While pregnancy can be exhausting as you carry the weight of a baby around with you and your feet and body swell to new proportions, somehow in the last few weeks many women get a sudden burst of vitality and drive. They use this nesting energy to getthe nursery in order and to clean and organize their homes from top to bottom – alphabetized spice rack anyone?
This pre-labor ritual takes on many forms as you’ll see when moms and dads tell us how they channeled their nesting behaviors to get ready for baby:
“I thought the whole ‘nesting’ thing was a myth,” says Natalie Malicoate of Choctaw, OK. “But it’s not.” She turned her anxiety into action. “I just started having these moments where I thought, we have no room for this baby. We need to go through thisentire house, room by room, and get rid of stuff.”
So one afternoon when her husband took off for a jog, “I dug everything out of the pantry and all of our kitchen cabinets into the middle of our kitchen floor. I just started chucking perfectly good appliances and bowls into the trash.”
Her husband calmed her down and they reorganized the kitchen, leaving an empty cabinet for baby stuff and putting aside most of what she wanted to trash for a future garage sale. He joked that he wasn't leaving the house again "because he didn't knowwhat else I would throw out while he was gone.”
In the end, she notes, “We had more than enough room for baby.”
Gina Kirk of Middleboro, MA, also became “an organization and cleaning queen” during the last months of her third pregnancy. “Pregnancy hormones took over. When I saw something out of place, it led to a full out organizing streak. I could be found tearingapart dressers, closets and storage bins in order to neaten them up. I also couldn't go to bed at night unless all of my dishes were out of the sink, the floor vacuumed and my bigger kid’s toys put away. One piece of lint and I was having a meltdown.”
“Seems silly now,” she says, “but I took it very seriously at the time.”
The search for perfection sent Tracy Cutchlow of Seattle, WA, all over town. “I did so much research on all the baby gear. I knew exactly which high chair I wanted, which baby carrier, which diapers, which onesies, which leggings, which bathtub. I spentso many hours on Craigslist. I rode the bus for an hour to pick up that bathtub. It was over the top.”
The main benefit (beyond the bargains): “It was good to meet these other moms who were passing along their stuff. They always had a tidbit of advice.”
Cutchlow says that nesting is an instinct humans share with mammals. “We not only prepare a place for our baby by cleaning and organizing, but we get more selective about whom we spend time with. We're seeking control over our environment and whois allowed in it. It's protective.”
For Mitzie Warner of Phoenix, AZ, nesting is a very welcome stage, since it took six years and five rounds of IVF treatment to get so close to having a baby. She’s been “obsessed” over getting the baby’s room in order for his expected July 2016 arrival.“We’ve been waiting for this baby forever!” She wants the room decorated, with furniture in place and clothes in the closet so “all we have to do is bring baby home and we can focus on being present in the moment.”
Even dads can have their own nesting instincts. Warner says her husband “nested in his own way. He got very involved with putting together the baby book for our firstborn. He spent hours online researching baby books so we could tell the baby’s story.We had tons of early ultrasound pics that most couples don’t get so we just wanted the book to be perfect. So perfect in fact that I accidentally cut a picture crooked and my husband freaked out and went crazy to have it fixed.”
New dad Matt Casady from Lehi, Utah, had his own pre-birth anxiety. “I remember feeling stressed out at times that we didn't have the baby's crib set up and that we didn't have a stockpile of diapers, etc. That scared me because I worried that he couldunexpectedly come a month early and I would have to be working to get his room ready at home while also trying to be with my wife in the hospital.”
P.S. It all worked out fine... his 6-month-old son loves his room.
Image : Getty