On being a new mom:
There are a million books and blogs offering advice on what to expect both when you’re expecting and parenting thereafter. I am also incredibly thankful for my great friend Google for 2am searches on “what is a normal breathing rate for a 6 week old” and “color chart for infant poop”. But one thing I wasn’t prepared for and no one really talks about is how vulnerable you feel as a new mom. Yes, I’ve heard about motherhood feeling like your heart is living outside your body, and I couldn’t agree more. But in my experience,
I’ve felt a great deal of responsibility for this soul entrusted to me, not only to raise to be a kind, decent human but also to protect and take care of.
On being a long time gun owner:
I’ve carried a firearm as long as legally possible and carried pepper spray prior to that. I’ve had hours of firearm training as well as many lectures on situational awareness (thanks dad!). My belief is that my protection is my own responsibility for as long as I can remember. Carrying a pistol has given me a confidence that I will have the ability to fight back if the situation ever arises, prayerfully not. Even with all that, a trip with my little one still gives me the feeling that I’ve left the house naked.
Thinking back, I remember one of our first outings, just the two of us. First, you think you have to pack everything plus an extra pair and every toy that they haven’t used “just in case”. It makes me laugh now, but I was just a mom, trying her best. And then, you have to figure out how to dress! With a new postpartum body leaking everywhere and trying to make sure you can still breastfeed gracefully in public is a mental battle in and of itself. But then my mind turned to “how would I protect us?” How in the world would I keep us safe and keep my precious boy in my arms?
This last year, child abductions and trafficking have come to light thanks to the connection and awareness on social media. To be honest, I hadn’t ever heard of a company with the sole purpose of catching traffickers or understood the signs of a child being trafficked. As I became a new mom, with plenty of midnight hours to scroll, my feed started to look much different. I learned
every 40 seconds a child is abducted.
Let me say that again for the people in the back, EVERY 40 SECONDS! (You can read about it in this article in Parents’ Magazine.)That still takes my breath away and feels like a punch in the gut. All of those mommas, all of those sweet babes. How in the world would I keep us safe and keep my precious boy in my arms?
To say that it’s overwhelming to become a mom is an understatement. It feels like every second you’re learning, and failing, and trying again. When you’re not researching the developmental milestones to keep track of, you’re scrolling Pinterest for activities that will improve their gross motor skills, brain function, and SAT scores. You’re trying to take care of yourself and your little one the best you can. As I stepped into the new role of motherhood, I stood on the familiar foundation of my training and mindset to do the best job I knew how. And I promise you there was plenty of awkwardness.
So, as I continue to lean into how to carry a firearm as a new mom, I looked back on the training, lectures, and advice I received and I offer some of my own:
- It’s going to take time to figure it out. You won’t get it perfect from the start, there is going to be trial and error (and awkwardness). Just be sure that you are following the firearms safety rules.
- For me as a new mom, a belly band was a lifesaver. I had never carried in a belly band before, but it was so easy to put on when I was wearing leggings, my husband’s sweatshirt and a top bun or hat.
- Start small. Start with a walk around the block and then build from there. Also, if you aren’t comfortable carrying a firearm, that’s okay. Start small here too. Start with being situationally aware. Pepper spray is another great option.
- Always, always, always know where your child and your firearm are.
- I cannot stress enough how crucial situational awareness is. Take in your surroundings, park in well-lit areas, don’t go into any alleyways alone with your jogging stroller.
It’s no wonder that momma bears get such a fierce reputation for how they protect their cubs; it’s built into our DNA. I want to make sure I have the most effective way of protecting my little one and I, and for me that’s carrying a firearm. I carry with the confidence to know I will do everything in my power to keep us safe.