LEIGH CAMPBELL: Anyone who's experienced secondary infertility knows what this picture represents.

If you’re yet to have children, not keen on kids or had no issues creating your family, you probably look at this photo and see a pile of relatively well organised old clothes that need to be taken to the donation bin, passed on as hand-me-downs or at the very least, stored away somewhere out of the way.

Image: Supplied.

And that’s exactly what they are. Folded stacks of newborn onesies in size 0000. Bonds Zippies in size 000 and 00. Tiny adorable tracksuits and t-shirts and swimmers not much bigger than the size of your hand.

Then there’s the next bag full of size 0 - a size my son now long outgrew and I carefully packed away. All of his size 1 things, too, have been added to the pile. 


And, as spring warms up here now, I gingerly add some size 2 items to the ever-growing piles of little clothes taking up space in my home, and in the back of my mind.

Because this isn't a pile of outgrown baby clothes. Not really.

It’s a pile of maybes.

Of what might be.

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It’s a pile of “I feel so stupid for holding onto all this stuff. It will probably never get used again. It’s silly to let this pile keep growing - we have no space for it. But I can't let it go.” 

If you’ve had one child, or maybe two - but the fertility gods just aren't on your side right now when all you want is to grow your family, you know the pain of a change in season, like I do. 

On the surface, it’s just a game of logistics. Pull out all their current season winter clothes - pick what to keep out, what still fits right now, make a list of what they need for the warmer weather, then store away the stuff that no longer serves them.


But will it serve anyone again?

Image: Leigh Campbell. 

Will you get the joy of wriggling another little bottom into those adorable tiny jeans? Will you ever smile at the toddle of chubby little legs wearing your favourite small shorts?

And worse, did you forget to fully enjoy the little person in front of you, growing up and out of their clothes before your eyes, because you're too focused on a child that doesn't exist yet? 

That might never exist.

Image: Leigh Campbell.


They’re piles of clothes and folded stacks of practicality, yes. Holding onto them makes sense for the future you hope to have. But they're also a painful measure of the time that passes while you're in waiting. 

Friends' bellies grow from flat to full and flat again, while you wait. While you try. Then those babies that came from the bellies while you were waiting have birthdays, all while your piles get higher and your little person gets bigger and their things don't get a second use.

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The most painful part is that maybe it’s a pile of precious ‘lasts’ you didn't think to stop and cherish at the time.  

It’s a pile laughing in your face, making you feel foolish.

And still, it’s a pile of hope. 

If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24-hour support line on 1300 072 637. 

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