Military families make up a huge portion of the Hampton Roads community. This is reflected by the members and volunteers in our local Babywearing International chapter. It is no surprise that babywearing is seen as a crucial part of parenting in these families that are often separated from active duty spouses and sometimes lack a local support network of friends and family. Babywearing not only helps caregivers who are temporarily solo-parenting, it also helps the active duty service members, who often miss milestones in their children’s lives, reconnect with their children.
Caitlyn S – I felt pretty lost and alone without my spouse when he left for boot camp about 3 years ago. I was really struggling to juggle simple errands with a giant stroller and an 8 month old. Something reminded me I had a Moby from when she was a tiny newborn and I tried it even though I knew it wouldn’t hold her weight. The bonding we had in the Moby was instantaneous. I was finally able to move on with my life as a solo parent AND create this amazing bond with my daughter. It became such an important part of my life that when we got to our first duty station (here in Hampton Roads,) I couldn’t wait to share it with others.
The Carrying On Project (TCOP) is a non-profit organization that works exclusively with military families to help ensure that every military family has a quality baby carrier that works for them and helps make their lives even just a little bit easier. It was started in early 2013 and since then has helped over 1800 families stationed both domestically and overseas. The small TCOP staff is completely volunteer-based, and they spend a lot of time working hard to acquire carriers that are donated either by companies or individuals and then not only shipping the carriers or hand delivering them when possible, but also connecting the recipients with resources to make sure the carriers are a perfect fit.
If you would like to help The Carrying On Project, a monetary or carrier donation are often the biggest needs, but if you have a crafted item or skill to donate, items can be listed in their shop to raise money for shipping and carrier purchase, or find ways to put you to work! Soft Structured Carriers and Mei Tais are their most requested carrier style, but all are appreciated. If you would like to apply to be a carrier recipient, please see the application on their website, www.carryingonproject.org, where you can also find more information on how to make a donation!”