Life Without Children, Part 3: Thirteen Dollars
Have you loved Libby’s insights as much as me? I think they are wonderful!! She gives voice to what so many women are feeling but are unsure of how to say it. She is honest. She is real. She is wonderful at weaving her understanding of the gospel into her perspective and into her healing process. I LOVE it!! So, continue reading her great words…you can see Part 1 and Part 2 before reading today’s post.
Libby & Ethan S.
West Lafayette, Indiana
by Libby S.
(originally posted here on June 12, 2010)
I finished getting rid of the baby items. For the past month, I’d been selling them bit by bit. Some things sold quickly: the slings, car seat, co-sleeper. Other items such as books and the baby girl clothes sold at the garage sale. I was able to sell most of the rest to people at church or through Craigslist. Some things I decided just to give away to family and friends. All I had left were a few miscellaneous, non-sentimental items–other than every piece of baby boy clothes. Why were all pregnant women this year having girls and not boys? Seriously! Not one person showed any interest in buying these new, excellent condition cute baby boy clothes. After all was said and done, the only thing left to do was take them to Once Upon a Child and see what they would give me for them.
Thirteen dollars. That was it. I gave them at least fifty dollars worth of never used baby boy clothes, and all they gave me was thirteen dollars. Unexpectedly, I burst into tears. Why? Hadn’t I known I’d have to take whatever I could get for them?
It took six months before I could take any action regarding our room full of baby items. After considering various options for what to do with our baby supplies, I decided the best thing would be to sell them. First of all, we needed the money. We had a room full of nearly one thousand dollars worth of baby goods that we’d gathered over the past decade. The money would really help us make ends meet this summer. Plus, I wanted something out of this. If I couldn’t get a baby, at least I could get some money back for all I’d invested financially in trying to become a mommy (little solace, I know). These mothers who bought my baby items got a great deal–and they knew it! I was mostly content too because, if I couldn’t get any happiness out of getting rid of baby supplies, at least I could get the money.
I kept trying to tell myself that donating would be the Christlike thing to do. But when it came down to it, I wasn’t going to freely give away MY baby things to women who had what I wanted but couldn’t have. I’m still filled with resentment in many ways, and I felt like putting up a fight. I did donate several items, but now that it’s done, I’m glad I sold rather donating most of it. It allowed me to say “goodbye” piece by piece. If I had gathered everything at once and simply donated it to the women’s shelter, it would have been too much too quickly. It would’ve just been too tough on me that way. By selling items, I felt that I was in charge. I was the owner of something others needed, and the transactions were on my terms. It gave me a sense of control. Or so I thought.
Thirteen dollars?! That hurt. But I wanted to get rid of these clothes, and I couldn’t wait a moment longer. I had spent too many hours looking at them, imagining my first child (who I KNEW would be son!) wearing them: “Daddy’s Little Helper,” “Little Squirt,” or even the spaceship fuzzy pjs. Every so often, I would take them out of their special place and dream of my little baby boy and what he would look like. These clothes were the most valuable of all my baby items. They were what my heart held onto the longest. And to finally see what I had ignored all along–that they would never be as valuable to the buyers as they were to me–was devastating. Finally, I was forced to look at my baby items from the world’s eyes. They were items to buy and sell and not symbols of my hopes and dreams over the years. To me, getting rid of these baby items signified the final death of my children. I had not realized that until I received a mere thirteen dollars for them.
It hurts. It still hurts and will periodically hurt probably for the rest of my life. But the pain will be less intense and less often. I know it was time to clear out the baby items, but it’s still so hard to clear away their images from my heart and mind.