I never blogged about the stroller, did I?
Mom didn’t want me to mention a garage sale stroller. She thought people would tell me it was a bad idea or that I’d wasted my money or some such thing.
Anyway, there was a stroller. And a matching car seat and co-sleeper. It was at a garage sale — one that Mom and I tripped across when she was in town during the second pregnancy. Back when I was still optimistic.
We got it all for… $60? $80? Either way, it was a good deal. I was excited and proud of snagging such a great price. Mom, as grandmother-to-be, insisted on paying.
When we got home, we put the items in the garage. And that’s where they stayed for the past five years and four miscarriages.
So when we started clearing out the garage, I realized it was time to sell the baby stuff.
It was something I’d been working up to for a while. It wasn’t fun to catch a glimpse of them, poignantly dusty, every time I went into the garage to get the mail. And the money would come in handy. We’re trying to scrounge up some decorating money, after all.
So I sucked it up and posted the items on Craigslist for $50.
About 20 minutes ago, a woman came and got all three for her niece. She also took a pack of receiving blankets and burp cloths that one of Mom’s friends had excitedly sent during my first failed pregnancy.
Six years later I help the cloths in my hand, waiting for the buyer to get an extra $5 from her husband.
It felt surreal. The cloth was still so soft — and clean. That might be the weirdest part of all. Our garage doors aren’t airtight, and we live in the desert, which means that just about everything in garage is covered with a fine coat of dust and dirt. But not the cloths. They had been sitting in the car seat, and that must have protected them from the grit. (Hey, at least the car seat got to protect something of ours, eh?)
The woman came back with the money, and I gave her the cloths. The car trundled away, and I walked back into the house, triumphant and relieved. I told Tim the good news… Then I fought back tears (unsuccessfully).
The reaction surprised me. I mean, I didn’t want the items there. I definitely wanted the $55. But I wasn’t properly prepared for the significance behind the sale. What it meant to get rid of the vestiges of our baby plans.
I mean, I’m not an idiot. I didn’t think it’d be easy. I just hadn’t thought it’d hurt so much.
I guess I expected a sort of rueful relief. A remorseful emotional shrug of the shoulders, then the ability to focus on the paint or display case the $55 could buy.
I expected to feel a brief pang, then to be able to focus on the income. Instead, I was momentarily exhilarated, then soaked with sadness.
Tim held me while I cried, because he’s an old hat at this by now. He told me it’ll be okay. And he’s right. Because it has to be. Because, really, what’s the alternative? We can’t adopt, and even if we had the money to burn (and we don’t), we wouldn’t do in vitro.
So either I make peace with being childless or I spend the rest of my life mourning a lack of life. I choose that first one.
Before you ask, we haven’t completely given up. We’re not using birth control, but we’ve stopped actively trying. Mainly because a host of circumstances (including the fact I’m probably perimenopausal) makes pregnancy unlikely. Not impossible. But unlikely.
When I first emailed Mom about selling the items, I told her that it was the best thing to do. I mean, the worst thing that could happen is that I’d miraculously get — and stay — pregnant. That I’d have to go buy all that stuff again. And that’s a problem I’d be thrilled to have.
But that’s not going to happen. The reality is that it was best to sell the baby stuff because we’re not going to have a baby. And having the items around made it hard to accept that. Having those items kept me from coming to terms with the fact that I’m never going to come to term.
Because as long as they were there, the baby items let me have it both ways: realistic and optimistic. I could pretend that I knew it wasn’t going to happen, that I was just too busy/lazy to sell them, while also keeping them around “just in case.” I could envision them growing increasingly dusty while also picturing placing our infant in them.
It kept me as the infertility version of Schrödinger’s feline. As long as the stroller was in the garage, I was both permanently childless and potentially expecting. The only way to finalize my state was to open the box. Or in this case, the garage.
So I handed over the cloths — a family friend’s hopes and well-wishes — to a perfect stranger.
I tell myself (and very nearly believe) that it’s better to have the money. That it’s better to move on. That the prudent thing is to make more empty space in the garage, even if that comes with an empty space in my heart.