There is a baby in my head. He’s the one that I thought I would have someday. His name is Oliver, though my husband and I call him Ollie. I’m not quite sure why the baby of my dream is a boy, but he is. And over the past few months, I’ve begun the process of saying goodbye to this future child, the one that I’ll never get to have. I’ve grieved for him. Now, like with any other loss, it’s time to get rid of all his stuff.
Over the years, as my husband and I have been trying to conceive, I’ve collected quite a collection of “For Future Baby” paraphernalia. I have Beatrix Potter themed nursery decor, some that I’ve bought and some that I’ve actually made. I have a plethora of baby clothes that I simply couldn’t resist and got on sale. I have baby blankets and small toys that I bought, pretending that I would use them for future baby shower gifts but knowing that I didn’t want to give them away. And finally, I have gifts given to me during my last pregnancy, before we realized it was ectopic and had to remove it.
All in all, we have a tub full of baby stuff. It’s a tub for Oliver, my imaginary never-to-be child. And even if we should decide to adopt an infant at some point in time in the future, I’m just not sure that I’ll feel right passing these things along to another child.
It is time to say goodbye to Oliver, to my idea of him. To do that, I know that I need to let go of all the stuff I’ve saved for him. I need to say goodbye to the clothes and the toys and the nursery I thought he would inhabit one day.
Trying to find the best way to let go of all this stuff, and subsequently, the baby I bought them for, has proven more difficult than I imagined. Throwing them away feels callous and wasteful. Giving them to someone else feels like handing my heart over to another person. It makes me worried that I’ll always get emotional every time I see that child. They’ll be wearing a onesie or playing with a stuffed giraffe that I thought I would need to use for my own child, and I’ll just start crying over someone else’s kid. I don’t want to be that lady.
Donating my baby gear feels like the safest, most thoughtful way of saying goodbye to everything. I won’t have to run into my own clothes and blankets at unsuspecting moments. I’ll know that it helps a family who needs it. I can feel some sort of good about such a sad ending.
Donating makes the most sense. I’m 99.9% positive that in the next few weeks, I’ll take my tub of broken dreams and donate it to another family that will have a use for it. But I have a sad feeling that I’ll be crying on the car ride, struggling to say goodbye to everything those clothes and blankets mean to me.
Getting rid of all this stuff is the next step in saying goodbye to Oliver, to the child I always believed that I would have. I know that it’s necessary. I know that it will go to help someone else. I still don’t think I’ll make it through with dry eyes.