I am Madeleine, my pronouns are she/her. I am a Slingababy and Trageschule trained Babywearing Consultant with over 8 years experience teaching parents how to use slings. Bet you're wondering how do you get into something like that? Let me tell you my story...
Pre-children I was a research scientist. I gained a PhD in Immunology and then worked for several years as a Post Doctoral Research Scientist looking at the role of the immune system and inflammation in chronic kidney disease. I loved it but equally when I cam to the end of that role and I was pregnant with our first child, I was looking for something else. I wasn't sure what but I was ready to leave the world of research and very long non family friendly hours.
My babywearing journey started at 8 months pregnant, February 2013, feeling totally overwhelmed by all the different types of carriers I went along to a sling library. I received some excellent advice and left with a really clear idea of what would work for me. The proof came just a month later when my son Tom was born and my stretchy wrap quickly became worth its weight in gold for all 3 of us; for Tom who wanted to sleep snuggled against one of his parents' chests and definitely not in his Moses basket; for me who just wanted to make a cup of tea; and for my husband Dave who loved the freedom of being able to leave the house without being weighed down by a pram.
As Tom grew I attempted to return to the sling library to look at 'next step' carrier options but I found it had closed down. So I contacted the previous volunteer, did a lot of research and took the School of Babywearing's Peer supporter course and reopened the NCT Kensington and Chelsea Sling Library a few months later in November 2013. Volunteering gave me a focus and something to do in addition to being a full time parent. It allowed me to engage my brain again and I loved the challenge.
Within 18 months I had helped over 200 families in the local area, and decided to take my love of teaching babywearing further by formally training as a Babywearing Consultant with Trageschule UK (I completed the Foundation Level in April 2015 and the Advanced Level in August 2015). Then, fellow Trageschule consultant Melissa Branzburg and I set up Wear-A-Bye Baby, a successful babywearing consultancy and sling library in West London.
In January 2016 I moved home to Mortlake, and Sheen Slings was born a month later. Since then I have completed the 3rd and final stage of the Trageschule training; the Certification Level (October 2016), and trained with Slingababy too. We've added a new member of our family - Rachel - and Sheen Slings has gone from strength to strength. I've built Sheen Slings up from a tiny little library running just from my living room to a huge resource for parents all over South West London and via online consults and postal hires - all over the UK.
Empowering parents with the knowledge and support they need to find the tools and techniques that work for them. Using my scientific background and anayltical thinking in a way I would have never guessed back in 2012 when I was working as a research scientist - but in a way that actually is far more fulfilling and brings far more immediate joy to myself and each of my clients!
2 thoughts on “About”
My name is Lucy Darke and I'm a newly qualified NCT antenatal practitioner living in Sheen and teaching in Richmond & Ham. One of my lovely parents told me about a new sheen sling library - I would love to come along and meet you as this is something I'm keen to share with all my groups. Let me know if you are interested in meeting up. Thanks Lucy
Thanks so much for getting in contact! I'd love to meet up with you - I will email you directly! Look forward to meeting soon.