Motherhood/ Pregnancy & Birth

Letting Go is Easy, Moving On is Hard

I had a garage sale the other weekend.

I got rid of every single piece of baby gear in my house.

I kept all Penelope’s special wooden toys and all her clothes (I am talking 7 full bins worth) but all the gear, the crib, the highchair, the rocking chair, after the garage sale, the whole nine yards is gone.

I needed it out of my house. I couldn’t look at it anymore. Like I mentioned in this post, I feel like the state of your house directly correlates to your mental state. So whenever I am needing balance or a fresh start, I clear out the clutter.

After the garage sale, I had the courage to give away her clothes too. I kept two full bins of my favorite outfits and every single one of her pajamas. I think I am going to make a quilt with the pajamas and then just keep all my favorite outfits, maybe Penelope’s daughter will wear them one day.

Suitcase business suitcase Pull rod case

I also like to think of it as cleaning out the suitcase that I carry around with me everywhere. We all carry around our “baggage” and it is up to us to decide when we want to stop lugging it around or at least lighten the load.

During this process many  people asked me if I was done having kids. I politely gave my answers, but I know it is not up to me. I don’t get to pick and choose how many children I will have. It’s completely in God’s hands. I do know that I would be fulfilled and feel complete with one child.

I do know that getting rid of my baby stuff does not mean I won’t have anymore babies. It just means I don’t want all that stuff cluttering up my house. Who knows  if I will even have another child or how long it will be before I have another child. Or if we adopt, that the child would even be a baby. So why store a crib for 10 years, when a family who needs it, could use it now?

The garage sale was not too hard, nor too easy. I sold 80% of my stuff to friends, so I felt good knowing everything was going to be appreciated and well used. And her baby clothes went to the daughter of my high school sweetheart.

But several times I got teary eyed as I watched someone walk away with something. And I was a sobbing mess when I was going through her clothes picking out the ones I would save.

I had wine on hand for those moments at the garage sale and just poured myself another drink each time I felt like crying. I was pretty tipsy by the end of the night!

But over the next week, I realized that the letting go part is easy.  I can let go all the dreams and hopes I had for how my life would have been like with two little ones underfoot at the same time.

Moving on, the starting of new dreams and new plans, is the hard part. Honestly, I am still trying to figure it out. My ecookbook that comes out tomorrow has actually been very therapeutic. I would not have been able to produce it in such a short time, had I been pregnant. I was able to throw myself into it and utilize my creative energy in a different way. So much is shifting and changing for me,   I am interested to see what moving on will look like for me.

How do you let go and move on?

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  • sarah
    May 1, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Great post!
    Since we are expecting our first right now, I’m in the process of letting go of some of my “old” self, and it has been somewhat hard, but very fulfilling. I’ve got a huge pile of stuff in my living room right now waiting to go to Goodwill and that feels good, but it has been a bit grueling, going through some of the things I’ve kept (but don’t need) that remind me of college or high school or other times gone by. If I weren’t pregnant I would totally try your wine technique 🙂

    • Stephanie
      May 1, 2012 at 7:32 PM

      Good for you! Most moms don’t realize that the old self is gone until the baby has arrived.

  • elizabeth
    May 1, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    great post! i have to chide you just a *wee* bit though for making me tear up at 8:45 in the morning thinking about giving away my biscuit’s baby things, which are currently accumulating in a closet that is more and more precarious to open as each month passes. le sigh.

    • Stephanie
      May 1, 2012 at 7:32 PM

      LOL, sorry to make you tear up so early in the morning!

  • Amber
    May 1, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    I struggle with the idea of saving my son’s things. He’s three and we do hope to adopt again, but aren’t planning on starting the process anytime soon. Will all the stuff be outdated (expiration dates) and unusable? And who says I’m going to have another boy who fits into his age clothes. Thanks for the encouragement to declutter!

    • Stephanie
      May 1, 2012 at 7:34 PM

      That was part of my thinking too. I will probably want or need all new stuff if we do have a baby down the line. A big thing that helped me let go, was knowing that just because I was letting the stuff go did not mean I wasn’t going to have a baby in the future. Keeping the baby stuff in my house does not guarantee me anything.

  • Kendra
    May 1, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Good for you! You are doing things to help yourself instead of feel sorry for yourself. Even if you do need a few swigs of wine to help you through, you are human afterall! I admire everything that you are doing every single day to help yourself heal from this hard time. I’m sure you have days that are better than others but I can sense your strong desire to not let this break your spirit. Penelope is a lucky girl to have such a strong mother. As always, thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. You have a special gift.

    • Stephanie
      May 1, 2012 at 7:34 PM

      Thanks for your sweet comment, I so appreciate it.

