I have a tendency to throw myself into new endeavors full-force; to go all out, whole hog, and to try to be the very best (or at least, my very best) within the context of each new experience. Motherhood has certainly been no exception.
When I first discovered that I was pregnant with my first child, I was caught in a sort of excited disbelief. I had always known that I wanted to be a mother, but the timing wasn't exactly how I had planned, and I was, of course, nervous about doing it "right."
The initial shock wore off pretty quickly, and as it did, I threw myself into learning everything I could possibly know about pregnancy, birth, and babies.
Many of the big decisions were no-brainers. I had always known that I would pursue natural birthing. I had always known that I would breast feed. I had always known that I would avoid commercial baby food. That I would not spank. That I would only work part-time when my children were little.
Together with my then-fiance, we navigated these choices, me pitching my arguments, for or against, as necessary. As I started to throw myself into motherhood, learning all I could about the choices that I'd already made to be as fully prepared as possible, I kept happening upon decisions that hadn't occurred to me. Where would the baby sleep? If the baby was a boy, would we circumcise him? What about vaccinations?
Through the dizzying sea of decisions to make, to argue for or against, one thing I never thought to consider was what, of all things, our baby would poop in. I was entirely unaware that there options other than the popular brands of disposable diapers, until a friend asked "Will you use cloth diapers?" Once again, I took to my laptop in a flurry of key strokes to learn all I could about the benefits and the downsides of cloth diapers.
The more I learned the more clear it became that of course we would use cloth diapers. I had long ago given up disposable menstrual products in favor of their reusable counterparts, including cloth pads. The environmental impact of several years of disposable diapers times an at-that-time-undetermined number of children would far outweigh that of a few pads every month. We had already traded in paper towels for cloth napkins, so why would we choose anything other than cloth for wiping our little one's bum? We had already carefully weeded through the array of baby shampoos, lotions, and diaper creams to select natural brands free of toxins to pamper our baby’s skin, so why would we nullify that effort by putting the toxic ingredients in typical disposable diapers against her bottom?
Those nights of researching decision after decision, product after product made it clear, I was a mom. Even though she wasn't born yet, it was my duty to protect my child as much as possible from the toxins in this world. It was my mission to make educated decisions regarding her care and upbringing. It was my responsibility to make choices that were consistent with my values, up to and including something as usually thoughtless as which diapers to choose.
As we learned and grew as parents, we made mistakes. When we found out or second child was on the way, we did some things differently than we had the first time around, but there was never a question about what diapers to use. When it comes to parenting, there is no one way to do it "right," but we all strive to do what is "right for us", and for us, that includes cloth diapers!
This post is part of BlogHer's 'I'm a Mom' Moment editorial series, made possible by Seventh Generation.