Archive for May, 2011

Letting Go of Clara

This weekend I gave my mother-in-law a gift bag of clothes I had been avoiding for the four and a half months since Milkboy was born.  These were the girl clothes I had bought or been given for my baby Clara.

Somehow I had always thought I would have two children, a boy and a girl.  From early in our marriage my husband and I had picked out the names:.  Carboy’s name came from my husband’s side, and Clara was my paternal grandmother’s name, with Ellen being my middle name as well as my mother’s and her aunt’s middle name. When the ultrasound tech told us that our second baby was a girl, we joked that it was a good thing, since we didn’t have any boy names picked out.

On December 14, I lay stretched out on the operating table, tired and frustrated after attempting my VBAC.  I was just *done* and wanted to get the c-section over with so I could hold my baby girl.  So when the doctor said “Here’s baby’s head, here’s baby’s shoulder, it’s a boy!” I was so stunned and confused it took me a while to process what she was saying. We sat there and tried to come up with names, finally settling on a family name in my husband’s father’s family, and a middle name which was close to “Clara” and turned out to be a name of a past relative for both my mother and father.

We scrambled to adjust, tossing out the baby book we had begun for “Clara,” sending the baby’s Godmother to the store to buy a new going-home outfit, and telling Carboy that his little sister wasn’t going to be there and he got a baby brother instead. When I got home from the hospital I gathered up all the baby clothes and put them in one of the gift bags and hung it on a peg in the basement staircase.

In the four and a half months since then, I have grown to love Milkboy more and more every day, but all this time I would glance at that bag of clothes and grieve a little for my baby Clara who would never be in my life.  Having two boys is wonderful, and I can already see the bond they will share throughout their lifetime.  But I will never have that chance to dress my baby in silly dresses with frills, put bows on her head, watch her grow into a little girl and a young woman, and see her pregnant with her own baby some day.

But this last weekend I added that bag of clothes to a bunch of newborn clothes to give to my brother-in-law and his wife who are expecting their first child in September.  I’m not sure what changed, but it seemed like it was time to let go of Clara’s clothes.  We don’t know if their baby is going to be a girl or a boy, and they are not finding out, so at least this time there won’t be any chance of error.

I would love to have a baby girl, but I would never change a hair on Milkboy’s head or a Y chromosome in his DNA .  He is a sweet baby boy, who I love with all my heart, so I am letting go of Clara and accepting that Milkboy is the child I was meant to mother.

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