Letter: Consider diapers on Giving Tuesday

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To the editor:

Five years ago, I founded the Berkshire Community Diaper Project with the generous help of Jane Tillman, Ph.D., and Elizabeth Weinberg, M.D., both from the Austen Riggs Center, and with the support of the Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute. The project accomplishes something that is quite practical, immensely useful and that supports crucial early infant-parent attachment.

A study from the Yale Child Study Center published in 2013 documented how parents who cannot afford diapers for their infants suffer from shame and guilt, anxiety and depression, symptoms which cannot help but impact the very early and vital connection with their babies. Babies with depressed parents can suffer from delayed cognitive development, and may be at risk for neglect or abuse.

When I learned of this study, I thought that I might form a diaper project after I retired from my clinical practice here as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. But the idea of something practical that could be done to ameliorate this situation in our Berkshire community prompted me to start the project right away. Now, five years after its founding, BCDP has supplied 820,000 diapers to families throughout our county. We do this by distributing diapers to seven agencies that offer help to families, as well as to four food pantries. An extremely active board has made this project work in such a way that every dollar contributed to us goes directly to the purchase of diapers.

We are deeply grateful to those individuals, businesses and civic organizations who have supported us during these years, and encourage others to think of us on Giving Tuesday. Our website is berkshirecommunitydiaperproject.com, and donations can be made there or by mail to P.O. Box 5, West Stockbridge, MA 01266.

Marie Rudden, M.D.,

West Stockbridge

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