Monday, May 16, 2011

Taboo Clothing

I have quite a few pieces of clothing in my closet that have sort of been off-limits since Andrew died. I was able to wear lots of non-pregnancy shirts until the cooler months rolled around. I can vividly remember places I wore many of these shirts and the gorgeous baby belly that protruded in front of me as I walked proudly. Now that all is in vain, I have been having a hard time even putting them on. It's almost like I've associated them as strictly pregnancy gear. Not only pregnancy, but Andrew. They're sacred, much like his photos.

I try them on and just don't feel right about them. And like a song takes you back to a place and time in your life, clothes also act as a memory stamp. I wore a shirt today I hadn't worn since before Andrew was conceived/died. That means it's been well over a year since I wore that shirt. I thought about it all day. That shirt was worn for a few years before Andrew-- all blissful years of my existence. Now, it hugs my belly just a little more. As we all know, the mom belly may go down, but it never officially goes away. I'm pleased with how I've slimmed down, but learning the new anatomy of the mom body, just after eating a meal, the belly makes itself known with a bit more prominence than the pre-Andrew body allowed. Speaking of belly... that linea nigra is sticking around.

Although some clothes send me into another {life} time, others are just fine. The yoga pants I wore to deliver Andrew are worn at least a few times weekly and I have no problem or real association with them. As a matter of fact, I hadn't even thought about that until the moment I wrote this.

While I'm on the topic of time... here's something that just came to mind. I would often look at date stamps of food expirations or "sell by" dates and compare them to Andrew's gestational age before tragedy struck:

"This box of brownies will be around when Andrew gets here because it doesn't expire until (insert post December 2010 date)!"

A friend of mine left some baby food in my cupboard when she came to visit with her 7-month old while I was about 8 months pregnant. We both realized the food would still be good by the time Andrew was just starting to eat solids! Yeah, he would have been introduced to solids by now. Baby food made in our incredible blender (on the list of my top favorite things we own, for sure).

Now when I see December 2010 dates stamped on items or in places, I just cringe. I was sub teaching in third grade the other day and was looking back into their journal entries. I saw entries from November and quickly shot back in time to being so happy. Then, I saw journal entries from December after we had Andrew. Those pages almost turned to gray right before my eyes. That's sort of how life has been ever since.

Much like we all remember where we were when serious tragedies like September 11 occurred. I'll never forget those dates as long as I live. Now when I see dates in places that run close to our very own D-Day, I can't help but re-live those images in my head.

It's like there are two lives I've lived. Pre-Andrew, and post-Andrew. While most parents would say the same, I'd argue that we can't quite compare notes on this one. Their lives were likely (in relation to bearing children) blissful before and after, but with variations of happiness. Hope was still alive. My life before and after are two completely different realms, like entering the closet in The Magician's Nephew. But only, this isn't fantasy land and this isn't a children's fiction novel. It's my real life with all the glamour. Hah.

I hope I can get over this clothing aversion, though. It's really cramping my ability to plan outfits with a closet-full of clothes that I feel should be framed rather than worn.


LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

I remember the date stamping vividly, I still do it. "December 2012- will I have a baby by then?"


The Writer Chic said... [Reply to comment]

Oh, Brandy, you are not alone in this. Hang in there, girl.

Keleen said... [Reply to comment]

Hmmm I didn't even realize I was doing all those things until I read this post...weird! I have non-pregnancy clothes that I wore while pregnant and every time I wear them I think of my Addi belly. I have often thought about not wearing them, but still do because I can't justify not. Makes me wonder if I will be able to wear any of it for a second pregnancy! I too have baby food on my shelves from my baby will certainly be expired by the time baby no. 2 comes around and yet I can't bring myslef to throw it away. Glad I'm not the only one who thinks these thoughts :)

Shell said... [Reply to comment]

So relating to your post. Since I've been back to work I've had to look at clothes a little more closely and wearing things that I had not worn in quite some time. Let's not even talk about that linea nigra which never really showed much during my pregnancy and now it is still with me. I was just looking at it today in the mirror. I shouldn't say I don't like it b/c having it makes me feel like I still have a part of my little girl with me which I am sure sounds crazy or weird. Anyways I like your writing and glad to know I am not the only one having these feelings and thoughts.

Delaney the Undead said... [Reply to comment]

My heart truly goes out to you and your husband. I found this blog randomly while searching for something different on google. I found myself reading and unable to control my tears. I myself have never had a stillbirth, but I experienced a misscarriage. It was the hardest thing I have ever been through. I imagine it is close to how you felt, I felt so helpless and unable to save the child inside of my body. I now have a beautiful almost 4 year old son, but the memory of my first little angel will never go away. I am from naperville Illinois...I wonder if we are 'burb neighbors? I will continue to read your blog, and I will keep you in my prayers.