Today I gave away my entire stash of cloth diapers to a friend.
My dear friend’s daughter had her first birthday today. I was there for her birth and I’ve been privileged to see this new little girl grow into a chubby and cute toddler. She is amazing, and her parents more so. I’ve loved this dear friend for years, have been there for her as she’s gone through two miscarriages, and was sent a picture this week of a positive pregnancy test that she’s been praying for. Her second baby is on the way and we’re constantly bugging the Man Upstairs to keep that baby inside and healthy. I am beyond thrilled for her and as I’m *trying* to go through all the baby, child and toddler stuff that my daughter has used in her 6 years, I asked what they needed from my stash. I’ve done well at getting rid of the big stuff, stroller, crib, backpacking carrier, but certain things are harder than others and these damn diapers almost tore my heart out today.
Seriously people, I was in a major ugly-cry on the way to the birthday party and I’m pretty sure the guests were wondering if I’d been drinking from my red eyes. Sigh.
Why the heck am I hoarding cloth diapers!?! Why is there still a breast pump downstairs and EVERY item of clothing my daughter has ever worn, folded and labeled and stored away? Why can’t I get RID of this stuff??
I stuck on a brave face and handed over my entire stash. All those items of fluff I lovingly bought when we were sure our little one was on the way: diapers covers, liners, pre-folds, T-ties. I was determined to choose well so I could use it with subsequent children.
Those children never came. Well, they did, but they didn’t stay long. It took 3.5 years and one miscarriage before our daughter and another 4 miscarriages after her to let me know that pregnancy wasn’t in the cards for me. For the most part, I’ve made my peace, but certain events, like a birthday party with adorable, squishy babies crawling around everywhere, can knock me flat on my rear.
I am devastated that I have no reason to keep all my baby stuff. Devastated. When I handed over that bin of diapers I felt like my heart was ripping out of my chest and being handed over with them. It’s not about the stupid diapers…it’s about my complete lack of need for them. With every item that leaves my house, I feel a little bit more of my fertility leave with them. Utterly ridiculous, I know, but there it is. I feel like it’s one notch closer to being Done, and I wish with all my heart that I didn’t have to be. I wish I had a reason to keep the baby items, but I don’t, and that is where the pain comes from…not in the giving, but in the acknowledgement that I don’t need them. And never will again.
We have moved 4 times since we were married 11 years ago and each time the boxes have come with us and have had more added to their ranks as our daughter outgrows items. Currently, there are 14 boxes down there. My husband jokingly calls it “Mount Baby” and yes, it takes up a good chunk of our basement storage. Whenever I go downstairs, I am confronted that, yet again, I have no need for these things. Like a homing beacon, I can feel that pile pulsating. Reminding me that I won’t ever use any of it again.
When my sister in law got pregnant, she asked for some things and I just could NOT do it. I couldn’t. I didn’t want to hand over my cradle or breast pump at that point because that would be nailing shut the fertility coffin in my heart. It would be giving up. I might still get pregnant, right? Right??? I knew it was irrational even then, but I couldn’t make myself part with any of it. If I gave it away, would I jinx myself and never be able to have another child again? I am not superstitious in the least, but I couldn’t do it.
Now though, I have given up. There won’t be any more pregnancies in my future and I’m pissed off about it. I paste a smile on my face when I see gummy babies being held by their parents, but inside I’m seething. I have a daughter, yes. I realize that I am beyond blessed and I NEVER take it for granted that she’s here. Sometimes I can’t believe that my dreams came true and I have a little girl with my eyes and my husband’s smile, but in the corners of my soul, I am depressed and pissed right off that the plan I had for my life, the plan that involved being surrounded by a herd of kids all calling me “Mama” won’t come to fruition. That my daughter won’t get to know that sibling bond, be it good or bad. It’s a hard pill for me to swallow, one that leaves a bitter burn as it goes down.
Keeping that bitterness from overwhelming me can sometimes be a career.
Despite my rage at the injustice of it all, I put the smile on. Sometimes with tears in my eyes and fire in my chest, but the smile is there. It’s there as I open all those 14 boxes to whittle down my hoard in preparation for our next move. It’s there as I take pictures of the things that are leaving. The smile stays as I hand over the items, so cherished and filled with hopes and dreams, to people with the same, but newer dreams. The smile has become my mask so that I don’t burden other’s with my pain over the triviality of giving away my daughter’s baby things.
Jill Kawchak is the proud mama to one truly amazing daughter, the wife of a good man, and a companion of a very troublesome Labrador retriever. Her days are spent homeschooling from the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Cochrane, Alberta, where her daughter constantly begs to go exploring. She had always wanted to be a mother and started TTC just after her wedding in 2006. Jill has been diagnosed with PCOS, and was told motherhood would be a difficult goal to attain, but after 3.5 years of infertility with one early loss, the clouds parted, and the sunshine that was a little girl with blue eyes and brown curls broke through. However, in the years since her daughter arrived, there have been another 4 early losses. After *much* debate, angst and tears, Jill and her husband, Mark, have decided to end their fertility journey and are now focused on ‘what comes next’. She writes to keep sane, and support those who are also experiencing infertility and baby loss.