It's been 3 months since my last post. In that short time my world has turned upside down- or should I say "right side up?"
WE HAD A BABY! She is perfect in every way. But man, raising a newborn is intense- full of chaos, confusion and contradictions. As exhausting (and rewarding) as it may be, I can't help but try to apply order to this new life, only to be reminded over and over that there are no shortcuts in parenthood- "the only way out is through". I am slowly realizing that sometimes a lack of structure is ok, and things are not always going to make sense.
I was blessed with an extremely easy pregnancy and looking back, creating a baby registry and accepting gifts was by far the most stressful part. Now postpartum I fear this anxiety will only grow for each new item that is brought into my home. I've been torn between being prepared for anything and only wanting the "best of the best" for my little, while still remaining true to my minimalist values. Thankfully I have discovered that despite this challenging new role and responsibilities I can still be true to myself and continue living with mindful intention. It turns out motherhood and minimalism CAN go hand in hand.
First, let's flashback to April and my zero-waste #EarthMonth challenge. Highlights included bulk grocery shopping, weekly meal prep, clothing swaps, and BYO cutlery, straw, cup and shopping bag- everywhere (or at least as often as I could remember with pregnancy brain). These efforts complemented my already well-established sustainable lifestyle choices: shopping local and organic, vegetarianism, reduce-reuse-recycle, conscious consumerism, and "family cloths" in lieu of toilet paper - just to name a few.
One of the most impactful ways to live a low-impact life is the avoidance of STUFF, which is not something that comes easy when raising a child. These tiny people require an exorbitant amount of clothing, toys, books, gear- the list goes on. How ironic that I have spent the last year of my life actively getting rid of possessions, and will spend this next year (and decade) acquiring it all back in a different form. I can only laugh- Just as I had started to master the capsule wardrobe, in came the three-season maternity clothing.
Now as I shed the baby weight, I also shed the mental load of a closet filled with clothes I can no longer wear. Each week I have been widdling down my wardrobe back to it's original size, and it feels liberating! As a first-time mom with SO much to learn, I feel good about the other sustainable choices I made in pregnancy and in this newborn phase so far:
Securing 90% of my maternity and baby clothes secondhand, and the other 10% as gifts
Purchasing cloth diapers from a consignment store, and line-drying them to save energy
Using cloth babywipes and a DIY diaper spray
Using glass mason jars as baby bottles instead of plastic ones that can't be reused after she grows up
Storing breast milk in ice trays instead of single-use plastic storage bags
Borrowing an infant car seat, stroller, and other high-dollar baby gear from friends
Only giving baths as needed to save water
Using common household items as toys:
cold carrot sticks as teethers
wooden spoons, lemons, cardboard boxes, jewelry boxes as manipulation items
Improvising and adapting with several clever work-arounds:
Instead of a pregnancy pillow: king-size bed pillows
Instead of nursing bra and tops: lightweight cardigans and shawls
Instead of a crib or bassinet: a dresser drawer
Instead of a white noise machine: a box fan.
Instead of a changing pad: a towel or blanket
Instead of a rocker: a yoga ball
Instead of nipple cream: coconut oil
Instead of a diaper pail: baking soda
Becoming a parent has transformed me and I will forever look at the world with fresh new eyes. Now more than ever, I am committed to that lovely "seventh generation principle"- the ancient Native American philosophy that the decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future. I want to be a good citizen, a good mom, AND a good ancestor. I want to raise my daughter in a beautiful, loving and peaceful home and a beautiful, loving, and peaceful world. If she is able to grow up and do the same, then all of this will be worth it.