I’ve been spending time looking at nappies today (oh how glamorous my life is!). I’ve been really lucky to have a friend, Charlie, who has given me her reusable nappies to try out but I’ve been feeling quite overwhelmed by them and if I’m honest with myself, after looking at what it would take to use them, I know I’d rather use disposable ones.
But I’ve got such a weight of guilt about this choice.
I already fear the impact that bringing another little being into existence will have on the planet. How he may struggle with hunger, thirst and lack of resources that we currently have in such abundance. How he’ll contribute to using up our finite resources. How he might not give a damn about the planet and becoming a little consumer monster.
And I know that even the most ethical, sustainably sourced, kind reusable nappies will not biodegrade in our landfills, because landfills don’t have enough oxygen to allow products to breakdown. Plus there’s the additional cost of the ‘ethical’ nappies which might be outside our budget on the latter months of maternity and shared parental leave.
But then, washing so many reusable nappies brings its own challenges as the heat, water and cleaning products have their own impact on the planet.
And they bring an additional workload of continual washing on top of baby clothes that will get covered in sick, the occasional poonami and baby dribble.
I feel blocked and stuck each way I turn, and on top of that, self-indulgent and over-privileged for being in a position which allows me to consider all these options.
Yet stepping back and asking myself ‘what’s shaping how I view this situation?‘ as I explained in my last post, I can see a perfectionism – holding myself to the highest standard ever – which isn’t helpful.
Gregg and I have tried to make ethical decisions with the pregnancy and baby prep. I’ve bought only 4 maternity items of clothing, instead relying on the kindness of people who have shared their maternity clothes with me and staying in my non-maternity clothes as much as possible. We’ve only bought secondhand for everything else we need too in order to reduce our carbon footprint and have had such a wonderful time searching through charity shops for sweet little outfits and sourcing baby products on facebook marketplace.
So we are doing our bit – not as much as I’d perhaps like – but we are trying our best. And our best has to be good enough.
In stepping back and realising this, I know that beating myself up with guilt about what nappies we use isn’t going to help me or anyone else.
But it doesn’t stop me still feeling bad for wanting to go with an ‘easy option’ of disposables.
I suppose the thought that is coming to me in stepping back is that nothing about becoming a parent is likely to be an easy. A life full of joy, yes. Continual opportunities for learning, absolutely. Heart-bursting moments full of love, you gotcha.
But easy? Not likely.
And so I know I need to enter this journey with everything that can help me along on the way. And at this moment, disposables seem like a tool to help me. I want to be kind to this planet and part of that is being kind to myself, knowing my limits, allowing for my imperfections.
And with this realisation, I accept that perhaps I need to use disposables and I accept that this choice can be ok. I feel such a weight lift from my shoulders. Such a sense of relief as I follow what feels right instead of what I feel I ‘should’ do.
I feel a bit more confident in my first steps to parenthood. And that is where I feel my energy needs to go – into being a good mum. Not a perfect mum, but the best I can be.
And with this thought, I know that all will be well.