The Tangerine Blouse

I am sitting on the floor in my closet, staring at several boxes of maternity clothes.

Antique Daddy:  I wish you were pregnant again.

Antique Mommy:  Yeah, me too.

Antique Daddy:  I’d be terrified if you were pregnant again.

Antique Mommy:  Yeah, me too… Do you think I should give away my maternity clothes?

Antique Daddy:  (Silence)

Antique Mommy:  Yeah, me too.

* * *

I know most women hate maternity clothes, but I loved mine.  When Sean came six weeks early in mid-November, I was so disappointed that I had holiday maternity clothes that I wouldn’t get to wear.

Every time I go into my closet I see these boxes.   And every time I see these boxes I think “I should give these things away to someone who can use them, someone who is pregnant.” I am practical.  I have pulled out these boxes a number of times intending to pass them on, but I never get further than the bedroom door with them.  I am not a hoarder, yet I can’t seem to part with them.  To give up on these clothes is to give up…  I can’t complete the thought.

Once again, I have pulled the boxes out, and like Pandora, I can’t resist looking inside.  Even after nearly three years, the familiar clean smell of laundry detergent rises up.  I pull out a tangerine cotton blouse with tiny yellow flowers.  I hold it up to myself and look in the mirror.  I stick out my tummy, placing a hand where a baby would be nestled inside my body.  I feel the sensation of joy fill my bloodstream as I imagine I am pregnant again.

I picture in my mind how I waddled around the neighborhood in that tangerine blouse in a proud display of impending motherhood.  I recall what a season of joy that was in my life. I catch sight of myself in the mirror unaware that I am smiling.

I am 46.  I put the tangerine blouse back in the box.  I put the lid on the box and shove it back into the closet.

10 thoughts on “The Tangerine Blouse

  1. It’s funny that you wrote a post about this now. I’ve been thinking about the same thing. I’m going to turn 38 soon and my husband is 49. We have a 2-year-old daughter and I am on the fence — sometimes I want another baby more than anything else in the world. Other times I think we’d be crazy to do it again. (I can’t imagine another kid seeming as perfect as this one, even at the same time as she is driving me totally bonkers!) My husband really does not want to do it again. He thinks he is just too old, and fears that if we had another, he’d have to work until he was 80. But I don’t want to give up the possibility — that’s the thing that’s going to make me feel so old.


  2. It’s hard to let go of that kind of stuff. I still have mine. Well, I mean I’m going to be wearing mine again in a couple months but you know what I mean : )


  3. I understand that feeling. When my friend committed suicide, almost 3 years ago now, the dream of the house, with two kids, minivan and white picket fence dies with him. He is the one I should have married ten year ago instead of the one I choose. I realize that your situation is different, happier but giving up on the dream of children is hard. People tell me all the time that there is still time but with my medical problems (I’m diabetic) there is even more to worry about. I say I am happy being the best Aunt ever but I would have given almost anything to find the redo button and change that one thing in my life. It’s not that I regret not having children, it just that I would like to see what a difference it would have made in my life. I can settle for being the Best Aunt ever but I will always wonder.


  4. Perhaps you could have them made into a quilt or pillows, so you could “use” them again in a different way? My mom had all my band/theatre T-shirts made into a quilt for me and it’s one of my prized posessions.


  5. Holy cow! My little PB was born 4 wks early and I was admitted to hospital 2 wks before that with Pre-E. I had bought a couple of gorgeous mat tops to wear for christmas & new year’s and never got to wear them. Sucks, huh??!!


  6. My maternity clothes are my best clothes. I bought them all at once so they coordinate nicely. They are very forgiving as far as weight goes and I love being pregnant, except for the parts I hate. I’m not sure if we’ll have more kids but I won’t be letting go of them any time soon.


  7. My maternity wardrobe is better than my regular wardrobe – I’ve had a whole lot of high end hand-me-downs, so I’ve got really beautiful designer stuff when I’m pregnant. Not pregnant? Zellers.



    I had my last child 7 years ago, with no plans for any more, and yet I still am hanging onto my favorite maternity blouse. I just can’t part with it.


  9. My oldest is almost 16 and my ‘baby’ is almost 11.

    4 months ago I had a quiet ‘moment’ with my maternity clothes and gave up a box of them to a girl I work with who is pregnant and I have the very last of them in a small pile in my closet this very moment to give to another pregnant friend.

    …. 10 years I’ve held onto these clothes. And yes, for me it’s finally admitting that I’m not having another. Which is hard. The finality to it is heart wrenching.


  10. All I had left of my maternity clothes after Katrina were my nursing tops, which I have packed carefully away. But, I am going through the same thing with my son’s baby clothes and outgrown toys. I have stored them all carefully away, even though it meant actually installing a loft in the garage. If I give them away, it will drive home with too much finality that my childbearing days are over. I am just not ready to face that. Maybe when Harry starts high school…


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