I had a pretty normal upbringing, the youngest of 5, we were quite a wasteful family. I was never taught the beauty of our planet, how to care for it or how to love it. I didn’t enjoy being outdoors and was very much just plodding along through life, not sad or unhappy, but definitely not living my best life.
I studied fashion and printed textiles at Middlesex university, but turned down an amazing job offer in the field to gain a teaching qualification – I knew I wanted a family and just thought this would be the best direction for me.
I quit my primary school teaching position after just 3.5 years in the job at 25 years old, as I was pregnant with my eldest daughter, and I just knew I didn’t want to work full time. Again, I pretty much plodded through life and motherhood, Lyla was born in 2015 and Carmel was born in 2017. I just did what every other mother around me did, birthed in a hospital, tried breastfeeding but eventually turned to formula, used big branded disposables etc… I wasn’t unhappy, but I knew there was much more to motherhood than this.
Fast forward to 2021 when I was diagnosed with a serious thyroid condition, and i had an epiphany that the medication being thrown at me wasn’t the answer, and I chose to go for a more holistic approach – and boy did this open up a whole new world for me!!! Against the odds, I fell pregnant naturally and easily with my 3rd child. Besides the general aches and pains of pregnancy, everything was pretty straight forward and I decided I wanted a homebirth. I managed to birth my beautiful 9lbs 4oz baby boy Jonah at home (on the eve of Carmel’s 5th birthday) and my eyes as a mother finally were wide open. It was like a hole within motherhood was finally filled with a truly positive experience, and I just wanted to keep on going further through the natural parenting path.
The Start of Cloth Diapering
Breastfeeding was going perfectly and I was finally healed from birth (and covid at 3 weeks postpartum) and I decided to hire a reusable nappy kit from @the.cloth.collective and hit the ground running. I fell inlove with cloth from the very first nappy, and then my stash, and my Instagram page @happy.cloth.nappy.chappy was created.
I very quickly fell down the sustainable rabbit hole and made some drastic changes in every area of my life, making as many eco swaps as humanly possible, and encouraging my 5 and 7 year old daughters to follow suit. I began teaching them about our planet, and eco conscious living as I was learning it all myself, and we began growing as a family. Everything finally felt completely right, life felt wholesome and I knew this is who I was always meant to be.
I decided to pull my girls out of school 2 days a week to part time homeschool them, so that I could continue teaching them real lessons, and not limiting their environmental learning to evenings and weekends. They became part of my cloth nappy journey with their learning through teaching things like symmetry (fabric patterns), counting and sorting nappies (through colours, fastening types etc) and even how to use a washing machine… all real life lessons.
And then my idea was born. It is still very much in production, but I’m planning to launch in September with a bang.
I want to mix my qualifications, plus my love of all things sustainable to create my dream job: Surface pattern and teaching. With Doodle Whale Designs, I will design a range of ‘learn with me’ surface patterns, suitable for cloth nappy prints and handmade children’s clothing. With topics such as phonics, basic grammar, math, science, geography and history all based around the early years foundation stage national curriculum. The fabrics will provide parents with a learning tool to stimulate conversation and engage in exciting topics with their children and encourage environmental learning.
Being just 4 months postpartum, with 2 children, school run and already back to work, it’s a slow process, but I will get there.
I am so determined to make my dream reality, and I am so excited for the road ahead.
Cloth nappies opened my eyes to a world of beauty and possibilities, and I hope to inspire others on this journey too.