Oh how to start. A few years ago, I was extremely ignorant and, quite honestly, still am. This blog was created to help document my journey out of ignorance. First, I think, a back story and an introduction. I am 25 years old and my husband is 29. Our beautiful, red-headed daughter, Brooklyn, is 10 months old and is busy exploring how to best fit into a box as I type this. My husband and I have been married for five years as of this month. We've both always wanted a large family and so, immediately embarked upon the adventure of making that a reality as soon as we were married. Fast forward two years. Two years later and I was still anything but pregnant. Disheartened? Yes. Embarrassed? Yes. An emotional wreck? Yes. Pregnant? No. Infertile. So to the doctor's we went. My husband was perfect and I had Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). In my journey with infertility and PCOS (which is easily multiple blogs in itself, but not the study of this one), I spent many hours in a forum for women with PCOS. My main purpose there was to find camaraderie and support in our family-building journey and that was mainly what I focused on, but also while I was there, I was introduced to the idea of being 'crunchy'.
At the time, I viewed it as relatively extremist and discarded it without knowing much about it, but the introduction had been made. Also, about the same time as my PCOS diagnosis was made, I graduated from a private liberal arts college that very much encouraged becoming responsibly engaged in the world, which I think is an important distinction to make because this very much helped shape who I am and my current way of thinking. It is due to this experience that my husband and I were originally conscious about our ecological footprint. (If you'd like to learn more about your ecological footprint, I'd encourage you to take the quiz at http://myfootprint.org/en/. It's fascinating and eye-opening!) Due to my college experience, we were already recycling and being conscious about our energy consumption.
We succeeded in our battle with infertility and our daughter was born in the summer of 2011. The idea of cloth diapering wasn't a completely foreign idea to me, in fact, I was definitely interested in finding out more about it. Every time I tried to look into it though, I'd end up walking away confused and disgruntled. Modern day cloth diapering can be difficult to navigate without a guide. The interest stuck though. When Brooklyn was about six months, she had a terrible allergic reaction to disposable diapers and I discovered, that, crazy coincidence, my cousin was cloth diapering her youngest, who was just a few months older than Brooklyn. A play date happened. The interest grew. And grew. And then I found myself in a Facebook group for cloth diapering mommies and started doing some real research now that I was familiar with the basics. I purchased my first cloth diapers, we switched between cloth and disposables for awhile, we did some troubleshooting, we purchased some more cloth diapers, and then, we were hooked. In hindsight, I wish we had started cloth diapering MUCH sooner; however, I am very grateful that we started with our first, because we certainly plan to use them on more children down the line as well!
As I learned more about cloth diapering, I started to think more seriously about both our ecological footprint and the overall health of our family. We were (and are!) reducing, reusing, and recycling. I was looking into more 'reusable' options for our family (such as reusable sandwich bags and paper towels). We were setting up a composting system that worked for our family. But I still felt like I could and should be doing more. So I asked around and received the suggestion to start considering the chemicals that we put on and in our bodies every day. And, so, again, I began to research. The results were startling and unsettling. I assume that most parents try to do right by their children and to make the best decisions for them. I love my daughter more than I could ever put into words, but here I had, unwittingly, been exposing her to chemicals on on a daily basis that could greatly increase her risks for cancer, reproductive disorders, and a host of other things later in life! (To check out the chemical content of the every day products that you use, the risks involved, and to find significantly better options, I encourage you to check out the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetic Database: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/) As I said before, I had originally brushed the idea of being 'crunchy' off as extremist and unnecessary, yet now, here I am, realizing that a 'crunchy' lifestyle is truly the lifestyle that is best for both my self, my family, and my world.
I struggled while I was naming this blog because I truly despise labels. I fear that others will see the name 'crunchy' in the title and walk away, unimpressed at my extremism (just as I was!) and still uninformed, but truly, I know of no other way to define it without being long-winded. "A Mama that is Concerned about Many Things, Including Her Family's Environmental Impact and the Chemical Impact of Modern-Day Chemicals on Her Family and World's Health" just didn't have the same ring to it. :)
I thank you for reading this far with me! And with that, I would like to extend a VERY warm welcome! I hope that you'll accompany me on my journey of defining 'crunchy' and looking for a healthier, sustainable way to make the best possible decisions for both my daughter and the world that I'm going to be leaving to her!