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  • Writer's pictureArielle & Ashley

I Was a Mom Who Couldn’t Afford Diapers

I was a mom who couldn’t afford diapers.

It’s scary for me to admit that because there is a lot of shame in being unable to provide for your children. Many are quick to point fingers and condemn parents of little to no means, rather than sit with the uncomfortable reality that it is easy for almost anyone to find themselves in that horrible place. Fortunately, there are people who want to help lift up vulnerable members of their community. I was lucky to have those people in my life, who made it possible for me to continue in school and eventually thrive. I’m now on a mission to help those in my community experiencing diaper need, and I hope you will join me.

One in three parents in the United States cannot afford enough diapers to keep their babies clean, which puts them at risk for a lot more than just diaper rash. Diapers are not covered under WIC or food stamps, even though they are an essential item for families. Babies should be changed eight to twelve times a day, but when parents don’t have enough, babies are changed as little as once a day, or put back into soiled diapers that have simply been shaken out. Daycares require a full week’s supply of diapers for children to attend, and when this is not possible, parents are left with inconsistent childcare and therefore struggle to work enough to raise themselves out of poverty. They are stuck in a cycle in which they must choose between food and diapers.

When people struggle to provide basic necessities for themselves and their children, their mental health suffers. The stress of living in poverty is great, and mothers living without enough diapers are statistically more likely to suffer from postpartum depression or anxiety. But it doesn’t stop there. The stress is so high that diaper need is directly linked to child abuse. Additionally, babies and children who are unable to participate in early education programs are put at a disadvantage when their peers who do attend early education programs are 2.5 times more likely to attend college. Development of language, motor skills, and emotion can be delayed or damaged in children living under these circumstances.

This is why for the second year with the help of some amazing volunteers and community members, I’m organizing the Nashville Diaper Dash, benefitting Nashville Diaper Connection, our only local diaper bank. I want you involved. Here’s how:

  1. You can register to walk or run either the 5k or family fun run at Centennial Park on May 27th. All proceeds go to Nashville Diaper Connection.

  2. You can donate diapers to the many wonderful businesses and institutions who are participating as drop off locations from now until May 25th. The diaper bank accepts open packages as well as brand new!

  3. You can order diapers and have them directly shipped to our storage facility.

  4. You can sign up to be a volunteer for the day of the race and connect with other like minded individuals in your community.

  5. Spread the word by sharing the event and inviting your friends! We want to see our community come out and come together for this cause, and are looking forward to celebrating what we can do when we work together to make a difference. Help us meet our goal of raising 20,000 diapers this year!

The average recipient of emergency supplies of diapers from Nashville Diaper Connection makes $5,600 a year, which means they would have to spend over 14% of their annual income on diapers alone. Many are experiencing homelessness, and living without transportation or a washer and dryer. The situation is so dire for these members of our community that cloth diapers are not an option for them, unlike others who are struggling but not living in as extreme poverty. If you have cloth diapers you would like to donate for those who can benefit from them, please give them to the Rebecca Foundation.

I want healthy babies and supported, empowered parents in my neighborhood, in my community, and in my state of Tennessee. Please join me on May 27th in rallying for a healthier community: one that is taken care of, uplifted, and blessed with opportunity.

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