There is something very intimidating about the prospect of a person coming into your house and looking around to see if it would be a good home for a child. It’s a situation that, in my case at least, definitely prompted a round of de-cluttering. Or, as I like to call it, “Holy shit, how old is that bread and maybe I should stop buying cans of black beans.”

I have a bookshelf in my bedroom. It’s always been a monument to chaos, ill-advised cookbook purchases and the place where I drape all those belts that come attached to dresses but you end up pulling them all off the dresses before you wash them because really all they do is create very intricate knots in the washing machine and it’s not like I spilled ketchup on them (THIS TIME) so really do they need to be washed? Also? Empty birchboxes and glossy boxes because PRETTY! That bookcase needed to be… let’s call it straightened? I didn’t technically do a lot of de-cluttering on it, I mean sure… I found that one bag from the dollar general when I went crazy buying air freshener and apparently was just throwing the empty packages back in the bag for some reason? So I threw that away. And the silver clip in hair extensions. I probably won’t wear those again. I like my pink and purple ones better. But I straightened. And dusted. And made the books all face the same way. And it looks better.

Then I moved on to the pantry. That was a mistake. Of epic proportions. But I did it and now my pantry is awesomely clean and organized and will probably stay that way for… oh… wait… nevermind. I had a Fourth of July party at my house for almost 50 people and it was supposed to be a pool party but it poured the rain and everyone was inside and now everything is a wreck again.

I also cleaned out under my bathroom counter. The land of half empty bottles of shampoo, forgotten teeth whitening strips and unexplainable empty boxes. I am also apparently a HUGE fan of perfume samples.

And then, a little further back, I found it. The detritus of infertility. The Basket. I had forgotten that I’d stuffed it back there one day in a hysterical fit of never ever again. I didn’t look closely enough but I’m sure there was a fingerprint smear of chocolate or ice cream on it somewhere. I think at the time I called the Basket of Broken Dreams. It still had vials of drugs to be mixed. Hormones to be injected. There were pregnancy tests. Ovulation sticks. Literally hundreds of needles and syringes in all sizes still in their packages. Progesterone oil. Alcohol swabs. (Those went in the first aid kit because they are actually kind of handy).

I lived and died by that basket on and off for seven years. My life revolved around it. Mixing Repronex shots. Limping around after progesterone injections. Setting an alarm for the middle of the night to perfectly time an HCG trigger shot. Sending Patrick to the clinic ahead of me to make his… deposit… for another IUI. Coming to terms with the fact that he might knock me up via turkey baster from another county. Taking two pregnancy tests a day because maybe I’m pregnant-er in the afternoon than I am in the morning.

I carried it out into the kitchen and dropped it on the counter. I pulled everything out of it. I took this picture.

IF Pic

And then I taped it all up in a box because that made me feel like someone would be less likely to get stabbed with a sealed and sterilized needle and I threw that son of a bitch away. (Fine… I kept the actual basket and it is now full of sunscreen and bug spray and sits by my tub. What? It’s cute and holds a lot of shit.)

Throwing that basket away was liberating. Infertility will always be a part of my identity. But I’m in recovery. WE have found another path. I won’t forget what I went through. And I might always get a little tightness in my stomach before a baby shower. And yes, your squirming precious new baby is glorious but my eyes are always going to water a little when I meet him or her for the first time. You are welcome to think it’s because I’m overcome by their perfection. That is fine.

But in throwing away everything in that basket, I truly gave myself permission to let go and move on. It will happen differently for us. But it WILL happen. Just like it was supposed to all along.