After both my husband and I worked really hard to become an almost zero waste home, I became pregnant. All seemed fine and dandy until week 7. I started to get sick, not just one time per day, but I was throwing up 6-8 times per day. I had no energy, could eat nothing and was unable to get off of the couch/bed until I was 18 weeks pregnant. Yuck right? As a house wife, I did everything around the house and now all of the sudden I could do nothing. My husband did the best he could and I am so thankful for him! However, he works 60+ hour weeks and is going back to school to get his masters degree. His time to take care of me and run the house was extremely limited.
So here is what I learned:
There are times in your life when zero waste or attempting to achieve zero waste are just not possible. When only living on chicken stock for weeks, I had to buy it by the cans and recycle. (I usually get my stock from a chicken I cooked.) My husband who 1. doesn't know how to cook and 2. doesn't have time to cook, had to go for convience. He took to fast food and frozen dinners. Unfortunately, not all fast food and frozen items are 100% recyclable, so we had to make trash. We truely were in survival mode for weeks and did not have the luxary to "plan" our lives around being zero waste. I didn't have the stomach to make home made hairspray or smell baking soda to clean and my husband didn't have the time to make all the home recipes required for cleaning/living.
At first I felt guilty, but as I became more and more sick and survival mode became our new normal, I learned to give us a break. I learned it is okay to made trash when you absolutely have too. I learned that survival mode doesn't let you do the things you believe in or want to do. And mostly I learned, it's okay not feel guilty because surviving is more important than a piece of trash.I learned not be so hard on myself when I didn't feel like me.
I am now 25 weeks pregnant and finally getting that "second trimester glow." Just in the last two weeks I am starting to recycle and grocery shop again. We are not as close to zero waste as we were before pregnancy, but we are on our way back. I am hoping to continue to feel better and be readjusted to where we were before pregnancy with zero waste soon, so that we can adjust again once the little one gets here.
I wanted to share my experience with this because I feel it is important for people to know and hopefully help others.
Honestly, I continue to struggle with zero waste since my daughter was born and as she grows. I have cringed every time we've had to go out to Walmart (ugh) for baby food or buy disposable diapers when my daughter had skin irritation or rashes. I wish I was the one at home because I'm definitely the more dedicated to zero waste, but that's not possible. I've stressed myself out a lot about the convenience factor and buying cheap instead on principle. I can't force my husband to do what I want and I can't be the one to do everything just so it gets done the zero waste way. I've also realized that with children, sometimes you have to choose plastic for safety or practicality. Metal spoons did not hold her food well and we risked chipping her teeth. There is also an urgency with children, which leads to unconscious purchasing. My husband bought a plastic sippy cup without informing me before I had a chance to get a stainless steel alternative. As the spearhead of the zero waste lifestyle, I cannot do everything and it's difficult to get ahead of wasteful practices.
I appreciate hearing someone else's story because it gets frustrating at times. Sometimes you have to let go and just be proud of what you've already done. I've saved hundreds of plastic bags this year from the landfill. Not one paper towel has come out of my house in two years. I used our glasses and plates at my daughter's first birthday party and can reuse all the decorations. When you focus on the good you have done, even if the progress is slow, you're still moving forward and approaching zero.