Why I Had To Give Away My Kids' Baby Clothes

By
Share
Ad failed to load

Before you get pregnant, it’s easy to think that you get to call the shots on your reproductive future. I’m ready to be a mom, you think. I’ll come off birth control and then I’ll get pregnant! You plan what kind of birth you want to have, what kind of parenting style you’ll subscribe to, and whether or not you’ll go on to have more children (and, if so, when you'll have them), all with a generally-confident sense of being in control of those things. But here’s the thing: you aren't really in control of anything.

From the outside, it often looks like everyone around you is having happy, easy pregnancies, and perfect, healthy babies. But once you’re on the inside, and you aren’t having a happy, easy pregnancy or a perfect, healthy baby, you figure out really quickly that, actually, you’re not an anomaly. Traumatic birth experiences are like the seedy underbelly of pregnancy and childbirth — we generally don’t talk much about them because it’s depressing, and scary, and it’s much nicer to tell yourself that all you have to do is take your prenatal vitamins and think healthy thoughts and drink kale smoothies and everything will be A-OK. But the reality is, motherhood is a much bigger roll of the dice than anyone would probably like to admit.  

Like many, many families before us, we came out on the wrong side of the dice roll. We had a bad pregnancy, an extremely premature birth, a long NICU stay, two brain surgeries on our daughter, and many, many sleepless nights. We got incredibly lucky that our two tiny, sick babies somehow came home and grew into beautiful, healthy, amazing children, and as they left babyhood behind, my husband and I found ourselves wondering what we should be doing with all that baby stuff we had amassed along the way.

Ad failed to load

“Should we pack it away?” I’d ask, neither of us wanting to acknowledge what I was really asking: Will we need to keep this for another baby in the future?

I packed everything up and I gave the clothes away, and when I came home, I cried.
Ad failed to load

I guess that’s a bit of an intimidating question for all couples to discuss, but for us, it was downright scary. Because it wasn’t just an issue of wanting or not wanting more children. It was an issue of whether or not we wanted to roll the dice again, knowing what could happen if things didn’t go our way.

We ended up keeping some things while giving away others. I kept all the preemie clothes for sentimental reasons, and gave away a few pieces here and there to friends as the twins grew out of stuff, but mostly I kept their clothes ... just in case. We went back and forth and back and forth, and fought and cried and talked long into the night about our hopes and dreams for our family. And then, in the end, we decided we weren’t gamblers. We’d gotten so lucky with our twins — our beautiful family we never knew for sure that we’d get to keep — that trying again seemed too risky. Too unnecessary. We were done. We needed to be done.

Ad failed to load

After we’d made our decision, the boxes full of Madeleine and Reid’s baby clothes suddenly just seemed to be sitting there, taking up space, glaring at me. So I packed everything up and I gave the clothes away, and when I came home, I cried.

The truth was I wasn’t ready to give the clothes away. I wasn’t really ready to say that I would never again be pregnant, that I would never have any more children. But even though I always thought it would be my choice — that I’d get to decide when I was done — the reality was that it was never really up to me.

Ad failed to load

Now that some time has passed since I cleared out all of our “just in case” baby stuff, I can see why it was really, really important for me to do it. It made it real, it helped it sink in. And giving everything away made space for our new reality, the one where I could admit that, hey, I don’t really want to be up all night with a newborn again, and hey, the four of us are a pretty awesome family, even if it’s smaller a smaller one than I envisioned. For a long time, I was sure I’d never be able to move on from my dream of getting pregnant again and having more children. But now, I’m starting to feel OK with it.

Images Courtesy of Alana Romain, Giphy (3), Tim Snell/Flickr

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}