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The Secret Baby Stash

16w5d – Maybe it lives in the bottom of a drawer, or in the reaches of a closet barely anyone opens. Or perhaps it takes over an under-bed storage container, or—kind of genius—the trunk of your car. Wherever you store your secret baby stash, I’m guessing that it’s just you who knows of it.

(Unless you tell me all about it here. Which will be our little secret.)

You know what I’m talking about: The collection of baby things you amassed way, way before you ever even procured an E-Z Results test. Or the luxury belly balms you splurged on months before they were warranted, or the infant and toddler stuff you eyed your friend boxing up to be brought to the Goodwill, which you squirreled away with a wink and an appreciative nod. A set of striped footie pajamas. A wooden rattle in the shape of a hedgehog. The story your own babysitter read to you growing up that was just on sale as a chunky board book and, let’s be honest, it was too cheap to ignore. A sateen blanket with giraffes on it, and you don’t even like giraffes but ho-boy, did you see those grins? And those ears??

It’s not like we’re ashamed of this stuff (although, yes, the baby is still the size of an avocado and no, it won’t be able to appreciate that retro circus poster you scored on Ebay for many, many moons). But we don’t talk about these secret stashes openly, either. Until your bestest veteran mom friend confides that while pregnant with her first son she not only *bought* a Doppler online without telling her husband, but that she also used to lock herself alone in the bathroom to use it while laying in an empty soaking tub, hoping the whoosh-whoosh-whoosh was audible enough to make out but not so loud that it would bounce off the tile and give up the jig. Which gives you clearance to admit you might have bought an infant Halloween costume on clearance several weeks earlier, but that having done so makes you worried you might have somehow placed a marble unfavorably on the scale-of-awful-pregnancy-things-that-could-happen—but also that there is something about knowing you own a baby spider get-up that makes this whole parenting concept more real, more attainable. And man, if that isn’t refreshing.

I spent some time with my own baby stash this weekend, which I began in earnest nearly two years ago just as The Mister and I were beginning to think about thinking about conceiving. However, my first furtive baby-some-day purchase was when I was 18, visiting New York for my high school senior trip: At the Pop Shop in SoHo, I picked up an infant t-shirt with one of Keith Haring’s Radiant Babies screenprinted on the front. (Little did I know that the store would shutter some months afterwards—and that more than 10 years later, I’d still be stashing my souvenir in basement Rubbermaid containers, awaiting my own radiant child.)

My baby stash now lives in a vintage suitcase I’d originally bought for our wedding several years ago, something that had held candy favors at our reception and then lay empty until my first pregnancy 14 months ago. Over the first few weeks of that first trimester, I packed the Radiant Baby t-shirt in it and…

  • a three-pack of teeny, cotton jewel-toned infant hats
  • a vibrant but incredibly ugly bear toy made from fabric yo-yos I apparently thought was just re-mark-able for about two minutes
  • the geometric mobile that hung over my college desk
  • a pastel rubber bath duck from a press event (huh?)
  • a swaddling blanket with some generic baby print that made me sob without reason in some discount store
  • a pair of cute nursing pajamas that mistakenly made their way to me—really!—in an online shipment of other clothes

Let’s not try to make sense of this motley collection, shall we? What I will say is that when I lost that first pregnancy about nine weeks in, I latched the suitcase, shelved it back in the basement, and did not touch it at all during my second brief pregnancy. And only yesterday have I dared peer into it again.

This weekend marked exactly one year since we lost that first pregnancy. My feelings about this are big and messy and unruly, nothing I’ve been able to cuff into submission, let alone analysis. (Though I don’t know that I’ll ever know how to properly revere my losses while simultaneously parsing out for this impending baby the elation it deserves.) But suffice to say that spending time with that suitcase full of hope these past few days has helped me feel more at ease with where I am, and for those little discoveries I am immensely grateful. And maybe that’s the point of having a secret baby stash in the first place.

But enough about my stash: What’s in yours?

 

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