No matter when your loss was, you probably have at least a few things for your baby.
Some of us had a lot of things.
It can be emotional trying to decide what to do with them, and then even more so when we actually try to do it.
I’ve been decluttering in the new year, and I wanted to share a bit of my story and some things I have learned in the last 7 years.
We also talk about managing your mind around these baby items.
You can do this, momma.
If you have any questions, let me know here:
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Music provided by ZingDog / Pond5
Hi. Welcome to episode 16. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have been organizing a lot in the new year. It wasn’t really a goal that I made, but I have had a lot of projects on the back burner for the last year or so, and it’s feeling really great. Checking some things off the list that’s been bugging me.
So if you aren’t following me on Instagram, Why not? I post all about our podcast topics and I add extra to what you hear here. You can find me at amy dot Smooth Stones Coaching. Well, my youngest is getting so big, it was time to get rid of a few things. I’ve been pretty good about letting go of baby stuff because we know he’s our last.
And because I have the cutest friend with the baby just younger than him, so I have the perfect place to pass all of his clothes. But this week it was the pack and play and the crib. This crib we bought and set up for Lauren. So I want you guys to picture me. I was very, very pregnant. I. I was very close to my due date.
I was at least nine months pregnant. We ordered it online. My husband was outta town, and I am sitting there assembling this crib. I am pretty good at building things, right? Like I can do the ikea, I can do all of it. I don’t know if it was the instructions or what, but I feel like I put half the pieces on backwards and then had to take it apart, put it back together.
And by the time it was done, I totally realized how it worked. But I just remember being really big and really frustrated. It turned out really cute and. Then that crib sat empty for a year until we had another living child. And I can remember wiping the dust off of it every once in a while and wondering if we would ever use it again.
And now my two rainbow babies have slept in it and bounced in it and chewed on it. You guys, I have had things for babies in my house for almost 17 years. It’s been on pretty constant rotation, but it’s time to let some of these things go. For me, it’s feeling okay. I have really come to peace with our family being complete and finally moving into a new stage of life.
One more, hopefully soon I will change my last diaper if I am willing to feel all the feelings that come with potty training, which I’m not sure I’m quite ready for. I’ve kind of been putting it off. But I actually get a bit excited because storing all these baby things has taken up a lot of room for a really long time, but it wasn’t very long ago that I was super emotional and conflicted about it.
When I thought about getting rid of stuff, I would actually burst into tears, and I am not really a crier. What about you? Are you getting that New Year’s organizing bug? But you’re really not sure what to do with your baby items. Or maybe you’re farther down the road and you’ve already let go of a lot, or you might have gotten rid of things and now you wished you hadn’t.
If you fit any of those categories or you’re anywhere in between, then this episode is gonna be for you. Now, I’m coming at this from having a full-term stillbirth with previous living children, so I. Did have a whole nursery full of stuff. If your miscarriage was earlier or you didn’t really have anything yet, that’s okay.
These lessons are still gonna apply to other things that you might be decluttering or maybe in the future when you have to go through some things that have a little more emotional attachment to them. So we’re gonna talk about how to make decisions and how to manage your thoughts around your choices.
And I’m also gonna give you a few practical tips that have helped me with dealing with all this baby and kid stuff. If you think you might need some help making decisions about what to do with your baby things, definitely check out the link in the show notes, and I will walk through this process with you.
I’m just gonna touch on a few things in this episode. But coaching one-on-one, I will be able to help you with all your specific questions and stick with you step by step until we get the job done. Alright? The first thing I want you to know is that there is no timeline for this. There is no rush. In fact, I would say it’s the opposite.
I wouldn’t recommend making decisions while you are. Very fresh in grief because it can just be so much more difficult and often we’re so highly emotional that we do things we may regret later. Of course, you know that we don’t have to create regret for ourselves ever, but taking a minute often allows us to make clearer decisions.
Now, if this happened to you, it’s okay if you threw out all the things in a mess of tears and anger be kind to you. You did the best you could at the time. Beating yourself up now serves no purpose. It’s okay to stop doing that. I am giving you permission right now. If you got rid of stuff on purpose or by accident, it’s okay.
Or if someone else got rid of things without your permission, they probably thought they were helping If this happened to you. I am so sorry. Now you have the option to forgive and let go. Stop blaming them and heal that wound. You can’t go back and get the stuff, but you can choose love now and you’re the one that gets to feel that love.
Sometimes we make it mean something that we still haven’t touched the nursery or we are hanging onto a box of things we made up for the pregnancy announcement. Maybe you still have the peed on pregnancy test in a bag in the back of your closet. So what? Why is that a problem? Is it kind of gross? Yep. Is it the only physical thing you have left of your baby and you wanna keep it, then keep it.
