Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

My Spare Room September 28, 2010

My mum arrived last week for her annual 6-week-long visit. This means I spent the prior two weeks tearing my house apart and reassembling it to accommodate a guest. We have two bedrooms in our house, the second room being my fulltime office. It usually contains my desk, computer, files, papers, office supplies—basically everything I need to do my job on a daily basis. But right now it contains a bed and a couple of suitcases, with my desk and computer squeezed into one corner.

While clearing out the room, I started thinking about a book I recently read—Kathryn Stockett’s The Help (an excellent book that I can recommend highly.) One of the characters in the book has a series of spare rooms in her large house, at least one of which is set up to receive the children she expects or is expected to have (the mystery is revealed later in the book, but I’m not about to blow it now.) I realized that I had never envisioned my spare room as a nursery. I think that in my mind, we would make do in our little place and once children came along, we’d figure out how to move to a larger house, maybe in a different town. But a part of me can’t help wondering what had really been going on in my subconscious mind that I never planned for a place for a child to live, despite planning, or at least thinking about, all kinds of details involved in being a mother.

What about you? Did you ever make solid plans that included actions, rather than simply daydreams?


10 Responses to “My Spare Room”

  1. Sue Says:

    Last year my husband and I purchased our first home after being together 7 years. While we were on our yearlong search for the perfect house, we always considered whether or not it would be a good home for our children. We passed up a beautiful home that was exactly what we wanted because there was a power substation right behind the neighborhood. By the time we found the perfect we wanted and put a bid on it, we found out I was pregnant. When we took our closest friends to the house before the closing we looked through all of the windows I said excitedly “and that’s the baby’s room!”

    I miscarried the night before the closing. I sat at the closing table miserable and in pain trying not to cry. I had a fake smile plastered on my face the whole time because that’s what people expected to see.

    As friends and family came to see the new home I cringed every time I showed them that room. “And this is our spare room” I’d say, praying no one would unknowingly say we now had an extra room to put a baby in. Thankfully, only a few said it.

    Convinced that we would be successful with our third attempt because our RE had the magic equation all figured out, I had traded in my two door sports car for a 4 door crossover. Now when people see my new vehicle the love to point out to me that “it’s perfect for car seats!”

    UGH! Now I have a house and vehicle perfect for family living. I feel like I was such an optimistic moron.

    On the brighter side, I’m turning that “spare room” into a studio to create artwork in, and my bigger more comfortable car is great for those road trips/vacations we, as a TINK couple (two incomes no kids – I love that), have time and money for!

    • lmanterfield Says:

      Sue, I’m so sorry to hear this story, but truly, if you can’t be an “optimistic moron” what’s the point of living? If we went into everything expecting the worse, life would be pretty miserable. I’m very glad to hear of your plans though. 🙂

  2. Julie Says:

    I just have to say, first, that I love the phrase “TINK couple!”

    Anyway, we definitely did things to plan for a future baby. We were saving up for IVF, and were about two months away from our projected start time, so we painted the future baby’s room a nice gender neutral green. When IVF didn’t work for us, that green shade (and the empty room) sucked, but I wasn’t about to repaint the room, and I didn’t want to turn it into a rarely used guest room. I thought having it sit mostly unused would be too depressing. So instead, we turned it into my “girl room” with my cozy chair, bookshelves, and sewing machine. The cozy chair is navy blue, and the pillows that go with it have green stripes, so it matches the green walls perfectly.

    The first time I sat in there, I cried because it wasn’t the use for the room I had planned, but now I love it.

  3. Kathryn Says:

    Well, i was burned by this early on. Before i even married, when i was about 18, i bought baby booties against “that day” that i hoped would not be too long. I also bought a cradle not long after i married my first husband. It held dolls & stuffed animals for many years until i finally gave it away.

    I married my current husband 6 years ago. We had our first miscarriage 5 years ago. When pregnant with that one, we did buy some clothes. I put them away when we lost her. On a rare occasion i would pick up a cute top or outfit with hopes for the future. I’ve given almost all of them away now. I have the last 2 items i’ll probably send to my niece in a couple of weeks.

    We have room in our home for a nursery. One room we don’t use much & call “the cat-free” room because my sis is mildly allergic to our cats. But i did let her know that if children came into our lives, that room would be opened to the rest of the house.

    I’m so glad we never set the room up as a nursery. I never went that far with our hopes. I’m not sure i could stay in the house if we had done that. Even if (and at this point there is only .000000000001% chance it could happen) we became pregnant at this point, i’m not sure we’d set the room up as a nursery. Of course, i’d want to have the baby sleep with us anyway. But still, i wouldn’t trust enough that it could happen. Even if we decided to adopt – & there is very little chance of that at this point – i wouldn’t do a nursery until the child was IN MY ARMS. Anything else would seem like tempting fate, & me an “optimistic moron” as Sue called herself. (I don’t see her that way.)

    • lmanterfield Says:

      I am with you on the caution after being burned. I feel the same way about not trusting fate or the universe or whatever to play some cruel trick on me. And the who;e “what if that 0.00000000001% chance happened” is an entirely different topic of conversation all together.

  4. Kathleen Guthrie Says:

    No nursery (the plan was to move to a bigger place after the first year), but I did stock up on children’s books and I had a whole section of “Family Friendly” recipes in my file box.

    Love the term “optimistic moron.” Despite disappointments, I’ll still find reasons to be hopeful about my future.

  5. happynenes Says:

    Yes, when we bought our house two years ago, we vacillated between a small home in a nice neighborhood and a larger home in an okay neighborhood. We went for the bigger house. Then I think we got a little farther along in the grieving process and decided adoption or donor egg IVF wasn’t in our future.

    It’s nice to have the extra space, even with just the two of us. And we have a pretty big yard for house in the city. But I miss being closer to the beach. Now I’m eyeing townhomes near the beach and wondering if we will ever wind up there. Or if it would really be that much better than having a yard. I guess time will tell.

    I also love the TINK acronym.

    • Mali Says:

      We bought a bigger house, definitely with room for a baby. During my infertile/pregnancy loss years, it was my office. Now it’s a spare spare room. We really have to redecorate it, but it is now a forgotten room. I love the idea of making it my sitting room. Although it’s very close to our bedroom so I’ve also considered making it a dressing room.

      When I was living overseas, I bought loads of cute Christmas stockings. These were to be for our kids, and all their cousins etc who would come and visit. I kept them for years. But one Christmas, a few months after we learned we would never have children, I divided these up and posted them out to all my nieces and nephews, with a note to their parents. It was heartbreaking to me. And typically, only one responded (one who had experienced miscarrige).

  6. loribeth Says:

    We had a room that was going to be the nursery (it WAS the nursery when we bought the house). We never did much with it during my pregnancy because things were so tentative. It’s remained the spare bedroom, but it makes me cringe, because it still includes dh’s particleboard furniture from his student apartment & the bedspread one of dh’s aunts gave us when we were first married, which is totally frayed. I really would like to buy some nice(r) furniture & a new bedspread, maybe some fresh paint. I’m not sure why it’s sat like this for so many years.

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