This has been a tough week in the Caldwell household (actually, the last few months have been exceptionally challenging but that is for a different post). This week I found myself plagued by the depression I have fought for as long as I can remember.
Depression for me can be triggered by a number of things and sometimes I don’t know what the trigger is or was at all. What I do know is once I am depressed I will think even more about my infertility than ever which brings me to the hopeless chest.
When I was young child I couldn’t wait to have a hope chest all my own and always wanted to play with the items in my mom’s hope chest. She had stuff from when she first dated my dad and when they got married. Odd trinkets and a bunch of baby items from when I was born. It was like a living scrapbook of memories. I loved going through it and hearing the stories my mom would tell me about each item. Fast forward to my 18th birthday and I finally got my very own hope chest. I didn’t have a ton of things to put in it at that point but was excited to fill it full of the dreams I had for myself. At first it was filled with things I was planning on taking to college with me like my first set of dishes. Honestly, I don’t actually remember all of the things I kept in it early on or even when my husband and I finally had a place of our own that was big enough for me to not be storing the chest at my parents.
What I do remember is what I began to store in it when we decided to start a family. Before we ever began trying I put some items from my childhood that I wanted to pass down to my child. I had the dishes I used as a little kid. If you grew up in the 70’s you probably remember the Peter Rabbit set. Some sentimental stuffed animals to be passed down and some artwork that I had kept that I wanted in a future nursery. My husband had even bought me an old school Snoopy Snow Cone maker identical to the one I had as a kid and I promptly added to the hope chest for our little to have those same snow cone memories.
The Hope chest didn’t have much in it until we got pregnant the first time around. Of course with the excitement we couldn’t resist buying some baby clothes and a few cute things for a nursery. After that first miscarriage there haven been a small handful of items we have added to the chest for fear of adding to the sadness or bad luck. What it does hold are cute clothes and blankets, books from friends and a few adorable toys. Oh! and a hoard of “I love grandma” onesies that my mother-in-law added to our collection.
There are also some baby gifts that friends sent to me AFTER my miscarriage (yes they knew of my loss before sending). Now, I know that none of this was done out of malice but boy were they hard to get. If you are reading this as one of my friends please note that was lone ago and I’m sure you didn’t understand that was a really hard thing to receive at the time. Could I have said something, sure but why make them feel bad about an ill-timed gift. While this post isn’t about that I did want to take a moment to remind anyone out there to that it is much harder to get these gifts as the hopeful “I know you will use this when you get pregnant again” rather than you just storing them until that appropriate time. Same goes for those handmade gifts that people started for us and would mention as a type of guilt like “hey, I started a quilt for you back then so hurry up and get pregnant already so I can give it to you”. Um, I’m trying but thanks for all of that support and sorry to keep YOU waiting.
Back to the Hopeless Chest… So, this beautiful chest sits at the foot of our bed and normally is just a piece of furniture. Other times like this past week it haunts me and tempts me to delve into it and cry over the baby goods inside. I will be honest, the picture of the items is actually an older pic taken long ago as I decided this week was not a healthy time to open the chest at all. But, all week I kept thinking about it as the hopeless chest. Mostly, because that was the feeling my depression brought on this week. Usually, it is a dark sad depression that is dripping with sarcasm and anger. This week it was hopeless hopeless hopeless. Full of poor me and I’ll never have a baby thoughts and hopelessness for our current situation.
Currently, I am feeling much better and I would have written this post earlier had I had the energy to do so. I am hoping by putting these feelings and dealing with depression on top of infertility will help someone out there who feels similar. As usual, feel free to contact me or leave a comment. I would love to hear how you deal with your depression and infertility too. If you are seeking additional support or resources you can find some here.