A Guest Contribution by Megan Krecsmar
Cloth diapers changed the course of my life. No, for real. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I realized I wasn’t your average kid when we had a “Future Goals” collage project in school. My classmates had cut out magazine pictures of sports cars and mansions, fancy watches and rings. Me? I had a Honda Odyssey, baby names, and car seats picked out. All I have ever wanted was to be a mom. And I spent my entire childhood and teen years deciding just what type of mom I’d be. Turns out I had more faith in myself than I should have because I abandoned lots of my ‘motherhood musts.’
I became a mom at 21. I was in a new state for my husband’s job. I didn’t know anyone. I’ve always been a stay at home mom. I had no classmates, no colleagues, no friends. I’ve always been extremely shy and awkward. I’m not talking the Jennifer-Lawrence-adorable-fun-relatable awkward. I’m talking people-backing-away-slowing-to-escape-me awkward so I never ventured out. I loved motherhood. I loved my baby more than I ever thought possible. I had everything I had always wanted. But I was lonely, unbearably, painfully lonely.
I got stuck in the monotony of everyday life as a mom, the constant diaper changing, the spit up, the nose wiping, the driving back and forth to school. I completely and utterly lost any bit of my former self. I was literally a mom only. My life revolved around my kids. I had absolutely nothing that I did for me.
I decided to cloth diaper when my third child was 18 months old. It would take another two years of intense and constant loneliness before I found my village. I discovered a new cloth brand and quickly found out that there was a brand fan group and that many retailers that carried the brand had fan groups themselves (hey, hey, hey Chatties!!) I was still feeling shy and insecure so I didn’t comment much, I mostly just lurked. I was immediately drawn to three mamas in particular. They were witty, entertaining, and sweet. They brought a smile to my face without trying, without knowing me. I’ve always been “the funny friend” and decided I had nothing to lose by commenting and posting silly things. To my joy, people commented back! I had banter. I had adult interaction. I wasn’t so lonely. Sure, it was diapers so it still involved my kids but I could joke around, talk about anything, offer tips and tricks when I could and when I couldn’t, offer up manatee memes, awful puns, or badly photo shopped pictures.
Others would post about things that I thought only I felt, only I experienced. It was amazing to realize that I wasn’t alone. I’m not the only one that hides in the bathroom for a break. I’m not the only one that stays up until midnight just to be Megan, not mom or wife, just me. My kids weren’t the only ones that cried because they asked for a red cup and I gave them a green one, or a red one. These moms likely had no idea the impact they were having on me or that they were helping me be ‘Megan’ (or Manatee Megan ?) in addition to ‘mom.’
After the birth of my 6th baby I didn’t adapt to another child like I had every other time. I was stressed. I was tightly wound. I was angry. And I would spew my anger on the ones I loved most. I turned more and more to my “diaper friends.” I had no idea that rage was a symptom of postpartum depression. And it wasn’t until a mama I greatly admired and respected opened up that she too suffered from rage and postpartum depression that I accepted that this was something I needed to deal with.
I wanted to share my experience with the groups that had gotten me through so much. Little did I know that the response would be that my posts had given the same joy and comfort that others’ had brought to me.
Mamas, be you. Be the person you were before motherhood, be weird, be goofy, be honest, be real, be vulnerable, be there, be unabashedly you. There are moms feeling just the same as you as and you can be there for each other. If you’re lucky, you might even get yourself an internet spouse (smooches, Phil!)