Sunday, December 27, 2015

Purging (and rejuvenating) the Baby Binder

In this beautiful lull between Christmas and New Year's, we are spending the day in our pajamas. Quietly working on little projects, reading, and getting started on some organization.

I am proud to say I wrote all my thank-you notes this morning, a new record of speediness for me.

After that, I had a thought.

Before the New Year is upon us, I should do a little purging. I have my baby binder, which I've been keeping for years and years and years. The problem is, it has a fair amount of pregnancy and childbirth stuff that is just not applicable anymore. The balance is definitely more towards parenting than pregnancy as I've added to it from the stacks of Parents magazines I've been receiving since our first uterine pregnancy (that swiftly became a loss). I finally didn't renew it this year. I have so many older issues to go through that to add more each month and NOT have a baby in the house seems downright silly. I do enjoy taking pages from my stacks, especially ones that apply since we decided we would no longer pursue pregnancy.

Baby Binder, pre-purge

The binder still contains a fair number of pages that are related to pregnancy and childbirth, though. There are pregnancy nutrition articles, prenatal exercise routines, safe medications for pregos, lots of info on labor and childbirth...and a veritable library of breastfeeding tips and tricks. There are also pictures of maternity shoot ideas (gone) and nursery ideas (ours is done, so why keep those?). I've been dreading taking those pages out of the binder and so I haven't, mostly because that binder has held our hopes and dreams for years,  which have shifted into new territory where something wonderful has been gained (or will be gained) but something else is irrevocably lost.

Lots and lots of things that we'd thought would be part of our reality, and just...aren't anymore.

In the interest of letting go of the past and starting the new year with absolutely no infertility stuff whatsoever, of having the year start with our unfettered adoption joy in full swing, I thought today would be a great day to get rid of all those pages that don't apply to us anymore.

It actually wasn't as many as I thought:

The left side is what was removed, the right side is what stays
In fact, after going through a stack of older Parents to add, I had put all the empty page-protectors back in, with new gems of wisdom. The binder is now full to bursting, making me think that maybe I need TWO binders -- a baby binder and a parenting binder.

Here are some of the pages I added today:

All really great stuff. This binder is like my analog Pinterest board.
I could have felt sad, recycling all the pages that pertain to an experience we know now we'll never have. I could have felt that loss all over again, like a ripped and weeping scab.

But I can't stop thinking about the massive amounts of pages that I still have and that I've added, all having to do with the amazing job of parenting that lies before us. All the milestones, and activities, and values that we can instill in our precious Mystery Baby. It way outweighs any sadness I might have felt.

The truth is, I felt less than a smidge of sadness. There was a slight twist of my lip as I threw all the unusable pages into the recycling bin, but moreover, I felt a lightness. A freedom in letting go of what will never be, and embracing the far larger scope of all that is ours to enjoy in the future. All the milestones, the scary moments, the frustrations, the crafts, the road trips, the beautiful kaleidoscope of the parenting experience that lies before us, neatly encapsulated in acid-free page protectors in my updated and rejuvenated purple baby binder.

Love the article I chose for the first thing you see when you open the binder. Incidentally, I've had it since the beginning.


  1. So glad this was a liberating process. Also, impressed (again) by how thoroughly you are preparing to be a parent. I have never read a magazine (that I can remember) but maybe I will pick up the toddler edition of the "what to Expect" books. The First Year one is pretty good, btw.

  2. Before our final cycle, I tossed every single one of my infertility books. I knew all the information those tomes has to offer and found nothing of use there anymore. The purging was so therapeutic. It allowed me to recover and get my head back to a space of finding resolution.

    I'm glad you did this and that it helped you reorganize. It can be very hard to do, but often the process of shutting that door opens so many more.

  3. Such a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing. I appreciate your spirit.
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  4. I've been reading along, just finally getting a chance to comment!
    You are finding such productive things to do during your break, and I find that so inspiring! Purging of any sort is always helpful, and I am glad you have found this therapeutic!

  5. That seems so therapeutic it gave me chills, granted it's freezing in here, but still.