It’s always fun to start pulling out the maternity clothes. It’s like a whole new wardrobe for the next nine months or so. I remember last year, pregnant with Emily, I ordered some new shirts and pants to “spruce up” what I had already. I got some bright, red corduroy pants well, because Valentine’s Day was coming up and I thought it would be fun to wear some red, hot pants. We found out on February 5, 2013, that Emily had died. I delivered her three days later. That is nine days before that holiday I was looking forward to before finding out that my baby had died.
Those maternity clothes, including the red, hot pants, sat in my closet until around her due date, July 27th. Probably after, now that I think about it. It was just too painful to have them anywhere in sight at that point. But on the other hand, it was too painful to put them away any sooner. I was supposed to still be pregnant. But I wasn’t.
This time around with our Michael, I was hesitant to bring those maternity clothes out of the basement. I waited until I just couldn’t fit into my regular pants anymore, and then tried to accept the new clothes. The change. The transition. And hoped that I would get my whole nine months this time around. It felt so unfair to have it “cut short” last year. So after our eight week appointment where we saw that beautiful heartbeat, and my pants could barely button, I tried to embrace it all, and be hopeful. It was around 12 weeks, that I started to feel good. Like this time, our baby was ours. Our baby was going to come home this summer. I ordered some more maternity clothes. I was getting excited. I was allowing myself to now. And then on February 6th, my happiness was cut short. Again. Our baby, Michael, did not have a heartbeat. And on my doorstep that day, as we came home from our devastating ultrasound appointment, was a delivery of some new maternity jeans that I didn’t get to wear. The pants that I was anticipating with excitement, were now a source of sadness. How did this happen again, I thought?
Today, May 15th, I was just getting tired and sad of looking at that pile of maternity clothes in my closet. Including those maternity jeans still in their plastic. Staring at me. And I just packed it all up in about 30 minutes. I didn’t think about it all too much while doing it, or else it would have taken a lot longer. I remembered some of the clothes wearing pregnant with Matthew and Ryan, as I folded them to put back in the plastic containers for the basement. I wish I could have thought happy thoughts. Instead I thought, “Little did I know what was coming in the following years.” It is very hard putting those clothes away. It is a part of the grieving, and putting away, letting go of the dreams you had for this baby.
Usually, when a woman delivers her baby, and “eases” her way out of her maternity clothes there is some excitement to be back in her old size, again. Yay! Celebrate! But for us, on the other side, there is no celebration. There is an indescribable sadness and pain as we are forced to accept the reality of what has happened. The clothes that never got to be worn. For that growing bump. Your bump. Your baby.