Last Saturday Lindsey Goodwin interviewed me about my work with Pregnancy After Loss Support for her podcast, Tiny Giant Losses. When she asked me how I held onto hope while trying to conceive and then pregnant after loss, I remembered the onesies that my husband and I collected while trying to conceive our subsequent pregnancy. We called it, very creatively, “The Onesie Project,” and it’s been on my mind since the interview.
When I was pregnant with our son who died, my husband had a very long commute. We knew that our weekends would be precious once our baby arrived. We planned to take adventures with the baby each weekend. When Patrick died, we decided to still take those adventures. Spending that time together was incredibly healing for us as a couple.
We were given tickets to a Red Sox game for our anniversary that year—less than a month after Patrick died. I wanted a Red Sox t-shirt to wear to the game, so we headed in early to go to the big Red Sox souvenir shop outside Fenway Park. After choosing a t-shirt for myself, I wandered over into the baby section. Had Patrick lived, we would have been buying him a onesie. I told my husband I wanted to buy a onesie anyways. It could be for our next baby, or we could give it as a gift, I explained to him. And so we bought it. That Red Sox onesie was the start of “The Onesie Project.”
I knew we were taking a huge risk by collecting onesies. I didn’t even want to tell anyone we were doing it for a while. It felt either incredibly hopeful or incredibly naïve, incredibly brave or incredibly stupid. Maybe it was a little of both. When we couldn’t find a onesie to buy, we’d get a book or a stuffed animal instead. Friends and family started gifting us onesies too. By the time we got pregnant with our daughter, Stitch, we had quite the little collection.
We stopped collecting when we found out we were pregnant again. I packed them all away, along with the few items we’d been given for our son that would be hand-me-downs for our subsequent baby. I didn’t pull them back out again until just a few days before Stitch was born.
I only removed the tags and washed the newborn-sized clothes before we went to the hospital to be induced. In fact, I still only remove the tags from clothes when it’s time to move Stitch to a new size. Larger clothes are packed in bins under our bed, almost like they don’t exist. I don’t take those next sizes for granted.
A few days after recording my interview for the Tiny Giant Losses podcast, I pulled out Stitch’s next size–all of the 12-month clothes–to remove the tags and wash. In that batch I found the Red Sox onesie that started “The Onesie Project.” I dressed Stitch in that Red Sox onesie today, and I’m so thankful for these tangible reminders of the hope we carried between the two babies we carried.
In the midst of the fear and grief and pain, we hoped. I’m not sure the hope was greater than the fear, but it existed. It was enough. And when the fear was too great, others held hope for us.
Now our daughter is here, wearing the onesies we hopefully collected for her, and they bring me great joy. They remind me to hold onto hope for other things that seem impossible right now. Choose hope over fear. Always.