When I was pregnant with my first child (a daughter) I was twenty four years old. By today’s standards, I was slightly on the young side to start having babies. But I was married (for two whole months before I got pregnant) and had a supportive family and because I was the eldest of six children, I had grown up with babies so I felt prepared.
Plus I loved to shop in the baby boutiques.
I spent quite a bit of time and a considerable amount of money in these boutiques. I researched, I compared and I discussed with shop keepers and other moms in the store until finally I bought. Most of the decisions I made were based on consumer reviews or in person advice from other moms, but some, like the cloth diapers, were based on sheer cuteness.
I didn’t choose cloth diapers. They chose me. How can you resist all the bright colours and cute designs? I nodded politely as the sales girl explained the environmental benefits and the easy washing instructions while I counted how many shades of pink they came in.
I went home with a starter kit. A $200 starter kit with a whopping five diapers in it.
As the big day slowly got closer and the baby showers were done I began to unpack, wash and then pack a hospital bag and a diaper bag. Both were placed by the front door of our home, waiting for our little baby girl to make her appearance.
The first few days in the hospital were a blur. While this is not a story of my pregnancy or of my daughter’s birth I will mention that neither were as simple as I had hoped and we spent just under a week in hospital. On the day we were finally to go home, one of my favourite nurses was helping me pack up my things and noticed in our hospital bag one single cloth diaper. It was washed and ready for use but in all the commotion I had forgotten it was there.
“What’s this?” she asked.
“Oh” I said looking up from trying to not-so-expertly latch my starving infant “I’m going to cloth diaper.”
The nurse smiled, and left the room for a minute. She came back with a stack of disposable diapers and put them into the bag destined for home. “Take these just in case” she said. I was too tired to care.
So I used them – the disposable diapers – when we got home. I’m not one to waste and we spent a few days essentially on the couch where the hospital bag was conveniently within arms’ length and conveniently yet-to-be-unpacked. A few times, I thought about the cloth diapers in the cute little white girly dresser in the cute pink girly nursery I think my daughter had actually been in for a total of three minutes. I never got off the couch to get them.
But finally it was time. It was time to get off the couch. My husband had to go back to work and we decided I would spend the day at my in-laws house so my mother-in-law could “help” by cuddling my child to death and never putting her down until she absolutely had to give her to me because my child was starving. It was pure bliss to have free arms even for an hour.
As I was dozing on my mother-in-law’s couch I heard her whisper to me “don’t get up, just tell me where the diaper bag is”. I opened my eyes and could clearly see that my baby had graciously blessed her Nana with her very first diaper explosion. Both of them were soaked. My sweet little princess had mustard coloured poop all the way up to her arm pits.
I got up. The diaper bag – I had so lovingly packed before my daughter was born – was now by my in-law’s front door. I gently laid my little princess on a towel on the counter in the bathroom, striped her down and started to clean off as much poop as possible before using the bathroom sink as a make-shift baby tub. When she was all clean and swaddled in a towel I un-zipped the diaper bag to find exactly:
1 cloth diaper (pink with brown polka-dots – super cute!)
1 container of wipes
1 tube of zinc oxide diaper cream
1 pair of disposable nursing pads
1 tube of lanolin cream (trust me I needed it!)
1 Always panty liner (don’t I wish a liner was all you needed after giving birth!)
1 pair of socks (pink with brown bows – super cute to match the diaper!)
1 receiving blanket
What was I thinking? On the emergency preparedness scale of 0-10 I was a minus 3. The socks were the closest thing I had to a clean change of clothes. But it was fine. My mother-in-law was already rinsing and washing the now poop-covered outfit and I had a cloth diaper and a receiving blanket.
With baby in her super-cute cloth diaper and swaddled in her clean receiving blanket I settled onto the couch to nurse, once again feeling like I had the new-mom thing under control.
Twenty minutes later, I could feel wet. The blanket was wet. The diaper was wet. Now I had no clean clothes, no clean diapers, no clean blankets and I wasn’t at home. I wanted to cry. Actually I’m pretty sure I did cry.
My mother-in-law took over. She sent my father-in-law out for diapers. She used the wipes to clean off the baby and then handed her back to me naked, but expertly swaddled in a towel ready to continue to nurse. When my father-in-law got home, my mother-in-law had dug out a sleeper left over from my nephew. My beautiful sweet little girl was now in a disposable diaper and a too-big bright green sleeper complete with a big blue dinosaur on the front.
When my husband came to pick me up after work he took one look at our daughter then one look at me. He didn’t even ask.
On the way home that night, we picked up diapers. Although my mother-in-law insisted I take home the package they had bought I wanted to be sure I had enough.
I have three children now. Two are still in diapers. I don’t even know what happened to the cloth diapers I had bought for cuteness and dumped quicker than a frat boy dumps a one night stand for nothing less than convenience.
While I will never actually let myself even consider the crazy amounts of money I have spent – and continue to spend – on diapers I have also never once, since actually having a baby, lingered for longer than a second in the super-cute cloth diaper section of the baby boutiques.
I may be wrong, I may be right, but I am definitely not “that perfect mom”. I learned that the first week of motherhood. But perfect or not I now have a well-stocked diaper bag that would easily score me an eight on the emergency preparedness scale.
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Accustomed Chaos | Gluten Free Attachment Parenting™