For me, the hardest part was the guilt.
There are so many feelings of guilt around Postpartum Depression.
Bringing a new baby into this world is supposed to be a blessed time full of happiness. So, when you feel anything but blessed and happy, guilt is often inevitable.
I didn’t deal with postpartum depression with my first, at all. With my second I only had a mild case of baby blues the first couple of weeks. So, when I was struggling with severe depression after the birth of my third baby, the guilt over feeling less joy for him ate at me.
This Can’t Be Happening To Me!
Even the guilt of knowing it was postpartum depression messed with my head.
All along, I had felt PPD could never happen to me. That was a thing that happened to other moms, I told myself. Moms who didn’t plan that baby in the first place, or didn’t try hard enough to bond with their baby, or didn’t read up enough on what to expect postpartum, etc.
It could never happen to a baby-wearing, breastfeeding, cloth-diapering, co-sleeping mama like myself.
So when it hit me, and I recognized it immediately, the guilt of knowing I had wrongfully judged moms before me, really bothered me.
What Does This Have To Do With Cloth Diapers?
This brings us to cloth diapers. They were another thing that crept their way into my feelings of guilt.
We often have these images in our mind of what a perfect cloth diaper stash looks like. (Probably thanks to all the beautiful pictures of cloth diaper stashes on social media). I started feeling guilty that mine didn’t fit that description. Maybe I didn’t have enough diapers to meet the needs of my two boys in cloth!
Luckily, I was able to wave that feeling of not having enough away. My husband was always reminding me that I had too many diapers.
But, of course, the depression didn’t leave me alone and it morphed that nagging feeling into other guilt trips that I couldn’t dismiss easily anymore.
Realizing I Couldn’t Do It Anymore
I didn’t always have time to stuff and display my diapers beautifully on some shelf.
I didn’t even have the time to finish a load of diapers in a day sometimes!
The pile of diapers waiting to be stuffed and put away soon became what appeared to be a permanent mountain on my couch. Shrinking slightly as I pulled diapers out when they were needed and then growing again dramatically when diaper laundry day showed up sooner than I was ready for it.
Pretty soon it became apparent that some days it was best to preserve my sanity by relying on disposables. My mind, of course, could then guilt me by telling me this was proof I had failed.
And so, I sold my entire diaper stash to never feel that guilt again. I had decided to quit cloth diapering.
What Did I Just Do?!?!
That plan backfired in my face.
I had sold a stash that took me over a year to accumulate and I had spent more money than I ever intended to spend on it. And I sold it for about a tenth of its retail value!
More than once, I found myself crying in the diaper isle of a baby store as I ran numbers through my head.
I would start off doing some basic math to see which pack of diapers had the lowest ‘per diaper’ cost that day. I always ended up with calculating how much it would be costing to use these disposables until my babies were potty trained.
The numbers were too high for my comfort. It made me feel stupid for getting rid of my cloth diapers, and more than anything (yup, you guessed it) GUILTY for the financial burden I had placed on my husband all because I was too “weak-minded” to keep up with my cloth diaper laundry.
Taking Back The Reins
This is when I realized I needed help and I needed to tell that guilt to shove it and take back the reins of my mental health.
I sat down and made a list of the pros and cons of cloth diapering for me to help me figure out how to be successful this time.
My list of pros is what made me want to make this work so badly. Money saved in the long run. The actual washing was easy (it’s the dealing with the aftermath that drove me crazy). No weird disposable diaper irritations on my boys. No need for diaper rash ointments. And most importantly, to me, they were so stinkin’ cute!! The sight of the diapers neatly put away or “on the bum” genuinely brought joy to me and coloured up my day a little.
My cons were pretty much all related to dealing with the clean laundry. Stuffing pockets took too long and meant I would end up with a pile of unstuffed diapers. All in ones took too long to dry and meant I needed a larger stash so my boys wouldn’t run out of diapers on laundry day, plus diapers hogging the dryer all day meant our dirty clothes would pile up too.
I also had a huge variety of diaper styles and brands. Because of this, sorting what inserts went with which diapers was very time-consuming. Even diapers that were easy to stuff or snap inserts into were left sitting; I had a mountain to dig through for the correct insert with the correct cover.
My conclusion was: stick to Lil Helper!
Lil Helpers were the only cloth diapers I didn’t have any complaints about. I know this doesn’t necessarily hold true for everyone but it did for me. My kids never leaked in them, they washed well, dried fast, no stuffing pockets necessary, and above all, they were beautiful and would bring me joy no matter how they were displayed in my home.
Asking For Help
I also knew there was no way I would be able to pay for a diaper stash up front. At least not like the one I had before. It would have to be done slowly over the course of several months.
This is when I decided to do something that terrified me, email Lil Helper and ask for help. I thought that maybe they could offer me a layaway plan of sorts. Maybe they could offer me a way to pay them slowly because I would never have the money in one chunk. I don’t know how to hold onto money without spending it to save up for that.
From experience with their customer service, I knew that if any cloth diaper company out there would be willing to hear me out, it was Lil Helper.
Faith In Humanity Restored
A few days after sending that email, I received a call that honestly changed my life.
Mohammed, the CEO of Lil Helper, was on the other end. He called to check on me and make sure I was doing well.
Then he offered me something that was more generous than I could have dreamed. He sent me all of the cloth diapers I needed to diaper my boys full time. This way, I wouldn’t have to be spending any more money than I wanted to on disposables while I paid off the diapers slowly. He told me to take all the time I needed to pay. To focus on my mental health above all else.
The amazing humanity that Mohammed showed me that day, reminded me that it was okay to ask for help.
It was okay to not keep these feelings bottled up .
Most importantly, there was no need to feel any guilt about anything because I was simply doing the best I could.
My little guy is now 9 months old. While some days are harder than others, I think I can safely say the heaviest part of the storm is way behind me.
I still have days when I rely on disposables for convenience and I know that’s okay, it’s not a failure, it’s smart planning!
And there are days a pile of diapers sits in a basket and I know that’s okay. It’s not like my diapers are having a photo shoot that day! Besides, when I do get a little break, I know I can take a sloppy mountain of covers and inserts and turn it into a beautiful shelf display in ten minutes flat.
Life Has a Funny Way of Surprising You
My debt to, and appreciation of, this beautiful company that is Lil Helper blossomed into a work relationship. I recently became the newest member of the Lil Helper team, taking care of customer service inquiries.
It is the job I didn’t even know was my dream job! I work from home without sacrificing my time with my children. I love helping ease the financial burden on my husband. And I’m honoured to be working alongside the amazing people that form the Lil Helper team.
It’s so funny to me now when I think about the day I sat, shaking in front of the computer, as I typed out the message asking Mohammed for a hand in pulling me out of the rut I was in. At the time, none of us imagined then that I would join the team less than a year later.
I am so grateful for this experience, above all else. I feel I was tested with this powerful depression that accompanies many moms postpartum in order to come out of it all much stronger than I’ve ever been. And for the lessons it taught me, I am humbled to have been one of the chosen.
Have you ever hit a hurdle in your cloth diapering journey? Has something made you want to quit cloth diapering? How did you handle it? I would love to hear from you all!
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with postpartum depression please remember it is okay to ask for help. Below are some resources you can use to seek help.