needed.
I found life as a new mum beautiful but not so easy. Ten days after birth, my husband went abroad to set up what would be our new life in Scotland. Babywearing became my life saver. It helped me calm the frantic moments all new mums experience and helped to create a bond with my beautiful daughter while her dad was away. And, as a former professional ballet dancer, I had continued dancing and teaching until the last days of my pregnancy and babywearing helped me to keep moving after birth, sway and dance; chest to chest, heart to heart with my Lydia.
We left Istanbul 3 months later to meet up with my husband. I never stopped babywearing or dancing. In fact, it became a family affair. My husband took up babywearing too, and it was beautiful to see how daddy and daughter’s relationship flourished by babywearing.
Soon after we settled I started holding babywearing dancing classes as an expat mom in Glasgow. There were so much to learn from English to setting up a business. And, through my Dance with Babies classes and Dancing Families movement, I found my new babywearing community with so many beautiful parents and babies from all over the world living in Glasgow and they were inspirational in helping me uniting my two passions, babywearing and dancing. I journeyed from high street carriers to ergonomically correct ones, becoming a peer supporter and to babywearing consultant. I established a school and team of experts at Joimove where we created the safety course on active babywearing to help babywearing dance instructors deliver their classes safely.
Our growing team of Joimove leaders, Instructors, and Joimovers now form a global community of loving, caring, skilled individuals who are spreading a love and awareness of safe babywearing in 14 countries and growing. Through our Joimove Babies classes, flash mobs, International Babywearing Dance Day, fundraisers, and special events, Joimove has introduced more than 4000 new parents to babywearing in three years.
No matter what lens I viewed the world, whether through Joimove, my personal training and learning, or my babywearing social community, babywearing and dance continued to be integral to mine and my family’s life. From Lydia’s inspired dances at home, to her excitement in taking part in my babywearing dance classes, or when she tagged along with my husband and I when we went to tango practices, dance and babywearing were our lives.
At the end of 2015, babywearing became a healing tool in our lives. Lydia was diagnosed with Leukaemia, when she was 3, during our family visit in Turkey. In the space of a week, our beloved dancing fairy’s life had come crashing to the ground, no longer able to walk. This new chapter started abruptly in the hospital.
Lydia’s illness had a deep effect on all of us. Despite the constant needles, the cannulas and the tubes during Lydia’s first cycle of chemo, we kept the baby carrier beside us. Babywearing turned to toddlerwearing, keeping Lydia close to our bodies and hearts.
Music and movement, and just general toddler-wearing continued to play a healing part of our lives with Lydia strapped on to us as much as we could; as we walked/danced in hospital corridors, in the room together, wherever we went. It has been 2 years with treatment and we have couple of months left to complete. She is now back to her health and shines her joyful personality where ever she goes. We are grateful to our health team, family and friends both in Turkey, Scotland and beautiful Joimove community around the world. Recently Lydia published a book called “I Like To Go To The Hospital” and all proceeds from the sale of this book goes to Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.
Our journey through cancer may be unique to us, but I strongly recommend babywearing, dancing, and never missing a chance to enjoy life as a way to get through the tough times. It’s brought my family closer together and given us strength. I hope it does the same for you, no matter your situation. I am very excited to sharing more with you on my upcoming books “The Babywearing Dance Book” and “Dance Your Life Up: 14 Healing Remedies to Overcome Life’s Challenges”. As I always say “Be grateful, celebrate life and spread love!”
Selen Yilmaz is an international author, former professional ballet dancer, choreographer with over 25 years experience, babywearing consultant and entrepreneur whose work has spread to fourteen countries in three years.
This post has been adapted from an original post from Selen Yilmaz’s blog. Want to find out more about Joimove’s founder Selen’s journey? Follow her on Instagram.