The Inspiration on Why I Use Cloth Diapers
|May 1, 2011||Posted by Amber H under Feature post|
As per usual with me, there’s usually something or someone that drives me to try new things. In this case, I have to give props to my friend Kristen on why I started using cloth diapers! Kristen and I have not met in person; however we’ve known each other long enough online that I can consider her a good friend. We met on a message board forum back in 2006. When she got pregnant with her oldest daughter, she had announced that she was planning on using cloth diapers, and I was at that point intrigued. Unfortunately, I was pretty darn clueless on how to research using cloth diapers, and while I mentioned the desire to Jeff in passing, I wasn’t adamant about using cloth with Ruthie, so she was left in disposables.
When I found out I was pregnant with Oscar, I was VERY set on using cloth diapers with him, and so of course I went to Kristen with questions! She answered them and also pointed me to her friend Kim’s website (more on that later) where I was able to find out everything I needed to know -and more!- about cloth diapering. With this information and her patience, I was able to convince Jeff to say yes to cloth diapers. Because I feel like I have her to be thankful for, I figured I would write a blog post in tribute to her awesomeness. Anyways, in Kristen’s own words, here’s why she started cloth diapering:
Before I was ever even pregnant, I knew I wanted to cloth diaper. Honestly, I don’t even remember the “why” of it…I just knew that was what I wanted to do. It just seemed like the natural choice for me. So when I finally was pregnant, I spent the entire time researching all things baby related, with a major part of my research focused on cloth diapers. I easily became overwhelmed and didn’t know of anyone in “real life” who cloth diapered so I was hesitant to just start buying stuff. At that point, I just assumed I needed to buy a lot of diapers at once, and I knew I just didn’t have the money for that. So when my baby came, I still hadn’t decided what style or brand of diaper I wanted.
Fast forward 5 months….I met someone who has now become one of my best friends. And she cloth diapered. I got a lot of info from her and she brought to my attention that I could part time cloth diaper until I could afford more. DUH! Not sure why that never occurred to me! So that’s just what I did. It took me a few months to get together a full stash, but when I did, I was so happy! I didn’t have super fun prints (or any at all actually). I didn’t want to try many different brands either. When I found what worked, I stuck with it.
THEN I had my second daughter only 14 months later. Obviously I needed more diapers! I wanted to try different diapers and started to get into “cute” diapers, however, I still didn’t have much money due to getting laid off of my teaching job only 3 months after finding out I was pregnant. Friends lent me diapers and I bought some additional used. Once I had a big enough stash to cloth diaper both girls 100% it was amazing! Never having to run to the store to buy diapers, never having to waste any more money on diapers…the benefits go on!
I guess the main reason I cloth diaper is the financial savings. I also feel great about doing my part to reduce waste in the environment and not having my babies exposed to all the chemicals in disposable diapers. For me, the choice was easy, even though it took me a while to get there. I don’t mind the additional laundry, even though I hate doing laundry and housework! It’s not a big amount of time and strangely doesn’t bother me to do a few more loads of laundry a week. It is cute to see my kids with fluffy bums, and I LOVE changing diapers in a public place because it’s like an accessory to my children’s clothing and I get to show it off. Cloth diapers can be fashionable as well as utilitarian and the cuteness makes it much more fun to deal with diapering!
In addition to being an inspiration, she’s also a cloth diapering advocate. We’re all aware -unless you’ve been living under a rock- that our country is slowly coming out of a recession. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that’s happening overnight, and families everywhere are still struggling. One of the things that hit home with me was when I was pregnant with Oscar, I came across an article on one of the local news websites that the local foodbanks had plenty of food, but did not have other necessities like diapers. What a horrible position to be in; to have to chose to either feed your family or your baby healthy. And of course, more recently there’s been stories in the news about parents reusing disposable diapers.. which causes their children to become exceptionally ill, and I know in one case the child ultimately died. I cannot blame the parents here; they were in a desperate situation, and desperate times calls for desperate measures. Of course, Kristen has decided to dedicate herself to try and to prevent this from happening; at least in her part of the world at least! So, along with a friend that lives near her, she has decided to start a non-profit organization in educating and providing cloth diapers for families in need. Here’s what she says about her new organization:
Giving Diapers, Giving Hope Story
By: Kristen McCarthy
I always knew that cloth diapering my children would save me money but I never realized how important saving money was going to be for me. In only a few short months, I had gotten pregnant with my second child, found out I would be laid off of my teaching job at the end of the school year, broke up with my children’s father, lost my house due to not being able to afford the mortgage, and was forced to move out of state to live with my parents. I though that I was having a difficult financial time then, but this past December my unemployment ran out and I still hadn’t found a job yet. And due to technicalities with the house I owned, I wasn’t even eligible for welfare and still wasn’t receiving any child support from my ex. I literally had NO money coming in. It was devastating. As I was carrying on with my day to day life caring for my children, I realized it was time to wash the diapers. As I was throwing my cloth diapers into the washing machine I thought to myself, “Thank goodness I cloth diaper because if I didn’t I wouldn’t even know how I could buy my children diapers!”
Then I started to think, what WOULD other people do if they were in a similar situation and DIDN’T cloth diaper? How would they diaper their children?
About a week or so later I encountered an article talking about how some low income families are struggling to diaper their children due to financial reasons, so they are leaving their children in the diapers longer than they should, or they are rinsing out the disposable diapers and putting them back on their babies. This is a awful thought because it isn’t healthy for the babies to be exposed to their own excrement for too long, or to be exposed to the harsh chemicals in disposable diapers.
This all lead me to start a non-profit foundation called “Giving Diapers, Giving Hope”, which lends cloth diapers to low income families to help lessen the burden of diapering their babies and hopefully put the money they save towards bills, food and clothing. I run this organization with a close friend, Emily Glover, who is just as
passionate about the cause.
We are still in the beginning stages of our non-profit but we have already received a lot of support. We have gotten a good amount of donations, but we obviously are still needing more so we can help as many families as possible. Along with providing diapers to needy families, we are also providing cloth diapering education and support for the duration of the family borrowing the diapers. Our hope is that it is as positive experience as possible for each family. We are also going to try to provide them with as many cloth diapering accessories as possible, such as wetbags, snappi’s, cloth diaper
detergent, etc. As of our current inventory, we have not received any of this from donations, so we would really benefit from these donations, or monetary donations so we can provide these accessories to our clients.
This is a really exciting project for me because it obviously hits very close to home. I am aware that some of the people we are helping might be in a better financial situation than I am, but there are many ways we can be struggling. Even though I am still struggling financially, having the Giving Diapers, Giving Hope Foundation has given me so much hope, regardless of my financial situation and I hope that by helping out other struggling families and by alleviating some of their financial stress, this will provide them with hope as well.
I really have to admire her for this. Often times, when we’re struggling we tend to think of only ourselves, but Kristen’s selflessness is really inspiring. While we may be seperated by a couple thousand miles, I do plan on helping her any way I can!