Monday, June 07, 2010

Baby Clothes

Today I stood in line at the post office with a box under my arm. It was a box filled with memories and softness and more than a little anxiety. It was a box of Ethan's 0-3 months clothes. And I was mailing them 3000 miles away from me, to a family member who recently had a baby.

This wasn't their first time out in the world, away from us. We lent them to friends of ours in the DC area right before we moved to Los Angeles in '08 and I was honestly not sure I'd ever see them again, and it didn't matter so much. When I had my next baby, I'd probably want to buy new things, anyway, and what if it was a girl? All of Ethan's stuff is blue; I'd need new things, one way or the other. So when I got the clothing in the mail one day, after our friend's little boy had grown out of them, I thought, "oy, what am I going to do with these now? Another box to store."

I stood in line at the post office today with those same clothes, an entirely different woman. Looking at an entirely different future. There will be no next baby to buy new clothes for. No concern over pink instead of blue. I was simply mailing my only child's baby clothes away from me. I spent a lot of time in line looking at the ceiling, making use of the yoga breathing I've become reacquainted with recently, silently scolding myself not to be crazy-cries-in-line-at-the-post-office lady. I had to will myself not to grip the box tighter as the postal worker took it from me. I got back to my car before the sobbing started, so that's good, right? Avoided hairy-eyeballs from the people who control the mail (but I will probably still get packages for the woman who lives on the next street over).

Don't get me wrong; I'm glad to be able to share the clothes, and honestly, to free up the space in my *almost* clean garage. It's not the clothes (well, it's kind of the clothes); it's what they represent. That sweet newborn/baby time I'll never experience again. Most days I think I'm fine with it. And then other days I wonder if I am lying to myself with my list of "all the reasons it's great not to have more than one child!!!!!!" When Ethan tests my patience, I think, "oh, so glad there's only one; I don't have the patience for this again." And when he is making me laugh or hugging me or discovering something new, or sleeping peacefully, my world catches in my chest and I think "I can't believe I don't get to do this again."

I foolishly thought making the decision to stop trying to have another baby would someone cut off the blood supply to the "I want another baby" part of my brain and heart. And that I could just pick up from that failed part of my life and move on. I realized today, it's just not that simple.




10 comments:

Lea said...

Big (((hugs))) for you, Sarah.

Anonymous said...

I cried in line yesterday at Target because the woman in front of my reminded me of my mom (who passed away 6 years ago). I went as far as to tell that lady that she reminded me of my deceased mom and then had to fight the sobs. Some tears escaped, though. Couldn't help it.

Grief just flippin' sucks. It knocks you on the arse at the worst times. I'm a stranger, but my heart aches for your hurt.

Becca said...

Hugs!

Amy said...

I'm not sure what the right thing to say is, but wanted you to know I read this and am thinking about you.

Jen said...

Huge hugs, Sarah. And, beautifully written post.

I feel your pain more than I can tell you. I have enough baby clothes to dress a village of little girls but can't let go of them just yet even though I know the 2nd child door is closed.

It's so hard to come to complete peace with something that was kind of chosen for you.

Bridget said...

I've posted once or twice in the past - we're leading somewhat parallel lives. Tearing up as I read this post. I found out yesterday that our third, and most likely last, round of IVF was unsuccessful. We have a wonderful, healthy, happy 3 year old son and I'm so thankful for him. But I, like you, envisioned my family with more than one child and I'm having a hard time accepting that most likely, that won't be the case. Stinks, doesn't it? Hang in there.

Dana said...

I still have boxes of Eli's baby clothes packed away in rubbermaid containers "waiting for the next one." I am very aware of the silliness of this since Eli is almost nine years old and we are clearly not having any more. That said, even though I am content and happy with our decision, it doesn't mean that it's easy 100% of the time. This month has been particularly hard for me. I know that the longing doesn't go away, but it mostly says away. Hang in there.

Aunt Becky said...

It's just not simple and I'm sorry. Sending you a big fat hug.

Bug And Peanut said...

Another reader leading a parallel life right along with you. I've posted a few times before, but this one really struck a chord with me. I understand every emotion and thought you are expressing, all too well! You couldn't have said it better. Infertility is the most bitter thing I've experienced in my life. I am so grateful for my 3.5 year old son, but can't believe that I might not be able to give him a sibling like I always thought I would. I should be totally satisfied with my beautiful, healthy boy as my only child, but the ache in my heart for more children says differently. Know you are not alone.

Juli Ryan said...

Me too! Having an incredibly difficult time letting go. xo's