I can’t necessarily recall when I first purchased the dark blue blouse, but I began to wear it regularly after my daughter Zorah was born. The fabric was soft and stretchy, covering up my post-partum body and my new-found curves. Because it was simple in design, it was easy to dress it up. I once wore it for Valentine’s Day dinner with my husband and my then eight week old daughter in tow. As first-time parents, we were so excited to have made it out to eat at a nice restaurant with our infant. My husband and I laughed when I managed to get both baby spit up and salad dressing on the blue blouse at nearly the same time and joked that I should be the one to wear the bib.
After the first few months of adjusting to motherhood the blouse had made its way into a box with all my other maternity clothes. The box wouldn’t be opened until the winter of 2014 when I was well into my second trimester of pregnancy with my second daughter Aurora. I remember taking the blue blouse out of the box and being flooded with an influx of happy memories. I had such a fun and easy pregnancy with Zorah, I had every reason in the world to believe that I would make new and happy memories with my second daughter.
But that would never happen.
I would never wear that blouse while cradling my infant daughter. She would never spit up on it, and there would be no photos of me wearing the blouse while proudly holding her. The last time I ever wore that shirt was on the day I found out that she died. I was at the Dr’s office when my OBGYN sat down to tell me that they could no longer detect her heartbeat. Two days later, I wore the same blouse to the hospital to deliver her. My head was in such a fog that I didn’t even care what I had on or that I was wearing a blouse from two days ago. Before I was admitted to the hospital, I had to take it off and put on a hospital gown. I folded the shirt and placed it into my bag.
I would never wear it again.
In the spring of 2015 I found myself pregnant again. By summer time I could no longer wear my normal clothes and reluctantly retrieved my box of maternity clothes from the basement. Among all the items that were in the box was the
I cried holding as though it were an old friend comforting me. I wiped my tears on it and after going through the wash with my other clothing items, I placed it into my hospital bag. I don’t know why I did that, except that since I never got to have any happy memories with it the last time I wore it, I had hoped that when my son would be born, the blouse would have been on a journey that mirrored my own. It sounds so strange that an inanimate item had also embarked on a unique journey.
The day I was getting ready to leave the hospital with my newborn son, I reached into my hospital bag to retrieve something when I noticed the blouse in the bottom of the bag. Once again, it was like meeting an old friend and brought a smile to my face. I brought it to my face and closed my eyes and let it remind me of my own journey. My two precious girls, one living and the other who never got a chance. All those dreams, those hopes, my innocence. All of it now gone.
As I sat in the hospital room with my healthy baby boy sound asleep in his bassinet, the blue blouse was a reminder of all that I had gone through to make it here. It anchored me and brought me into the moment. My life didn’t go the way that I thought it would. My daughter never got to come home with me, but life brought me to that hospital room with my precious new baby boy. Bittersweet is the essence of this new-found life and seeing the blue blouse reminded me of all of that.
I smiled to myself as I folded it up and placed it back into my bag. Yes, how I wish things had been different, but in life we don’t get to choose how things unfold. Instead we take along the many things we can carry with us. Some are precious memories and moments, others are physical and representative. The blue blouse became an unexpected part of my narrative. Though I may never actually wear it again, it will always be among the things, like my daughter Aurora that I carry with me.