When you first became a new mom, did you have your sights set on doing everything a certain way? Lela Davidson definitely did, but what happens when her new son arrives and she's trying to use the green option for diapers? Read this story from Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms.

Written by Lela Davidson, published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms.

Diaper backward spells repaid.
Think about it.
—Marshall McLuhan

I was pregnant in Seattle, where I shopped at Trader Joe's, grew herbs on my condo lanai and reused the protective sleeves on my piping hot lattes. I tried to be an Earth Mama, I really did. Before my son was born, I was determined to attempt cloth diapers. Yes, attempt. Not exactly committed to the cause, but taking credit for the effort. I might have been stronger in my conviction for green diapering had I not been privy to the memory of my mother hunched over a putrid white bucket, rinsing a thick septic mess of my brother's nappies. However, we'd come a long way since the stinking '70s. In my 1998 urban existence, I had access to something my mother never could have imagined or afforded from the secluded farmhouse of my childhood: diaper service. With support, I could be a Good Mother, an Earth Mama even.

I could try, anyway.

On the West Coast, this — along with not eating the placenta, or at least planting it in the yard under a Very Special Tree — put a serious pall on my potential for environmentally-friendly mothering.

It might have gone down differently if not for the circumcision. Like most of my contemporaries, I had my baby boy snipped shortly after his birth. On the West Coast, this — along with not eating the placenta, or at least planting it in the yard under a Very Special Tree — put a serious pall on my potential for environmentally-friendly mothering. I would have to pick a lot of blackberries in the park, do hours of yoga and eat buckets full of granola to make up for this crime.

At the nurses' suggestion — to avoid diaper rash on his extra sensitive parts — we used disposable diapers for the first week at home. Throwaway sticky tabs were my friends, as was the space age mock-cotton that held about a gallon of "liquid." Eager to prove my nature-loving worthiness, I circled the two-week mark on the calendar and called the service to schedule my initial delivery. On the big day, I received a 10-foot stack of new diapers and a contraption for storing the soiled ones. The next week, they would swap out the used for fresh.

stack of prefold cloth diapers

I quickly got to work trying out the new diapers. My son humored me, lying calmly through my struggles with the intricate diaper origami. Ten years ago, you needed an engineering degree to maneuver a cloth diaper. My son and I blew through four outfits that afternoon, in part because of the gaping diaper-to-skin issues, and partially because my dear progeny refused to pace himself.

Still, I was determined. Right up until it came time to pack for a weekend trip away. I calculated the number of diapers I'd need for the two-day trip and piled them on the bed. Turns out you go through a lot more cloth diapers than disposable because, in contrast to their earth-ravaging counterparts, reusable diapers hold approximately a quarter teaspoon of pee. I filled an entire suitcase with the mountain of diapers. I sighed, crossed my arms, squinted and huffed. Then I took the diapers out of the suitcase, loaded them back into the sack in which they had arrived, and called the service.

It was not the first time in my brief tenure as Mother that I realized things would not always proceed as planned.

"This just isn't working out."

"Ma'am, don't you at least want to give it until the end of the day?"

"It's been six hours. I get it." It was not the first time in my brief tenure as Mother that I realized things would not always proceed as planned. But the pacifier incident is another story.

One-fourth of a day. Not bad for an herb-growing, latte-sipping, ozone-destroying Earth Mama Wannabe.

***** 

Lela's lesson reminds us that things aren't always going to go the way we had hoped, but at least it was worth trying. What new mom lesson did you learn after your child arrived? For more stories about parenting, pick up Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms. And sign up for the "Inspiration for Busy Moms" e-mail newsletter for a weekly story.

Reprinted with permission from Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC © 2011. In order to protect the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent. All rights reserved.

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