There are three bags of clothing in my basement that I have developed a potentially unhealthy and positively ridiculous attachment to. These bags are filled with cozy, teeny tiny sleepers and itty bitty baby dresses. It’s hard to believe that the long-legged, ponytailed children running around my house were ever small enough to wear them. These clothes have not fit my children for a few years and we are not going to have any more kids. I have no need to keep them. So, then, why can’t I get rid of my baby clothes?
After my husband and I came to the conclusion that our family was complete, I gleefully started flinging baby stuff from our house. The Exersaucer went to the first person who could take it as far away from me as possible. I felt relief when the baby bathtub and jolly jumper left went out the front door. These items once seem crucial, but only for such a short period of time. A period of time that is now over. It felt liberating to rid ourselves of the baby clutter and it some ways the stage of parenting it represented. But when I tried to sort through the little clothes, the out-the-door-right-now decluttering ground to a halt.
How could I get rid of this?
This was a favorite of mine.
Baby’s First Christmas!
This is so cute.
This is so small.
This was sooo expensive.
But it’s in such good shape!
I was angry that these wee sleepers were ruining my purge high. I moved on to Plan B, which was not to sort the clothes but to bag them all up and send it off to an organization that provides baby clothes to families in need. They can be enjoyed by someone else. And yet, a full year later, here the bags still sit, ignoring the very real reasons why they are no longer of use.
Deciding not to have more kids was not a difficult choice. Both of my pregnancies were difficult and childbirth was full-on traumatic. The lasting effects of these experiences spilled over into the first years of my children’s lives. I can say that these were years that were simply survived on my end. There were joyous moments and I am grateful for the experience, but I can honestly say that these years comprised mostly of going through the motions of life. This isn’t an experience I am interested in revisiting.
There are also the very real considerations that many parents weigh if they go through the process of deciding to have more children or not. There is the financial aspect, how it might impact careers, living space, personal goals, along with the necessary reserve mental and physical energy. If you have the desire for a child, you can likely find workarounds to accommodate these kinds of conditions.We had considerations that carried a lot of weight and the desire to accommodate just wasn’t there.
You see, I can articulate very clearly how my husband and I came to the decision that we a very happy family of four. Then, I ask, why oh why, does this little bag of clothes have so much power over me? I’ve had to genuinely question if these wee little sleepers could actually cause me to override the very clear and conscious reasoning we have for not having another baby. How can it be so hard to close a metaphorical door on something you know you fundamentally do not want?
So, I did exactly what all of the obvious signs were pointing towards. I thought about the possibility that these clothes represent some latent, unspoken desire to have another baby. The answer to this question came surprisingly easy and had nothing to do with what I thought my previous reasons were. It wasn’t about the trauma of my previous experiences or how workable the practical considerations were for us. The clarity came from the fact that my heart and my brain are not hungry in the same way that I was with my first two children. I would have done just about anything to have had those kids. I would have fought long and hard and spent our last dollar to bring them to our family. That feeling is gone. And so, with this clarity, I have finally concluded that this means that it’s time for the ridiculous bags of adorable, snuggly, wee-sized clothes to go, too.