It was overwhelming. The giant pile of things, of hope, of all the love and support, everything we had for a baby so very wanted and so very hoped for...gone. She teared up as she saw just how much we had to donate, and hugged me and told me how sorry she was that things turned out this way.
I helped her load up her car, and then mine when it became apparent that not only would it take several trips otherwise but that the crib was definitely not going to fit in her car, ever. She hadn't wanted me to do anything, but I didn't feel right sitting on the couch while she loading everything up, and additionally my neighbors decided that this was the perfect time to hang out on the street and have a chat and I felt a little like there was a bit of a spectacle. Having some strange lady taking baby stuff out of our house and into her car without me would probably be stranger than me trying to look cheerful while helping.
Trying. At one point when I offered to help drive stuff she said, "you probably just want this over as fast as possible" and I teared up and said "I just can't look at it all sitting here anymore." And then I cried the entire way home, after we unloaded my car first and she said she'd unload her car, that I could absolutely go and take care of myself.
I am pretty sure that this was the hardest day. It felt worse than any of the other days that have peppered this journey to nowhere. The absence was overwhelming.
I figured out what it is. It's truly, absolutely over. Even if I was like, "WAIT! Let's reopen our homestudy!" (which I'm not), we have no baby gear anymore. We have made our decision and it is final with a capital F. There's no going back. We are definitely resolving our journey childfree. Right now it feels a lot like childless, since I had all these things for a child who existed in my heart, and now that dream is gone. It shifts and morphs between the two -- childless which to me captures the loss, childfree which captures the empowerment of a life that, once we scab over the rawness, will be full of other dreams, other possibilities. Even if it wasn't our desired landing spot.
It reminds me of my uterine surgery -- once that was over, I had absolutely zero chance of getting pregnant, ever. It was pretty close to zero before, but there was no going back, no deciding to reopen the treatment route, no way to have a spontaneous pregnancy "miracle." At first it made me sad, but I was so done with the treatment aspect of things and of birth control that made my body go nuts that I embraced the finality. It came after almost two years of knowing that IVF wasn't ever going to work for me, though. It came after trying other things and having them not work, and then saying, "Okay, uterus, I'm done with you. I'm locking this door and throwing away the key." It was a relief. It frees me to not be as sad when others get pregnant, because that's no longer an option for me whatsoever. I've let it go entirely.
Donating the baby gear is similar, but it happened at warp speed. We only made this decision a month and a half ago, really. I haven't had time to acclimate. Having a nursery you know you aren't going to use is painful, on a daily basis, the kind that saps you slowly. Donating everything all in one day and loading it all up and getting it out in a space of about an hour is excruciatingly painful, but then it's gone. Then the healing can start. Then the empty space in the living room that held the pile of things can be replaced with new furniture, a reading nook where my desk used to be since now my desk is where the nursery used to be. (Well, sort-of-desk. Still the plywood setup.)
I feel like everything is a series of Before and After pictures.
|So much stuff. This pile goes about eight feet from one side to the other.|
|After I got home and it was all gone. Strangely like the decal-free wall upstairs.|
But it's also a series of transformations. That space was only empty for so long before we filled it with a rearranged, new-furniture setup in our living room. A living room that doesn't need space for a pack-n-play, a living room that can have light colored upholstery because there won't be any little sticky fingers wielding markers here. But it's cozy, and each new thing is a step towards embracing this new life we have ahead of us. The After we can look forward to that has a duller sort of pain, and a new kind of promise.
|Not empty anymore.|
|So much seating now!|