You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, and you don’t have to make it mean anything about you or how you’re doing in your grief. And you especially need to have your back. If other people have opinions about this stuff. Don’t ever forget this. What other people think is none of your business.
Even if they keep telling you their opinion, we cannot control other people’s emotions. They create their own emotions with their thinking. Maybe the empty nursery bothers them. Maybe they think you should have put things away by now. Or that you have basically built an unhealthy shrine to your baby in the living room and it’s not okay, or they don’t wanna look at the memory box, or maybe they just want the space back.
They want the room back for more practical reasons. That’s okay. You can consider their input and still have your own back. You can drop all the thoughts about their words. Ask yourself what feels most like love. Love for you, love for baby, and love for the most important people in your life, and then be confident in your reasons.
If you like why you have made your decision, just own it. Let me tell you a little story about what I did after Lauren died. We had the entire nursery ready clothes wash, car seat in the car, diapers, baby wash, all of it. All of it was ready. And when we came home from the hospital with nothing, I didn’t really know what to do.
We kind of closed the door on the nursery and just left it. But a few weeks in, I had some things that I just thought, I don’t really need these things. And looking at them was, Really causing me a lot of pain. I decided that I would rather return the diapers and the beanies and get rid of some of those things that I knew wouldn’t last, that I didn’t wanna keep for a long time, even though I thought we would hopefully have another baby.
Um, I knew I wasn’t gonna wanna keep. Those things so long. I went to Walmart. Now our nearest Walmart was an hour away at that time, and I had all these packs of newborn diapers and had some packs of IES that were unopened and a few other things, and it added up to quite a little bit of money, and so I decided to return it.
Well, I got to Walmart and I went to the returns counter. I said I wanted to return the things, and of course the girl there tells me that they can’t return diapers. They can only exchange them for a different size. And so there I am, maybe two or three weeks after Lauren had died, telling this girl that the reason we needed to return them was because she had died and she just stopped and she said, let me go get my manager.
The manager came. She put the right code into the register and they let me return those diapers and gave me my money back, and I just remember that being one of the hardest things, just standing there trying not to cry. And looking back, I definitely, probably should have waited longer, but like I said, I, I just felt like I didn’t wanna look at them anymore.
That seemed like a great idea at the time, but it was really tough and I had the baby soap. I wasn’t gonna return that to the store, but I took it to a friend of mine who was pregnant and gave it to her, and that was also pretty difficult. Um, sitting there and talking to her with her cute pregnant belly and just.
Still kind of being in shock, but I knew that she could use it and that’s why I decided to give that to her. The baby soap, the baby lotion, um, some of the things like that. And then there was everything else. So like I said, the crib we left in the room, everything was pretty much decorated. I had some blankets that.
People had made and clothes that still had tags on them. I had a lot of clothes, um, hand-me-down clothes for my other kids that were just sitting there. And a lot of that stuff, I just left it there. I just left it in the room and I didn’t do anything with it. And I think that was also the right decision because we didn’t know if we were having another baby.
We didn’t know if we’d be having a girl. And eventually when we did find out we were having our first boy, then I had to decide what did I wanna do with all those pink things again. Some of it I kept and some of it, there was another girl that was in church with us and she was really young. She was having her first baby, and I felt like I was ready to pass on some of those things to her.
And so she did come and go through some of the bins of baby things and took what she needed. And that was a little bit emotional, but enough time had passed. And to me that was a great decision, was to let it go to a young couple that really could use them because I wasn’t using them. And so I like those reasons.
And as the years have passed, that’s what I’ve always done is just found some way. To pass on things that other people could use, but also keep things that were really important to me. So for you, I want you to remember that the things are not your baby. Getting rid of something that doesn’t work in your life right now doesn’t have to mean anything about your relationship with your baby.
Okay? Those are totally separate things. Whether or not you keep it doesn’t mean anything about that relationship. It might be emotional, deciding to get rid of some things. That’s okay. Nothing has gone wrong. If you have lots of feelings during this process, just allow them to be there. So these are some of my tips that I have for dealing with your baby things.
First, decide, do you want some help or do you wanna be alone? Sometimes having another person there can be really helpful, but make sure it’s someone that you want there. And if you have people close to you who may want some of this stuff, be sure to let them know about your decisions. I personally like to ask permission if, if I decide to let go of something I was given, like my mother-in-law had made some receiving blankets and I had a lot of them.
I decided I wanted to give them again to someone who could use them rather than them just sitting in a bin. But since she had made them for her grandchildren, I just wanted to check in with her before I got rid of them and pass them on. Now that being said, ultimately these decisions are up to you.
