Saying goodbye to newborn you

I crumbled yesterday, for a moment.

Miss E has recently out grown her size 0000 clothes. Mr A and I have decided that she will be our last baby so we would no longer have use for the clothes. A few weeks ago I bundled them carelessly into bags.

In went the pink jumpsuit which we had brought Master X home in some two years prior,

a baby sleep bag that I knitted entirely while on maternity leave but was too small for our big babies so was never worn,

the faded and much loved sleeping bag that we used for keeping our winter babes warm in the bitter Canberra cold,

and of course the blankie that I had hurriedly sewn during my psychosis for the sewing business I had set up in the hope of not having to return to work, even though I hated being at home all day.

What I would miss most though would not be known until I could bring myself to take the clothes to the thrift shop. Which I forced myself to do yesterday.

However there was not much ceremony involved. I had left the task so late in the game that I had forgotten my sadness at parting with these memories until it came time to place the bags in the bins. The physicality of parting was so sad that I gasped and my hand stayed a little longer than necessary to part with these items of intrinsic value.

It is funny that we keep items that hold memories and hold memories that keep items in our house. Piling up in corners, in our storage units, garages, attics, basements or just in the place that they were last used, discarded but not forgotten.

Never forgotten.

And then later in the day as I walked in my local shops, hot from the increase in spring temperature and sweaty from the walk to the centre, I noticed

A Babe In Arms

They would not have been older than a week. A wee bub that drew again the memory of the parting that I had underwent earlier in the day with my children’s newborn clothing brought p the realisation that I would never again have that moment with our baby- a baby- that time had passed for us, now. It was difficult not to smile at the parents as they perused the coffee shop, looking somewhat flustered, perhaps this being their first baby or maybe their fifth, who knows. But they did seem to be in need of caffeine. The bub was squished on their dad’s shoulder, all squashed up into the crook of his neck and shoulder like it was part of the father, an extension of his body. I yearned for that stage, and as I looked down at my daughter who gazed up at me form her pram I realised with a start again how in short amount of time she had grown so much.

It is not that I want another baby. The reasons for two are sound –

  • childcare fees
  • cost to travel internationally
  • it would be necessary to obtain a larger car with three or more children
  • how would we clothe and feed them when we struggle already and one of the four people in our family is currently eating for free (cue breastfeeding)
  • although I would have loved to believe we could fit four children into our small 2 bedroom unit, I know this is not true as we struggle to contain the son and daughter that we already have.

And I am sure there are others but these seem the most pertinent and pressing. And reading over them I realise that these are but fluid states, none of which are permanent or particularly stressing for a couple who are from a privileged (educated, white, middle class) backgrounds such as my partner and I. But they seem insurmountable for the present, and too much to take on especially for someone with my health concerns. I could not in all good state of mind, bring this onto my husband without the thought of the fluidity of my Bipolar and how it impacts him and what further implications it could have should I have future episodes.

And if we had four children, close in age who he had to contend with while trying to support a mentally unwell partner.

So I farewell the baby clothes for I know that they will be going to good family homes and money to support our community, but it does not stop the tears welling in my eyes as I bid them goodbye, nor the yearning in my heart for the family that once was dreamt of once upon a time before Bipolar. I will give myself time to grieve this every time it hurts to drop off another load of clothes or baby items as I know that this is the right decision for us, all of us, and we really don’t have the room in our unit to be sentimental about things such as loads of baby clothes.

Except perhaps that fluro green jumper that mum knitted for Master X. That was so damn cute on both babes and can be my link to the memories of the small and squishiness of the new babe.

BTW breastfeeding is going really well this time around. Miss E is gaining weight like a champ and my sore nipples healed after day 14 and have not had any problems since!


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