When I think back to my life just three years ago, I see a great deal of struggle. I had quit my job in the highly competitive publishing market to move out-of-state for my husband’s career. Interview after interview, often up to 4 rounds per publisher, only to be told the position had been offered to someone else. Then I found myself pregnant.
It was a difficult time, adjusting to putting on the breaks after working my entire adult life as well as adjusting to incredibly tight finances (that were likely going to become even tighter once our baby arrived). My greatest motivation to use cloth diapers, and to cloth diaper with prefolds, was the fact that our finances were stretched to the limit — I needed an affordable way to diaper our baby…without breaking the bank.
Cloth diapering literally saved all of our butts, and my foray into blogging, specifically educating others about cloth diapering, provided a wealth of opportunities for myself and my family. A year and a half into blogging, I got serious about writing and over the past year I’ve been able to turn it into a successful freelance writing career. I remain forever grateful.
While I don’t have a lot of extra money to donate (especially now that I have preschool tuition to pay), I’ve mastered the art of giving back creatively. I’ve no childcare, so I can’t donate time, but I can donate my writing services pro bono (for non-profits in need), and I’m able to donate items when we experience a windfall (more about that in a moment) or no longer have use for them (despite them still having a long life ahead).
The day after having my third D&C, after my third miscarriage last fall, I won a huge spa basket in a raffle. I’m not a terribly lucky person, so I have to think that the universe “bent” things in my favor when I won a gift basket full of items to pamper myself, just after having lost yet another baby. The reality is that I would never be able to use all of the items myself (in fact, I still have some of those items a year later!), so my first thought was to find a way to donate them to those who could put them to good use. Once I began brainstorming, I realized that there were other women who could use a little pampering during a difficult time, and sought out a women’s shelter to donate the bath and spa items. I discovered that Laurel House, a domestic violence agency for women, is located just minutes from me. I arranged an appointment time for drop-off, and paid my own windfall forward to some women who desperately needed to feel good about themselves and could definitely use some pampering.
I sell many of my son’s hand-me-downs through a local children’s consignment sale that takes place semi-annually, and they offer the option to donate any unsold items. My local sale donates items to Crayons to Cradles, and makes it incredibly easy — I simply check a box next to each item I consign, indicating that I wish to donate it at the completion of the sale (if it is not purchased).
Most recently, my husband and myself (finally) made the decision not to try to have anymore children, so I was left with an enormous amount of cloth diapers, both new and used, as well as numerous baby items I had picked up since having my son. Because the cloth diapering community gave so much to me, I wanted to use my cloth diaper de-stash as an opportunity to donate to a wonderful diaper need charity, Giving Diapers, Giving Hope. With the help of the cloth diapering community, I was able to de-clutter our home of all of our [no longer needed] cloth diapering accoutrements, as well as donate a portion of the proceeds to a wonderful charity. In short, I was able to pay it forward and hopefully help out some other families facing the overwhelming task of diapering a baby under extremely tight finances.
So, where am I going with all of this, you wonder. Well, I’m not sharing this to toot my own horn; I’m sharing with the hope that some of you will also be able to get creative and find ways that you can give to others as well. Western Union’s Chain of Betters initiative illustrates how even the smallest of gestures can impact another’s life, or lives, for better:
Here’s the thing — my life has been full of ups and downs, but I believe in karma, in even my darkest of moments. If I can pay it forward when I’m up, I truly believe that someone, something will be there for me to lean on when I’m down. Western Union’s Chain of Betters initiative does just that — it helps those in need when they’re down. Western Union believes that “when money moves, better things happen.” Be a part of the Chain of Betters Project and help create a chain of good deeds….
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.