Don’t get caught up in trying to manage other people’s emotions. And it’s okay if someone is upset with your decision. You just need to do what works for you. Now we want to create some categories like keep, donate and toss. So some of the stuff you’re gonna wanna keep forever, other stuff you might be able to give to other people that can use it.
And then other things might just need to go. Like I said, with the pregnancy test, or for example, I had saved some flowers from Lawrence Casket, and at this point this many years later, they’re basically brown dust, and although those meant a lot to me, it’s okay to get rid of them now because there’s really no way to keep them intact.
If there’s stuff that you wanna get rid of, but it really is important, you can take pictures of it and then make a photo book. I did that, um, with a lot of my things. I kind of laid out the things we had gotten for Lauren and I took pictures of it and put it in a photo book. If you have things like ultrasound pictures, Remember that that paper will not last forever.
It’s gonna turn brown and it’s gonna fade away. So definitely with ultrasound pictures, you want to scan them, copy them, do whatever you can to preserve those because they will not last forever on that heat paper. Another thing you can do is if you have a lot of things, maybe just keep one thing. Instead of having the whole collection or an entire wardrobe, just pick out a few things that mean the most to you, and then you can let the rest of it go.
When we had Lauren’s funeral, it was right before Easter, so we were able to send my mother-in-law over to Costco. If you shop at Costco, you know around Easter, they have the cutest dresses, and at that time, my girls. All matched and we were able to get the matching little blue and green Easter dresses that were so adorable.
Well, those were passed down as they’ve outgrown them, but every time they wore them, I would always be reminded like that’s what they wore to Lawrence Funeral. And once they had outgrown them all and I had passed on, A few of them, but that last one, I thought I should donate this, and then I thought, no, I wanna keep this one.
So I do have that one, and I don’t have to have all four. I just can have one. And it’s still a reminder of those dresses and the funeral and that time in our life. Another great thing to do is set an amount of space and things you wanna keep, and then don’t go over it. So depending on how big your storage space is or how you wanna do it, decide that you’re gonna keep one tote full of stuff, or one closet shelf, or one box, whatever it is.
That’s the space you have and then keep that amount of things. I have one toe for my special things for Lauren. If you’re planning on having another baby, then definitely keep whatever you want that you’re gonna use. Again, there’s no rush to get rid of anything. I don’t want you guys to think that, but this is kind of talking about if you do have things you want to declutter, Another thing to remember is to have an abundant mindset about it, and that just means trust that you can get another one if you need it.
So if you have baby clothes and you don’t know if you’re having another baby and you don’t have space to store it, you can let go of those things and trust that you’ll be able to get more. That there’s many ways that. Those will come back into your life. Maybe not those specific ones, but trust that if you have another baby, you’ll be able to provide everything that baby needs, and you don’t necessarily have to keep those specific baby clothes.
Something that really helped me was finding someone who needed the things and giving it to them. For some people, it really might bother you if another baby is wearing those clothes that your baby didn’t get to wear. So if that’s the case, definitely get rid of it in a way that you feel comfortable with.
Maybe taking it to a charity or giving it to a middleman, somebody who can go and donate it and you don’t even have to know about it. Just figure out what works for you. And go with that. As you’re going through this process, use the tips that I taught you in episode 14 on setting goals. So give yourself a deadline again if, if this is something you really want to do, right, there is no rush.
But if you are ready to do it, give yourself. A deadline and then anticipate those obstacles that are gonna come up. And a lot of that is just in our mind, like procrastination or being afraid of how emotional it will be, or all of the things that are gonna come up when you deal with this, it can get overwhelming.
So that is an obstacle. So how are you going to create strategies to overcome those obstacles? And something that’s really helpful. Like I said, having someone else there, setting a time and a date where you’re gonna do it, that can help with a lot of those obstacles. And then again, just let yourself feel those emotions.
It’s okay to feel sad and to grieve what you didn’t get to do with those clothes or that car seat or that crib. It’s totally normal, so let yourself grieve it. Also know that you are strong enough to do what needs to be done if you’re ready to do it, but just be gentle with yourself all along the way.
This is a process. I am almost seven years down the road and I’m still dealing with some of these things. It’s okay. The last thing I want to leave you with is to remember that there are no wrong decisions. We often get paralyzed when we want to do exactly the right thing. But a good question to ask yourself while you’re going through this process is, if I could feel at peace with any decision, what would I want to do?
Whether you keep it all forever or you let most of it go, you can create whatever experience you want. All right? That’s all I’ve got for you guys today. I wish you all the best in your New Year’s decluttering and in making decisions with any baby things that you might have. Just remember, it’s gonna be okay and you can do it.
I’m sending you all my love, and I hope you have a wonderful day. I will talk to you soon.