What to do with Baby's Things After Loss


It's hard to look at. The empty crib, the washed and put away clothes that were waiting to be worn, the diapers and wipes that were pre-purchased so you didn't have to worry about making a run to the store for a little while, the toys and gifts that were ready to be played with. It's all just hard.


The question that comes up when the initial dust settles and you open the nursery door again is what do I do with the things that were intended for the baby that's not coming home? Everyone I have talked to has varying stages of baby items when their loss occurred. Some started stockpiling the moment they were pregnant and others were waiting until much closer to the birth to get things ready. The solutions to the question of what to do with baby's things are equally different.


In my experience, I had a two-year-old boy who was using the crib so I moved him out into his big boy bed and into a room that he now shared with his big brother. My kids were great sleepers so were happy to stay in their crib for longer and never tried to climb out. I felt guilty after my twins died that I moved him out of his crib prematurely and made him grow up too fast. I truly cherished every moment I could of their babyhood and to me, this felt like I rushed him, (he has grown into a very well adjusted, successful young man so my worrying was for nothing) but it just added to the list of things I was blaming myself for in that season. I had several things cleaned up and ready to be reused for the twins and even purchased a couple of new items like a double stroller and double bouncy seat. I did return those two items because they were too specific to remind me of what was missing in my life but the rest I kept pretty much intact.


I knew I wanted another baby and my arms ached to hold one more baby before I called my family complete but I knew it would not be easy (more about that at another time). I was very clear without a doubt that a new baby would never replace the ones I lost, but I was hoping for some type of healing and I knew I didn't want my motherhood journey to end that way. I chose to leave my nursery as is and shut the door to deal with it at another time knowing that I was praying and hoping for a new pregnancy even though the thought of it scared me to absolute death.


The way that you choose to deal with the "things" is completely up to you. Ask yourself what would be the way to deal with it that would be incredibly kind to yourself? If having the items out where you can see them is painful then put them in storage or give it away if that makes you feel better. If having a little sanctuary of what once was and can be again is helpful then keep it there. As there is no timeline or "right way" to deal with grief, there is no right way to deal with your baby's things no matter what others may try to tell you.


My mom had a baby before I was born who died at birth and she told me she had her parents go before she came home from the hospital to completely dismantle the nursery she had prepared. My reaction during my loss was totally different- I looked at the things with the hope of what could be again and while the empty crib was painful at first, I wanted it to be a symbol of hope that it would be full again. Neither of us was right or wrong, but we just had different reactions to the same outcome. Neither of our babies was coming home.


I really want to urge you to just listen to yourself when you make the decision of what to do or not to do with your baby items. If you never even got to the nursery stage it may even be what to do with your sonogram pictures or maybe you kept the pregnancy test? There are so many beautiful ideas to memorialize your baby and remember it in your own way and the best thing you can do to honor yourself and your baby is to display them, or not... in a way that makes you feel good. If it's too painful then it's OK to put everything away in a special place out of sight to revisit and remember when you want. Don't let others tell you what you should or shouldn't be doing or feeling (they will try) and what the right and wrong way is to deal with the things you have for the baby you don't. Grief is such a personal journey that I want to encourage you to make it personally yours, and do and feel what is right for you for as long as it takes.


If you would like more info about how I can help you navigate your baby loss you can find out more about me on my website at jennifersenn.com or @navigatingbabyloss on Instagram and Facebook. Be sure to download my free 3-video series "The Truth About the Loss of Your Baby" to learn about my story and the strategies I used to cope with my own loss.