My mom had twins in 1983 when I was 15. We used cloth diapers for a while. It was disgusting. It was the old rectangle of a diaper, safety pins, with rubber pants on top. They leaked. They stunk. You had to rinse them in the toilet, and then stick them in a pail of soapy/shitty water reeking in the bathroom until laundering them. She was attempting to breast feed twins (which brought us to five kids). She had a husband that never changed a diaper once or ever did a load of laundry in his life. Cloth diapers were a herculean effort. The relief I felt when God-knows-who donated disposable diapers to us! My 15 year old “second-mother” self rejoiced.
When HT and I started our own family, I knew there was a “movement” toward cloth diapers, vaguely, peripherally. I knew it was better for the environment, obviously. But I had a really hard baby. The thought of adding more work to my life was heart sinking. And I thought about all the toxins being pumped into our environment from corporate America with no consequences. I felt the teeny bit I might help the environment by diapering my baby in cloth was a joke. And I resented the guilt trip being put on women to use cloth diapers. I saw it as another way to keep women so busy they wouldn’t have time to truly look at disparities in the world, like unequal pay for equal work, etc. I’d read Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth. This was just the next chapter. Cloth diapers = voluntary oppression. That’s what I thought.
The idea of toxins actually in the diapers, seeping into my baby’s skin? Now, that didn’t occur to me. The idea that they actually make cloth diapers these days that are functional….I did not know that. The fact that “child centered” (aka delayed) toileting promoted by a very famous and beloved pediatrician sounded so crunchy granola, but was really a well thought out campaign to sell more diapers for more years? Nope. It wouldn’t have occurred to me. (Not that it would have mattered because potty training for kids on the spectrum is just a whole other ball game).
I’m reading an advanced release copy of The Business of Baby by Jennifer Margulis. Oh how I wish this book had been out when I was a new mommy. Oh…the heartache it will save so many new parents in the future! She covers many topics of great concern to me, and others I had not put much thought into. Like diapers. I’ll be doing a real blog post/review/interview something or other on this book next month, but I just wanted to write this little bit about the diapers while it is fresh (hee-hee)because it illustrates that we are always learning and always growing. I mean, we can be, if we’re open.
Sometimes I feel sad about my lack of professional achievements over the last decade. But when I think about where I was when I started this parenting journey and how my consciousness has evolved, I can’t honestly feel unaccomplished. I’ve studied more as a mother than I ever did as a student (and not to brag, but I graduated college with high honors). The stakes are higher. I know so much more now.
And I’m not the only one. So many of us are waking up, and learning to trust our own Inner Guidance. Books like this are making it into the mainstream publishing world. I love it. I want to see The Business of Baby outsell “What to Expect.” I really do.
Knowledge is power.
New parents are getting smarter. They’re getting more power.
Can you feel it? I do.
And it makes my heart sing.
Given all the chaos in the business/mom world right now, this is a refreshing drink of water. Water enriched by vitamins, I might add. Thanks for the honesty, and I look forward to hearing more about the book!
I’m feelin’ it!!!
I’ve got to check this book out! Thanks for the heads up, Michelle! I did cloth diapers with both of mine until I couldn’t anymore (the septic system on our property just couldn’t handle that much laundry) and loved it, but I felt the guilt. Seems like there’s always some reason to feel guilty as a mother, isn’t there?
And on another note, you are right that you have no reason to feel “unaccomplished.” The wholehearted, wholeminded way you live your life speaks more (and changes the world more) than any set of letters behind your name or dollars in your bank account. Love you!
I felt guilty for using disposable diapers and I bought into a lot of what the ‘experts” said we needed – like completely babyproofing the house when the baby couldn’t even roll-over yet! I can hardly wait to read this book!
I used cloth diapers with both boys, but only because I couldn’t afford disposables. I hated the cloth diapers too, for exactly the reasons you described!