The question of practicality.....

Lately, with my ever-growing belly, announcement of the completion of our baby registry, planning baby showers for this summer, and my very public "coming to grips" posts on storage containers and such....I knew I'd face questions. Recently, the question of practicality came up.

Someone asked if it was entirely practical that we have decided not to use any of Ayden's things for Collen just because those things are Ayden's. Why wouldn't we want Collen to share a connection with is brother by wearing his clothes, playing with his toys, using his stroller and carseat. Lastly, that it is important that we remember the life that is here on earth, which is Collen.

First, I'd like to say: while the comment kind of stung, especially the last part because every day we remember Collen - and his brother - at the same time. I don't know about most of you, but grieving the loss of a child while pregnant with another is not an easy thing to do, nor is it natural. We find joy in Collen but sorrow in our loss - and his - he will feel a since of loss as he grows older, too. So, trying to balance all of that - not an easy task. Anyway, this question/comment is someone's opinion....and I in no way devalue another's opinions. However, the beautiful thing about opinions is - I don't have to fully agree.

So, while I completely understand where this person is coming from, I cannot say that I hold the same outlook.

Second, I'm not under the delusion that this person is the only person to ask this question. I'm sure many have wondered the same thing. The only difference is, you didn't say it "out loud."

So, if you've thought it, pondered it, wondered aloud with others.....

To answer the question simply........we just can't. But since I never do anything simply, I'll elaborate for you:

To address practicality, we are re-using the following:

1. Some shoes
2. Furniture
3. Some toys
4. Some bedding
5. Playmats
6. Bouncy seats/papisan chairs
7. Bottles
8. Other miscellaneous items

So, you see, we are going to re-use quite a bit of the items that were meant for Ayden. These things I can face. These I can watch Collen use and enjoy and be content knowing that he has a connection with his brother through these things. I had actually gotten myself to the point of being okay with using the clothing Ayden never wore; however, the seasons don't match up. I can't put my 6 month old in short sleeve onesies on a 32 degree winter day. So, common sense won out there, and I had to register for clothes that would fit the seasons Collen would wear them in.

Now to the other side. The things we can't bring ourselves to re-use:

1. Blankets Ayden used
2. Clothes Ayden wore
3. Shoes Ayden wore
4. Toys that were very special to Ayden - his favorites and ours - the ones we picked out just for him
5. Ayden's bathtub
6. The stroller and carseat

Why can't we use these things? It should be obvious. Each one holds such a strong connection to Ayden. If Ayden was still here, this wouldn't be such an issue. I'd be happy to watch Collen use his big brother's things and for Ayden to see his little brother enjoy his things. But, Ayden isn't here. And each time I see the things listed above, that's all I see - He isn't here to use those blankets, wear those clothes, use that bathtub, ride in that stroller. They were all bought, meant, and used for Ayden. And each time I look at them, my heart breaks all over again.

So, yes, it would be practical, but my question is - would anyone else put themselves through voluntary anguish for the sake of practicality? Maybe some people can, but I certainly can't. When I'm out in public and see another couple with the same stroller we used for Ayden, I still turn and walk the other way. When I see that same blue and green bathtub - all I see is Ayden.

How fair is that to Collen?

Jeremy and I agree very strongly that we want Collen to be his own person. Now, I realize that he could still be his own person wearing his brother's hand-me-downs. However, as I said earlier, this isn't the typical "big-brother-gets-older-and-outgrows-his-clothes-so-we-pass-them-down" situation. If we were to put Collen in one of our favorite of Ayden's outfits, how fair would that be to him? to us? Not fair at all. All we would see would be Ayden, and all we would have is the painful reminder that Collen's big brother isn't here. We're reminded of it enough every day.....this would just be added pain. And it isn't fair to Collen for his parents to be saddened by the sight of him in his brother's clothes for the sake of practicality. So, we see it as us definitely remembering/considering the life we have here in Collen - by not rehashing and reopening old wounds for the sake of him using things that belonged to his brother. We'd like to keep him out of therapy if possible....(was that bad timing for that little joke? My humor is sometimes off....)

I have another answer to this question, and it's a very simple answer to why I feel the need to preserve the things that were meant for Ayden:

Because it's all we have left of him. Ayden isn't coming back to us here on this earth. I'm not going to see that little face, those bright blue eyes, those long fingers and toes, or that sweet, sweet smile for a very long time. So, why do I feel the need to cling to every little thing that was his? It's all that's left. So, maybe I'm being selfish, maybe I'm being impractical, but to me, I'm preserving my 4 months with my baby boy by preserving the things that were solely his and meant to be his. And I think that's answer enough for anyone.

Only until you've been where we are can you understand just how difficult the sight of a kelly green, 3-month old romper, with a monkey on it is for us. Every piece of clothing, every toy, every blanket is linked to a memory of Ayden. A memory we don't want to lose. A memory we want to be just ours and his.

So, while it may not seem like the dictionary definition of practical to pack away these things and never use them again - for us as grieving parents who are just trying to move forward with our 2nd child....with the constant reminder of the child who is no longer here....this is completely practical to us.


I kindly ask that you please not comment with anything unkind to the person who sparked this post. Again, it was a question - and their opinion. My students will be the first to tell you that the one thing I welcome is differing opinions because it means we're all individuals with our own beliefs. That's how we learn from each other. And what works for one may not work for the other. That's just how it goes. I am not in any way upset with this person - not at all. So, if I'm not upset, you certainly shouldn't be. Thanks for the question and the boldness with which you asked. It's a legitimate question, and it allowed me to really think about the reasons behind our actions. We feel that we're making the best choice for us in this situation, and that's what matters most.