To the Baby I’ll Never Have

This past weekend we hosted our very first garage sale, with tables stacked to the brim of old snow boots, outgrown hats and mittens, swaddle blankets, teeny little onesies pronouncing “Daddy’s Girl” or “Beautiful like Mommy”…Silly, of course, but each itsy bitsy piece a precious reminder of how quickly time passes.

I cried.

It was hard packing up my daughter’s precious little baby clothes, things I remember her wearing (although let’s be honest, I saved an entire TUB of my favorites) or that I specifically remember picking out for her at the store. It was hard knowing that each piece MEANT something to me at one time, that her small little arms fit into that soft fleece sweatshirt and her chubby legs fit into those teeny pink pants.

I wasn’t just crying because I miss her as a baby or because it’s hard to reconcile the big girl she is now with the itsy bitsy baby she used to be. It isn’t just that time flies, although it does. It’s that I’ve already forgotten so much…one day she was a baby, and the next she was a toddler.

Those outfits are memories of her life, a flashback to the Christmas she wore a sparkly red dress and the Halloween she was a ladybug.

Photo Credit: Tara Kuhlow Photography

Photo Credit: Tara Kuhlow Photography

They are reminders that not so long ago she was tiny enough to fit into NB onesies and her snuggly fleece sleeper, and now she is barely squeezing into her clothes from earlier this summer. How can so much have changed in just two years?

But there was another reason I was crying as I slowly sorted through her clothes. It’s because she is most likely our last baby. So I was sitting there, packing up those little clothes, remembering tiny snuggles, miniature diapers, fingers wrapped around mine…and knowing that we will never have those things again. It hurt in a place I didn’t even know was tender.

The thing is…My heart still wants one more. We may be done and we may have made that decision carefully and intentionally…but there’s no way to convince my heart that our family is complete right now. And how can I accept that our family is complete if I don’t FEEL it?

To the baby I’m never going to have…I love thinking about you. I love imagining seeing you in the ultrasound room for the first time, the magic of seeing a little heartbeat on the screen. I love imagining you coming home from the hospital to a big brother and big sister who will love you to pieces, and probably slobber you with kisses. I love imagining you scooting after your big brother and sister, trying to keep up. I picture rocking you in the same chair I rocked your siblings, treasuring the middle of the night feeds when it’s just you and me. I picture you learning to crawl. To walk. To run. I would want to soak every second in, knowing from your siblings how each stage, good or bad, is fleeting. I wonder who you would be someday, and if you are a piece missing from our family’s story.

I wonder if someday, when I’m old and gray, I will still be imagining you, as an adult, with a family of your own.

We sold a lot of stuff at our garage sale. But I snuck a few things back inside. Just in case.

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15 Responses to To the Baby I’ll Never Have

  1. Cassie September 19, 2016 at 9:01 am #

    Oh, how I can relate to this. I went through the whole garage sale thing a couple months ago. We have two boys at home and my husband and I are pretty sure that we’re done, but it makes me sad that I never got the daughter I always wanted. I get a bit emotional when I see little girls with their moms, and sometimes I’ll think of a great piece of advice I’ll have to pass on to my daughter, but then I remember I don’t have one.

    When I was in college, I bought a little pink layette set (because it had moons and stars on it and I loved celestial stuff) thinking someday I’d have a little girl to wear it. When it didn’t sell at the garage sale, I tucked it away, just in case. Glad to know I’m not alone. 🙂

  2. Tiara October 2, 2016 at 5:48 am #

    I’m at that very place right now. I’m blessed with two beautiful and healthy little boys but will always dream about the little girl I don’t have.

    • Linda April 16, 2017 at 12:59 am #

      Raised two boys and myself longed for that little girl…..I have two now 30 years latter watch what you wish for so my sister says…. raising two granddaughters 4 and 7 now brought the youngest home from hospital at 12 days old

  3. Jen October 3, 2016 at 10:04 pm #

    This is EXACTLY where I am right now. I just got rid of our walker and baby bottles and all those wonderful baby things because, as of right now, our decision is to be done….but my heart. I could have written this myself. Glad to know there are others who’s heart isn’t exactly where their decision is. <3

  4. Jennie October 5, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

    After my second son was born I was done having babies. We had a miscarriage before him and then a very rough pregnancy. I had two healthy boys and our family was complete. Or so I thought….when he turned two I wanted another baby. A week after his 3rd birthday I delivered our sweet baby girl. I am so thankful I listened to my heart after she was born our family finally felt complete. My kids are now 16, 14, and 11. Follow your heart…..

  5. Erin October 7, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

    Oh my goodness! I could’ve written this when we packed up all our baby stuff… and then surprise! A third! I hope you find peace with your choice whatever you end up with because that peace is more than words can describe!

    I actually wrote about it here:

  6. Sara April 15, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

    Oh man i so relate to this, we have a boy and a girl ( 9 and almost 5), we have made the decision not to have anymore and while i think its the best decision for us i still wonder if we should have one more, then i think about being pregnant and how sick i was with both kids and all those newborn sleepless night and think no no its for the best. Just glad to hear i am not the only one torn about this

  7. Abi April 16, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

    I have 4 girls and longed for a boy. Sadly it’s never going to happen now. I’m having chemo for breast cancer, so even though I’m only 36, I’ll be going through the menopause afterwards. I don’t think I’d have tried again for a boy anyway, but now that choice has been taken away. 🙁

  8. Clare - My Tunbridge Wells April 16, 2017 at 5:19 pm #

    This is such lovely and poignant post. We are still undecided about having another and I haven’t taken the leap to actually sell anything but know I would fell this way when/if I do….

  9. Lisa V April 16, 2017 at 7:26 pm #

    I have been blessed with 4 wonderful children…all adults ranging from 27-34…some of each gender. When we are young we cannot wait to grow up. Then we get there and savor our time, not wanting to move to the next stage…(well all but our children’s teen stages). Its okay to grieve what we will miss or not have. Give yourself those tears and time you need to work through it. Know the next stage of your life will have it’s blessing too.

  10. Kristi April 16, 2017 at 8:43 pm #

    The best advice I received was I would never regret having a third child, but I would probably regret not having him or her. Our third turns 1 tomorrow. The minute he was born our family felt complete, and I knew we were done. I would have regretted not having the third baby, and I would have missed out on a ton of joy. For some 1 is all they need and for others it may be 10, but once your family is complete you know.

    • Kristi April 16, 2017 at 8:49 pm #

      This of course does not apply to those who sadly have no choice in the matter.

  11. Cheryl Brackemyre April 19, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

    Never say never! At age 42 my husband and I adopted. This baby joined our family of older kids and it has been such a blessing. I thought I was done, and cried at age 29…….you just never know!

  12. Gretchen May 13, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

    This post is particularly touching for those of us who didn’t actually choose to be “one and done.” I had a miscarriage before our daughter was born and 7 more after her in hopes of having another child. Secondary infertility, as it’s called, makes the process of cleaning out those old baby clothes all the more bittersweet. It’s only now, after five years of trying, that my husband and I have resigned ourselves to fact that our daughter will be an only child. We are so grateful to have her and know just what a miracle she–and every child–truly is.

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