Storytelling goes back thousands of years and is said to have started with cave drawings. Stories help us make sense of the world. Stories help us learn from other people's experiences and help us form bonds. Stories help create change.
We want to use our blog to share your stories because we think that everyone has a story that can make an impact on someone else. In the first of our Nappy Natters, we are chatting with Jenny, a big fan of reusable nappies, a student midwife and she also runs her charity called Judah's Cloud. Jenny talks about baby loss in our chat and we wanted to let you know before you read, in case this will upset you.
If you could press pause for one day, what would you do?
I’d take a day to soak in my girls and family in the moment we’re in right now…spend a day without any emails, calls, washing and chores. Life is so hectic with young kids that I often forget to enjoy the age they are. I read something recently about how you’ll pick them up and put them on your hip, clean off a tiny handprint from the glass or read them a bedtime story for the last time and not even realise. It’s so true and it’s something I need to do more. I found myself recently wishing my toddler to be older to skip this difficult terrible twos season, but there’s so much to love about it too. So, I’d spend the day with them soaking in just them and nothing from the outside world.
Tell us about yourself and your family
I’m Jenny. I was born and raised in Manchester, as was my husband Chris. I’m currently running our charity, Judah’s Cloud, and I’m also a student midwife (because life wasn’t crazy enough already). Chris is a software development manager and I still can’t really explain what that is…but I have a really good listening face so I get away with it. He works with people across the world so before the pandemic we had planned to travel with him as a family, specifically to Denmark aka home of some of the most beautiful baby clothing brands.
Together we have four children, three of which are with us. Aveah (ah-vey-ah) is our eldest who is now 7 and is the sweetest most beautiful little soul you’ve ever met. Her brother Judah was stillborn in 2017 at 40 weeks and 5 days gestation. He was super long and had the biggest feet you’ve ever seen on a newborn. He’s the reason why we started the charity and he’s very much a part of family life still. Next came Ada who is about to turn two. She’s a whirlwind of energy and chaos but is incredibly cute with it so gets away with so much more than she should! Finally, we have the super calm and relaxed Etta who joined us just under 3 months ago.
What inspires you?
I get inspired by everyday people doing something amazing in the space or place they are in.. So few of us have the influence or resources to make huge or worldwide changes, but we can make a big impact where we are now.
I also get inspired by charities that have gone ahead of us to make real changes in the lives of bereaved parents. The charities that started from their own stories and are now nationwide, impacting thousands of lives a year are incredibly inspiring to us and give me hope we can do that too.
What is your superpower?
I think having two under two is a superpower…or maybe it should be an Olympic sport? Balancing all the demands of two little people and everything else going on in life is the closest to a superpower I have. I don’t always get it right and something always gets missed but I think we do well with what time we have.
What do you find to be the greatest challenges in running a charity?
That’s a question! There are some weeks it feels like everything is perfect and going to plan, then others where everything that can go wrong does. I suppose the hardest part for me personally is knowing the importance of what we do and carrying the weight of whether other families get those opportunities or not. If someone called tomorrow and said they’d found an old scruffy towel Judah had used, I’d drive through the night to go pick it up because we get so few things from our time with him, every single thing matters. I know how much clothing and casting can mean for families and because of that I find it difficult to say no or not immediately offer what we do to every hospital or hospice who wants it. We’re still growing and our current funding, volunteers and resources will only stretch so far so we have a limit on what we can do.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I actually played the flute as a child and by the time I stopped I was playing to a grade 8 standard. I remember going to stage shows and seeing the orchestra in the pit and wanting to be one of them. Then as an older child I really wanted to be a music therapist to use music in a helpful way and I thought about it seriously for a long time.
If you could speak to yourself when you were younger, what's the one piece of advice you would give yourself?
Just be yourself. I spent many years knowing I was skilled in areas but never quite feeling good enough because I didn’t match up with what others told me I should be. It’s been such a journey to go on and I think losing Judah helped me evaluate who I was also, but now I’m finally in a place where I know my skillset and it’s not horrifying to admit when something is outside of that.
How did your journey with cloth nappies begin?
I can’t remember why I first looked into cloth nappies, but once we did and saw how much waste we were producing it felt like an obvious swap to make. It wasn’t easy though. We hired a kit from a local library close to where we were living and I joined groups online to seek advice. The multiple styles, wash routines, insert materials and advice blew my mind. I wish someone had just given me a pocket nappy and told me to throw it in the washing machine with just detergent…it would have saved me so much stress in hindsight.
What do you love most about cloth nappies?
Oh so much! Apart from the obvious environmental impact, I love that we never run out and don’t have to go shopping. I also love the lack of leaking, lack of nappy rash and of course all the beautiful print options. I’m not sure why but there’s something oddly satisfying about stuffing days too.
Do you have a favourite Baba+Boo print?
Rainy Days because we have a thing for clouds of course, but also Rainbows. A baby born after loss is known as a “rainbow baby” so our youngest two girls are rainbow babies. We have 4 of the same rainbows print and a wet bag but I haven’t ruled out getting more. Plus, I can just tell my husband it’s the same nappy being cycled round, and he’ll never know I bought more! Win win! Oh I do love Wildflowers too, though we lost ours in a house move.
Favourite eco-friendly swap or hack?
Bulk buying and batch cooking! We have amber glass bottles (or reusable plastic versions where my hulk toddler can reach) and we buy eco-friendly things like shampoo, conditioner, hand wash, cleaning products etc in bulk to refill them. We rarely run out, save money and use considerably less plastic than buying smaller bottles. Equally, cooking 2-3 times what we eat in one sitting and using throughout the week or freezing portions means I’m not throwing away unused fresh ingredients as I’ve been guilty of doing in the past.
Quick fire round:
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Lark or night owl? Night owl
Summer or winter? Summer
TV or radio? TV
Mountains or beach? Beach
Book or scrolling? Uh-oh…scrolling!
Rain or shine? Shine
Picnic or barbeque? Barbeque
Walk or run? Walk
Cat or dog? Dog
Text or call? Text
We hope you enjoyed reading Jenny's story. You can find out more about her here:
If you would like to share your story, please do get in touch. Everyone has a story to tell.