It's been over a week since we've returned from our trip and I'm doing pretty well. Today my daughter, out of the blue, told me I'm, "full of joy" and since little kids are very perceptive, I'm taking her at her word. I have felt joy returning over the past week.
One of the things I've done that has been most helpful in healing has been ridding our home of baby and maternity items. I started the process a while ago and have slowly been giving away what we've accumulated, but in the last week I've finally gotten rid of the last of it and it feels so good. I've been thinking about why it's been so therapeutic for me and I've come up with the following (myriad) reasons.
The very obvious, practical reason that this has been so great is that there's so much more space! The fervor to get rid of baby things has also sparked the desire just to get rid of all things and we finally have space in our small townhouse. There are no longer boxes and junk lying around. Our closets aren't filled to the brim with things we may or may not ever use, but are instead organized with things we do use. I do so much better in uncluttered space and so fixing my physical surroundings has such a positive affect on me emotionally and psychologically.
Clearing our space and making our home more comfortable is something I can do as a wife and mother to benefit the lives of my family right now. Instead of saving things for children we might have and cluttering up our lives in the meantime, I'm taking care of my family right now. And that is so, so good for me. If these losses have taught me anything, it's that I must
strive to do my best as a wife and mother in every moment, not just prepare for a future in which I will finally be at my best. As I've mentioned previously, I need to feel useful right now and this is useful.
Giving away our useable items makes me feel useful to others as well. Most of Lucia's clothes and many of her baby items have gone to my sister-in-law for my niece, but I've also been able to bless women from church and random strangers with baby and maternity items they need. It feels so selfish to stockpile them when there are people who need and can use them right now. Giving them up helps me to focus on others and to have perspective. One of the lines I pray every day in the Litany of Humility is "That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grand me the grace to desire it." This one line never fails to be the one that stands out to me, that targets me especially. Right now, I have not been chosen to carry a child to term. I have been set aside, at least for a time, but I must still use this time to serve the Lord, which I can do by helping those who God has chosen.
Another spiritual fruit of the baby product purge is that it is teaching me to rely more fully on God to provide for my needs. I tend to hold onto something if it might ever be used again. In that way, I learn to
rely on myself to provide for my future. By getting rid of the baby things I
not only rely on God to provide us with a living
child, but I also rely on Him to provide us with what we would need to
raise that child. It's much easier to pray "give us this day our daily
bread" and really mean it if you don't have a cupboard full of food to last you
days, weeks, or even months. I put much more trust in God
when I no longer stockpile for myself and instead give the goods we have
I also realize that when I give away our baby and maternity
things, I am helping do God's work in providing the "daily bread" for
other families. When we pray to God to answer our prayers, it's much
more likely that He'll answer them through other people then by dropping
a baby buggy straight from heaven, a miracle I have yet to hear of
happening. It is good to prepare yourself financially and be
economically frugal, but there's a point where that gets in the way of
doing God's work and starts to become working for yourself. I can no longer justify holding onto baby things for
years when I don't need them and there are others that do. I trust that
if and when we have another child, others will be generous to us as
well, and that we'll have everything we need.
I started giving away our baby and maternity stock because it was too hard to be surrounded by constant reminders of our failed pregnancies and dissipating dreams. I was shocked to realize just how healing the process was for me. Most of all, it enabled me to imagine a life without more babies. Everyone deals with loss differently and for some it may be more beneficial to always have hope for more children and therefore to continue to hold onto the baby things; but for me, it's helpful to be realistic and the truth is that I may or may not have more children. I imagine that statistics are in my favore and that we will most likely have more children through pregnancy or adoption. But I need to be able to acknowledge that there's also a chance that we may not have more children and the odds of that happening are higher for me than for the average woman. I need to build a life and imagine a future that is happy and hopeful and beautiful even if it doesn't include more children for us. So by letting go of this material reminders, we not only give ourselves more space in our home for the things that matter right now, I also give space in my head and my heart to imagine a blessed life as a family of three.