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Snapshots of Infertility: When Your Closet Becomes A Trigger

Snapshots of Infertility: When Your Closet Becomes A Trigger

Jana Petrosini
Stack of Jeans. Evgenia Bolyukh/Shutterstock.

My wardrobe is divided into two categories: Things that remind me of my miscarriages and infertility struggles and things that don't.

Seventy percent of my closet makes me feel sick to my stomach. I know I’m not the only one. Most people feel disgusted because they have outgrown their clothes, constantly strategizing how to fit into their skinny jeans again.

I still fit into my skinny jeans. And I hate it.

My wardrobe is divided into two categories: Things that remind me of my miscarriages and infertility struggles and things that don’t.

In the pile of genuinely great clothing that gives me sweaty flashbacks is a black and white striped sweater made of the most wonderful blend of cotton and magic. It is the perfect weight for Southern California. It is the sweater I wore when I was recovering from my hysterectomy. It served me well then. Today, I want to burn it in the park next to my house while blaring some old-school Nine Inch Nails songs.

The sweater is a victim. Guilty by association. There are 40 more just like it in my closet. I can’t bring myself to throw them out. I don’t want to get rid of them. I want to wear them again and not break down the moment I see them. I want to go back to the day I bought them, before I used them to cover up my scars.

Today, I did it: I chose a white silk shirt with flowers on it. A shirt that I pined over for weeks and stalked until it went on sale. I used to pair it with cute skinny jeans or a black denim skirt and head out with a spring in my Stuart Weitzmans. Today, I pulled the shirt over my head, tucked it into my new high-waisted jeans, pulled on my boots, and walked out the door with all my might.

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My boots felt like they were 100 pounds each. But I made it to the car and all the way to my office for the day — the neighborhood coffee shop. I was so proud of myself for taking the shirt back.

And now I’m in a cafe working on a pilot script and I just noticed a spot of blood on the waist of the shirt. Damn. I wore it when I went to the doctor, when I had been bleeding for 43 days straight. When the doctor examined me, I bled on the bottom of the shirt. I took it to the dry cleaner and thought the stain was gone. It must have blended in with the red and pink floral pattern.

I forgave the shirt, but the shirt won’t let me forget. The blood is a little faded, though. Maybe next time I wear it, my memories will be a little faded too. I’m not going to throw it out just yet.

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