A Story of Diaper Failure and Realizing I’m Not Alone

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A Story of Diaper Failure

How do I tell you in an eloquent way that this blog begins with being inspired by none other than… poop? A word I rarely used until I had a child, and that I still usually say in a hushed voice? I’m sure as soon as I submit this blog, I will turn fuchsia knowing I wrote this word in the opening line. Yet here I am. Beginning with… poop. 

play place Our story begins with me crawling in the uppermost part of a nearby fast-food playplace to corral my beloved, strong-willed toddler. First noticing a familiar stench in the air, I feel a sinking sense of dread as I watch a brown stain descending from his shorts down his leg toward the playplace floor. What should be done in a moment like this?! All I know is that Crisis-Momma (Note: not Clear-Headed-Momma) kicks in. Somehow, I manage to scoop him up, wiggle through the tiny tubes, and squirm down the spiral stairs, aware of the curious eyes of other children and the unpleasant hollering of my offspring. We don’t make it out casualty-free. I will never look at those freshly dry-cleaned pants the same.

My mind is flooded. Why did this happen? How did it get over there? Is he sick? Why won’t those people stop staring? How could we be out of wipes and diapers??? Are disinfecting table wipes that bad for him? What if I throw up? The inner chaos is real… and then, in a small voice comes a reprieve   I can’t believe I made it two years without this happening.

Oh. So I’m not the only one.

As obvious as it may seem, I grasp on to this truth: EVERY PARENT has moments of getting covered in their kid’s bodily fluids in public at some point. Every. Parent. Those parents staring at me through that window? There is something within them connecting deeply to the horror on my face. The non-parents also staring in disgust? Even they’ve had moments of their “dirty laundry” being aired for the world to see. There is no shame in this! I need that small voice of reassurance when I feel alone in my imperfect, crappy moments (both literally and figuratively speaking, of course). I think it’s just me… but it isn’t. 

October 10th is World Mental Health Day.

What in good heavens is the connection between my story and World Mental Health Day you may ask? So, despite positive change, stigma still exists when it comes to talking about mental health and accessing help. Similar to my belief that I shouldn’t talk about poop, we often think we shouldn’t talk about depression, anxiety, anger, addiction, etc. But here’s the thing: EVERY PERSON has times of feeling messy. We all have issues, baggage, struggles. Needing help to be mentally and emotionally healthy is normal! Silence only increases our pain and isolation. If we are going to change the tide of mental well-being in our community, we must start talking about our shared experiences of struggle. For ourselves. For our children. We all need to know we aren’t alone and that seeking help is a positive step.

This year’s WMH Day is particularly focused on adolescence, a time where feeling alone can reach it’s peak. In a world increasingly connected through social media, teenagers and young adults frequently have the experience of feeling that everyone else has a “picture-perfect life.” Our young people need to hear that we are in the struggle with them, and that we too can feel pretty messy sometimes.

Suggestions for Honoring World Mental Health Day.World Mental Health Day

  1. If you’ve experienced the benefits of therapy, consider sharing this with someone else to normalize this as a healthy, helpful choice. This may open the door for them to find the support they need.
  2. Maybe you sense that your mental and emotional well-being would benefit from seeking the support of a therapist, coach, or clergy. Birmingham is rich in qualified professionals able to walk with you in your journey through individual, family, and group counseling. Psychology Today is a simple place to begin a search if you are unsure of who to ask for recommendations.
  3. Perhaps in reading this, you have thought of a loved one who is struggling with mental health concerns. Set an intention to reach out and offer support, empathy, and acceptance. The reminder that they are not alone can be healing!

I’d love to hear from you! Please comment on your thoughts and experiences with this topic. It might be the comment another person needs!

(I’d like to insert here a shout out to my friend Ericka Jackson who was in the right place at the right time to be my other saving grace on the aforementioned fateful day… I hate to think what would have happened without her empathetic response to my desperation!)

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Katie, a native Alabamian, came to Birmingham in 2012 to pursue a master's from UAB in Mental Health Counseling. She works as a Licensed Professional Counselor in her practice, Present Wellness Counseling, LLC, as well as in a residential treatment center for substance abuse. She and her husband were married in 2007 and have a son, Harpin, who's been keeping them busy since 2016. She is learning daily how to bridge her child development background with real-life motherhood moments, and she is excited to share these experiences with her BMB readers. Katie loves any time spent outside, loves opening her home to share meals with friends, and loves her faith community. She practices yoga and Reiki, and leads meditation groups for developing self-compassion. You can find out more about her practice and her upcoming community trainings at her website, PresentWellnessCounseling.com.

1 COMMENT

  1. Oh friend! I will NEVER forget the look in your eyes that day! I could tell from across the restaurant you were a mama in distress. ???? So glad I could be there in your time of need! That is definitely something you don’t want to face alone!

    I love the tie in to mental health too… and I absolutely feel the same way about that. I never want my friends (or anyone for that matter) to endure THOSE overwhelming moments/days/years alone either. I truly believe that the 2 most powerful words in the English language are: “ME TOO.” It’s comforting to know we are all wading through the “poop” together! (Both literally and figuratively!) ?

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