Act 2: House of Hope

Four babies' worth of maternity clothes.

This week I donated my maternity clothes to the House of Hope. Let's  briefly put a pin in the implications of any woman giving away her pregnancy wardrobe (I promise I'll get back to that!), and focus on the ladies at the House of Hope for a moment.

The House of Hope is a non-profit, residential treatment facility for women dealing with substance abuse. What I find particularly valuable about the House of Hope is that it is a facility where the women are able to bring their children to stay with them while they receive treatment. Keeping families together whenever possible is so vitally important, and must take away so much stress and anxiety for the women, allowing them the necessary headspace to focus on their treatment. I especially love that the kids receive therapeutic care too. So many of them have been through so much, and both need and deserve to address the challenges that living with an addicted parent has brought to their little lives.

I don't have a lot of personal experience with substance abuse addiction, but I have felt its effects close enough to know how devastating it can be for a family, especially for children. And I do know what an ongoing struggle it can be, both for the addict and for everyone who loves them. So when moms and their little ones decide that they're ready to fight this dragon, I feel like the least we can do is help and support them in whatever small ways we can.

I first discovered House of Hope several months ago, when a neighbor was collecting donations for them. I didn't participate then, but looked at the wish list on their website, and noted that maternity clothes were on it, and decided that that's what I wanted to do with my own pregnancy wardrobe when the time came to pass it along.

First baby!
 Although we have felt for a long time that Elijah is our grand finale, it has taken me a while to fully make peace with the fact that I'll never those maternity clothes again, because I'll never be pregnant again. I'll never meet a brand-new human and hold them in my arms, knowing that they are ours again. No more quiet moments with a sleepy newborn. No more watching my older kids fall utterly head-over-heels in love with a new little sibling. It's a lot to say goodbye to.

We were so excited and so ready! to be parents. 
 And yet: it's time. Both for all of the logical reasons I know in my head:

  • That's a lot of 9 lb babies and  c-sections for one body! 
  • We're getting old and that window of fertility is just getting smaller and smaller. 
  • I can't keep having babies just because I love newborns. 
  • One high-risk pregnancy was plenty.
and the reasons I feel in my heart:

  • It feels great to own my own body again. 
  • I'm excited to see what life holds for me after the tiny kid stage. 
  • It just feels like we're complete now.

After baby number one we went from professional maternity photos to selfies in the bathroom.
No less excited and delighted about adding each new little person to our family, though.
So while it is a little bittersweet to say goodbye to those special clothes and everything they symbolize to me, it feels like a gift and a privilege to be able to pass them along to a group of mamas that are fighting such a tough and valiant battle. I'm so impressed and inspired by the efforts and sacrifices they are making to give their babies a better life.


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