Diaper Need + What We're Doing About it April 10 2017, 0 Comments
"When a child is left in a dirty diaper all day, this not only affects their immediate health but their well being in the future. Insufficient diaper supply is linked to physical health concerns, child abuse and neglect, mental health concerns, and economic well being."
- Helping Mamas, Atlanta
"For the past several months, Carry the Future (CTF) volunteers throughout Greece, Serbia, Jordan and France have reported an urgent need for diapers in the camps. Our volunteer teams have purchased diapers with their own funds, at the request of our in-country partners and there are never enough to go around. Often babies are not changed as frequently as they should be, resulting in severe diaper rash and other complications."
- Carry the Future, Distribution to Refugee Camps Abroad
No matter how my life differs from a woman living in a refugee camp overseas or a woman who is living in my own community struggling to provide for her children, the incredible thing about motherhood is the ability to understand the heart of another mom. Feeling the emotions that she must be going through as she desperately seeks to provide for the basic needs of her children is easy. It is easy because I know what it is to love so deeply these kids of mine and I can feel the own fight that I have to make sure they have what they need.
One stark contrast in my life and theirs is that I have never known what it is like to face the reality of not being able to give my child a clean diaper. I've forgotten diapers. I have often forgotten to wash my load of cloth diaper laundry, but I have never walked a day in the life of someone who literally cannot come up with a diaper for her child. I have never run away from home with nothing but the clothes on my back. I have never delivered or raised a child in a camp or seedy part of town.
There are too many ways we are different, but in the fact that we are mothers, there is a common bond of understanding. It has been on my heart to do something, anything, for years since first seeing images of refugees in Syria and the Yazidi in Iraq. I am tired of feeling powerless to do something and hope that the gift of a diaper will somehow bring relief to a mother who is raising a child in an almost impossible situation.
Please join me and several other companies in coming together to show love and solidarity for our fellow mothers who happen to be in a place of need today. On Thursday, April 20th from 7-9 pm, I invite you and your friends to Fragile Gifts in Sandy Springs for a Diaper + Donuts shindig. Bring a pack of diapers for the babies supported through an amazing Atlanta organization called Helping Mamas. Helping Mamas not only assists local refugee families but also serves over 60 local organizations in need of baby essentials from diapers to car seats.
During the event, our friends at LilyWrap are sending in some amazing mystery gifts for a raffle to raise funds for diapers in Syria. Bob + Susan at Fragile will donate 20% of proceeds from gifts purchased in store to Carry the Future as well. If you are not familiar with this incredible organization, please go look them up. They provide baby carriers, baby boxes for safe sleeping and now diapers for refugees in camps across Europe.
While researching and planning this event, I came across a blog from Helping Mamas about Diaper Need. I have shared a portion of the blog below because I feel it is so helpful in understanding how your participation really matters in the lives of the babies you are helping to diaper.
When a child is left in a dirty diaper all day, it affects...
Physical Health Concerns: Inability to supply a consistent supply of diapers exposes babies to diaper rash and infectious diseases. These situations are physically uncomfortable as well as dangerous to your child. Diaper rash can be so severe, in fact, that it causes the area to blister, bleed, and peel. This means more doctor visits and really unhappy babies. Unhappy babies lead to higher instances of child abuse, thus bringing us to our next point.
Child Abuse and Neglect: Studies show that diaper shortages have actually been directly linked to child abuse. Why? Well, cranky babies cry a LOT more. Babies who cry excessively are the most likely to be victims of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Additionally, babies who cry more tend to bond less with their mothers. This too increases parental stress and the likelihood of child abuse.
Mental Health Concerns: Along with parental stress, mothers who are not able to provide a consistent supply of diapers feel guilt and anxiety, which can eventually evolve into depression, generalized anxiety, or other mental disorders. Furthermore, heightened stress in the home in early childhood can make children less ready for school, impact their socialization, and delay reading.
Economic Well-Being: Without diapers, children cannot secure a spot in daycare, as you have to provide your own diapers. Without daycare, parents cannot work. Without work, parents cannot bring in a disposable income. If you’re a single mother living at or below the poverty line, not working is simply not an option. Additionally, inability to go to daycare can negatively affect the child. Children who go to daycare are more likely to obtain higher levels of education, thus insufficient supply of diapers leads to gaps in academic achievement. Gaps in academic achievement = gaps in education attainment. Gaps in education attainment perpetuate the cyclical nature of poverty, unemployment, and health disparities.
This is where Helping Mamas and diaper supply banks are critical. Meeting diaper need improves overall well being as it is shown to stabilize families. Diaper distribution networks have found that diapers are an effective incentive for new parents to participate in parenting classes, GED courses, and other programs of the like. By supplying diapers we aren’t merely supplying mothers with clean, happy babies. We are supplying mothers with a more secure future for their children.