What I'm thinking about is cloth diapers. But pulling back to the larger issue for a moment, it's about this overwhelming new member of the family that has inserted itself ever since I got pregnant. I'll call him The Way We Do Things.
People will tell you that everyone wants to give you advice when you're pregnant, and double that when you're a new mom. Because of my personality type, I vascillate between not caring what anybody has to say and sticking with my gut or my own research, and wanting just about everyone's opinion on the planet.
As an example, I was a maniac when I planned my wedding. I knew what I wanted, but I also had to know all the options before I could make a decision. What if there was something out there that was better, cheaper, more unique, more convenient, tastier, or prettier than what I had selected? In the end it was driving me crazy and I just had to stop giving myself so many options. We had a fantastic wedding and I loved every minute of it, but consider that our wedding was just an event. Now what I get to obsess over is somebody's life, the life of my child.
That's where The Way We Do Things comes in. To be honest, there were already polarizing aspects of this character in our life already: Republican or Democrat. Conventional or Organic. Car or bike or feet. Seattle or the Eastside. A lot of these things are just part of our daily routine, and I had to realize when we moved from our cute old rental house on Queen Anne, which I thought was so "us," to the new, modern apartment in Bellevue (a cookie cutter apartment! the horror! and then, I realized, the convenience and safety and happiness of having things work the way they're supposed to!) that these things can quickly take over my identity and I should fight not to let them.
The sum of who I am is not contained in whether I walk to the store or drive, whether I vote red or blue, or whether I buy the cheaper apples that have been treated with bug-killers versus the more expensive ones that have not.
My identity is in Christ.
But as an almost parent, that has become, ironically, a lot harder to grasp.
Here is a list of some of the things we've had to decide on, or are still considering, as part of the way we will parent our child:
- Midwife or OB?
- Hospital or birthing center?
- Buy maternity clothes or borrow?
- Find out the sex or not?
- Do genetic testing or not?
- Give the baby its own room, or share with my office?
- Buy stuff new or borrow/buy off Craigslist?
- Cloth diapers or disposables?
- Vaccinations or not?
- Pain relief drugs during delivery or not?
- Breast or bottle?
- On the topic of baby "stuff," everything is a choice, from car seat to stroller to carrier, etc...there is so much you can buy!
- Baby in our room or baby in its own room to sleep? If in our room, baby in our bed or in its own cradle or basket?
And the list goes on and on.
Honestly, I think if it weren't for the Internet, I'd be a much saner person. But I'd also be less informed.
And here is the problem again: I vascillate between feeling like people have raised children for centuries and the human race has survived, therefore it should all be simple, v. acting like a sponge and trying to soak up all the information and viewpoints I can to make decisions.
I am grateful for all the friends who have offered clothes and things to borrow, as well as their experience and advice. This is not about people offering unwanted tips. Rather, it's more about trying to balance how much information I take in before I hand another item over to The Way We Do Things.
I realize that this is a process and that anything I decide before the baby is born can go out the window once he or she is here, and that different methods and products work for different families at different times. But, I have gone through several periods of feeling overwhelmed at the sheer amount of information on any given topic. I just want to cry uncle!
Will I be a bad mom because I haven't read everything there is to read about breastfeeding? Will I be a bad mom if I'm freaked out because my brain is fried as a result of reading too much?
So here's the dilemma about cloth diapers. I love the idea. I really do. But I just cringe at the actual practice. Though Tim's mom used them, mine didn't and no kid I ever babysat growing up did. So I didn't know, until I moved out to Seattle, that people were still doing something "so old fashioned." It's completely foreign to me.
What I like is the idea of buying a set of diapers and not throwing money down the drain every month for something that will be used once and thrown out. What I dislike is all I'm reading about scraping, soaking, bleaching, washing, and drying the diapers. Plus, there are like 10 brands to choose from and I've heard about different fits and leakage rates, etc. Once again, it's an information overload!
We registered for a Diaper Genie II and got it at our shower. It's already set up next to the changing table. At the time, I thought that cloth diapering was a nice idea, but just too much work. But I still feel bad about all the money to be spent on disposables. And the idea of adding to the landfill. And yet, I feel worse about trying to live life with a newborn and be washing poopy diapers around the clock!
To preserve my sanity, and hopefully get some sleep tonight, the conclusion I've come to on this one issue is that we are going to start out with disposables and just get ourselves used to having a baby around. It's a pretty big concept, you know? :) And then, once we feel like normal people (or whatever iteration of normal we arrive at after 6 or 8 weeks), I'll reconsider the cloth idea, because it honestly is attractive in many ways. I just don't think I can start there, and I have to give myself that measure of grace.
Yikes. I hope your skin isn't crawling the way mine is right now just by reading this. I understand that every new mom figures things out as she goes along, but I hate having this constant companion of The Way We Do Things. I would love to have it all figured out now, but I just don't. And truly, it's only the pressure I'm putting on myself, because all our dear friends who have kids already are completely open and gracious with their advice. No one has pushed anything on us or made us feel like we "should" do something a certain way. But people do have "their ways" of doing things, and it can be a polarizing issue. Never in my life has it been so present as in anticipating parenthood. And knowing that one's way of doing something will constantly be in flux with a baby isn't so much comforting as stressful, since I LOVE routine and predictability. (Thank you, Holy Spirit, for providing this opportunity to grow! Sheesh. But seriously, thanks.)
Above all, I hope that when readers of this blog, whether parents or not, think about us, they will say a prayer for God to give us the wisdom and guidance we need as parents. I know I can take comfort in these verses:
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
That last one may sound scary, but what it's saying is that when man is wise in his own eyes, he neglects God's will and guidance, and living your life apart from God leads to death.
We have prayed for this baby every night since we knew I was pregnant, and will continue to pray over this little one and ourselves as parents every day forward. So even though I may be stressing about cloth diapers or disposables, I commit to resting in God's providence for our family. That's much better than counting sheep.