Spotlight on a Slingababy Consultant: Kia Roberts
Can you give us a quick introduction as to who you are?
Mother to five boys in Derby. Owner of Cariad Babi – a not for profit eco store raising funds to provide support to vulnerable families. In June 2020, 6 months pregnant with four more at home, I opened The PoD (parents of derby) – a one stop hub of support for all things parent related, from car seat fittings to the sling & cloth nappy library. Cariad Babi aims to empower parents with informed choice, one eco friendly step at a time.
Can you tell us more about your journey from carrying to becoming a consultant to now?
As a disabled parent, I couldn’t push a pram or hold my baby long enough to finish a feed. This was the first time I’d managed to breastfeed and the pain of holding my baby at just 4 weeks was crippling. I saw a sling in a shop and bought it. It didn’t feel particularly safe or comfortable and so I found a sling library. I loved the ABILITY slings gave me, and became passionate to share it with others. Having always worked in family support roles, I volunteered at a sling library whilst continuing to build the model for Cariad Babi. I trained as a consultant and took the leap to provide a full time sling & cloth nappy library, 6 days a week, in the city centre, accessible to all. Cost, location, and building access barriers have all been reduced or removed to share the benefits further. It also has enabled me to work around my own health conditions and family without judgement, and my teaching has extended into other aspects if supporting parents. Slings helped me so much that I had two more children since I had spare hands for the older ones!
What is your favourite part about being a consultant?
Connecting. I love the people I meet. I love to hear about their journeys, be a part of their crossroads and help them to take their next step. I feel privileged to be invited into a part of their lifes, and to see the difference my support can make if very fulfilling. I have made more connections in the last 6 years than I had in the previous decade!
Would you share a special memory that sticks out for you?
I had a first time mum visit one of my pop up libraries in my early days, long before I had my own bricks and mortar venue. She came with her own sling needing support on how to use it.
An hour after her arrival she headed home smiling. But what happened in between was nothing to do with her sling. We didn’t even get it out the bag.
Instead, I opened a conversation enquiring as to how I might help, and picked up on underlying struggles. It turned out this lady needed support in another area I am trained in, but what I’d actually done was provide her with a space that she felt safe enough to open up, break down, cry and rebuild. We drank tea, I listened, offered support, and empowered her. She messaged shortly afterwards thanking me and has remained a client for several years now.
I learned very quickly that the space I provide is more important than the support I can offer, and have held on to that. If my space is wrong, nobody will come for support.
What tip would you give yourself if you could get back to the time before you were a parent?
Don’t do it! Haha I jest.
We’re all students. There is no right way to parent, but there is always room to develop, and it’s totally ok to royally balls it up from time to time. We’re learning too, it never stops!
Why did you choose to train with Slingababy?
I love what Lorette stands for. And equally for what she doesn’t. The course didn’t feel like ‘here’s how to be awesome at slings, now learn and leave’, but was much deeper into everything that surrounds the person who has come to you seeking support. I applied some things I learned from Lorette to other parts of my life!
Do you want to say a few words about your Slingababy experience?
It wasn’t what I expected, and the tools I was given enabled me to handle what came next that I’d not forseen. I’ve met some incredible people within the slingababy family and can’t wait to continue my career progression with the team.
Anything else you would like to say about anything?
If buzz lightyear doesn’t know he’s a toy, why doesn’t he speak around humans?
Back to business: Cariad Babi was an idea I developed over 10 years. I wanted to find a way to support families that didn’t rely on grants. My love for eco swaps was the perfect way to marry my ideas. Shopping with Cariad Babi directly supports other families, with every single order gratefully received and lovingly packaged.