I started cloth diapering my oldest daughter five years ago when I had just opened my shop, when many people in the cloth diaper realm were just getting acquainted with the GroVia brand. I’d like to say that, fast-forward to the present, I now know more about cloth diapers than I ever imagined I’d even be curious to know. But there was something about cloth diapering I didn’t know five years ago.
A niche parenting interest like cloth diapers has an incredible ability to connect us to each other, to connect parents in this commonality. I know it sounds grandiose and maybe a bit cliché, but as I sit down and write a list of all of the times cloth diapering specifically has connected me with another person... the list is remarkable.
A few weeks ago our UPS driver was delivering a box of GroVia. As he was placing the box down he said, “Hey! GroVia! I know what these are.” I was surprised and delighted. I responded, “You do?!?” He told me his wife had come in and started her cloth diaper stash with us at the store! I was beaming from ear to ear at the pure simplicity of this perfect, complete circle that had just occurred between my small shop, a GroVia shipment, and the person who delivered that shipment. This moment has stuck with me, because it really made me so proud to be present with our shop in the community.
A few weeks earlier I had received a phone call from one of my customers who had relocated from New York to the Southern US to be closer to her husband’s family. She checks in with us from time to time to say hello and fill me in on how her children are growing. When she first came into my store many years ago to learn about cloth diapers, she was expecting her first baby, so she made a registry with us for her shower. I remember her navigating things in the beginning and, like most of us, having a lot of questions. When she called me the other day, she told me that it has been hard to find mom friends in her area who also cloth diaper. We chatted for a while about how emotionally attached she had become to her cloth diaper stash, especially knowing that she and her husband are most likely not going to have more children.
She decided that the meaningful thing for her to do with her treasured cloth diaper stash is to donate it to an organization so that another woman of color like herself would have the opportunity to cloth diaper, a selfless and beautiful decision that truly touches me.
And there are more stories just like those. At my shop, at your local shop, at your friend’s shop on the other side of the country. It makes me wonder… in the weft of the cloth, what more lies ahead for us as a community, as a whole, if we are able to draw on this common thread? How can we continue to share cloth diapering, both from our experiences and from our ability to give--to give support, to give guidance, to give from our fortunate circumstances. It is in the giving and the embracing that this weave of commonality grows a community strong.