As I sit on the floor of my youngest daughter’s room, sorting through mounds of clothes she has quickly outgrown, I suddenly felt the burning of the tears in my eyes. As one tear, and then another, dropped into my lap I was surprised by the strong feelings that were bubbling up inside of me. Why would the simple act of packing up baby clothes and throwing away infant sized hangers create such a strong emotion in me? Why would I feel such sadness? The truth is, while sadness is there, it’s certainly coupled with a healthy side of fear of the unknown. The fear of moving on to another stage in life and the fear of letting go of a young and carefree time in which all things seemed possible.
When I am boxing up the baby stage and all that it holds, I realize that I am entering a different stage in life. I mourn the letting go of this time period and I fear that I didn’t cherish it enough. What if we should have done more? How do we settle into this life as a family of five? Reaching a point in your life in which you must let go of the past and move forward can be difficult.
There are ways to help with this transition and here are some of my favorites:
Acknowledge Your Feelings
This is the most important first step! In order to move on from a situation, you must acknowledge your true feelings. Take the time to feel them without talking them down or trying to cover them up. You matter. Your feelings matter. What you are going through is important. It’s okay to give yourself some time to think through the life changes you are entering and to mourn what is lost.
Take Pride in Your Past and Where You Are Today
You lived your past in the best way that you could. You did your best and tried your hardest. This doesn’t mean that you were perfect, but it does mean that you can take pride in your accomplishments. Moving into another life stage means that you made it through the last one, which in itself is important to acknowledge.
Create New Dreams and Goals
Moving into a new stage of life can be scary, but it can also be fun! Take the time to think about where you are heading and the adventures ahead. Create new dreams and plan new life goals for this next phase. While you may be letting go of some things, think about how you now have additional time and energy to move into new areas. It is never too late to dream big!
Celebrate Yourself with an Indulgence
After all is said and done, it’s now time to kick back and enjoy where you are today! Take the time to treat yourself, whether it’s a night out with friends or a coveted vacation. You’ve acknowledge your fears, you’ve taken the time to appreciate your accomplishments, you’ve set goals for the future, and now the time to step forward in joyful anticipation of all that is before you!
Moving on can be hard. Knowing that we are moving on from the new baby stage does cause some sadness, but knowing that we have three healthy children brings immense joy. By focusing on all of the positive aspects of your life, it is easier to let go of life chapters that have closed. Allowing yourself to grieve those things that are gone allows you to move on and fully cherish the adventure ahead. By focusing on the great memories we’ve made and knowing all of the memories yet to come, it will make letting go of our no-longer-needed possessions a bit easier. And if all else fails, indulging in an “I made it through the infant stage” spa day can’t hurt!