  • Karen
    May 1, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    We struggled for six years to have Ian, and although I want to hang on to all of his baby-day memories, I had to do the same. I haven’t gotten to the selling or giving away part, but I did put everything up in the attic so it isn’t in the actual house. Maybe one day we might be blessed with another baby, but I felt like leaving it all out was like living with an open ended question. And after everything we went through, that was really tough to do. Hugs as you let go and move on. You’re an inspiration!

  • Sandy H
    May 1, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    I’ve actually had to sort of do both emptying and filling in both my house and my life. I have had a really hard time letting go of and getting rid of things that belonged to my parents I ended up with after they died. At the same time, we had plans to keep the room we expected to be a baby’s room empty “so it would be ready” but since it doesn’t look like I’m going to have a baby anytime soon (like you said, I know it’s up to God) I decided to make that into my study/meditation room. In setting that up I’ve been unpacking boxes that have been packed since before I got married 3 years ago, and in that process have started to get rid of a lot of things. Still, it’s a work in progress!

    • Stephanie
      May 1, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      So jealous you will have a meditation room. My dream is to have my very own yoga/meditation room. One day!

  • Maureen
    May 2, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    Steph, you are such a great Mama, and P is so lucky to have you for a mama… I would have a thousand kids if it was in “my” plan… And, my thoughts on selling/giving away lots of P’s stuff-I clung on to EVERYTHING from Avery, to Claire, down to Nora, but I was blessed with three girls in a fairly short period of time… Keep your favorites, but when you have your next baby, it’s okay to spoil that one with their own things, too. He or she will have a piece of P, and will share all the same. I think it is hard for us to purge and cleanse lots of these things b/c of this hope and memory we hold on to…. but in the end, it is just stuff, and we have what we need after the purge, and feel better for it… and really, is obtaining whether through purchase or gift things we already had for our first child so bad?? I don’t see why doing away with things your children currently do not use automatically means there is no plan or hope or desire for another… that choice is not something we make ultimately. It is a very hard to release things that hold dear and strong memories, but in doing so, there is more room for more. Hugs to a hard time, but congrats for having the courage. xoxo

    • Stephanie
      May 2, 2012 at 1:50 AM

      Thanks Maureen. 🙂

  • Kaci Willis
    May 2, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    I’m new to your website and I just have to tell you that I feel blessed to have found you. I love reading your posts and I am super excited for your ecookbook to come out. After reading today’s entry, you gave me the idea to have a quilt made out of my daughter, Kynslei’s, pajamas! Not only are/were they her jammies, but they were also my 3 older niece’s jammies as well! Hand-me-downs are a blessing. Our daughter is 2 and I have been given all of my sister’s girls’ clothes, saving my husband and I a lot of money and time. My mother is thinking of retiring soon and she loves to sew. I think this project will be wonderful for her to do and they’ll certainly be enough material to supply each girl with a quilt!
    You are truly amazing and I look forward to learning/reading more about you!

    • Stephanie
      May 2, 2012 at 2:40 PM

      You are so sweet. You just made my day. Thank you!

  • Andrea W
    May 6, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    Stephanie, letting go of ‘things’ is a running joke in our house. I hoard my children’s baby clothes and toys, my husband hoards tools. LOL Each of us thinks the other is nuts, but in a good way. Mind you, my children are now 18 and 13, so I recently let go of several tubs of baby clothes and it felt SO freeing. I kept several favorite items, but donated the rest, because God knows, someone could use them. And I LOVE the quilt idea. My mother gave me a quilt of my baby clothes a few years back – see where I get the baby clothes hoarding from? 🙂 She also recently made a quilt for my 16 year old nephew of his baseball jerseys and camps he’s attended. What a treasure these things are for each of us!

    When I got divorced many years ago, my ex took much of the furniture. My relatives were shocked I didn’t fight for more. I told them, “It’s just stuff, STUFF!” I got the valuable ‘things’ – my happiness, my spirit and my children were in a happy home. It’s just STUFF. I feel for those who equate ‘stuff’ with happiness, and I know plenty of people who do!

    And wine is wonderful! I pray that whatever your future holds, it’s pure happiness! I really enjoy reading your blog.

    • Stephanie
      May 6, 2012 at 7:06 PM

      Well, that makes me feel better! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Dominique
    May 6, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    I totally can relate to this post. A month or so ago I went through a clearing clutter cleanse! I went through a cancer reoccurance scare. About after a month of feeling overwhelmed and mentally cluttered I notice my home looked how I mentally felt. After focusing on connecting the outside to the in and what I could control I felt much better!

  • Danielle W.
    May 7, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    I have a 10 month old little girl named Penelope (with the blondest hair and bluest eyes!) We decided to have another baby when I was preparing for a yard sale and my husband found me sobbing over my then, 7 year old’s baby clothes. Now we are done 🙂 Yard sale is in May (for the stuff we are done with!)