The Nesting Instinct

I honestly didn’t believe this was a real thing, nesting. I thought it was just something that people that were already organised and diligent in their non-pregnant lives got up to because it’s in their nature. Nature itself says that nesting is the act of preparing the “nest” for the imminent arrival. Alledgedly it kicks in in the last month of pregnancy.

However, much to Kev’s delight, I have been cleaning and tidying like a mad woman for around 2 months. I am the messiest person you can imagine. I don’t want to be, I just am, so it’s surprised me how much the urge to organise has struck me.

Today marks our 3rd year living in this house, our forever home. It has a solid shell, but other than that needs a lot of work doing. The walls have stayed bare. I am a very sentimental person and horde photos because being amongst happy memories makes me feel good in a world that quite often knocks me for six.

Last weekend, Kev went around putting up every picture frame I had – photos from my hen do, of our wedding now 5 years ago almost (he even made a frame for me with our Mr & Mrs momento, which I only bought with the sole intent of displaying afterwards) of Squidge when she was a baby and the token IKEA hangings.

He positioned them all over existing holes in our walls. I cannot stress enough the state our vendor left the house in. They didn’t actually move out until we knocked on the door with the keys in our hand and we honestly believed they just ripped everything off the wall in their haste. So we haven’t redecorated yet. We do have a massive long list of renovations, in order of their urgency and the kitchen pretty much trumps it all.

I cannot begin to say though, the wonder of having my memories on the walls in my own house has done for my mental health in times of lockdown. It feels like the space is mine. Each clean surface or reclaimed space makes me feel better and braver.

It’s all such little things. Photo frames, a new coat rack in the hall way so that under the stairs will be clear for baby’s pram to stay up and ready. (My stomach still genuinely tenses in pain when I remember being forced to hang up the frame of our pram on hooks at the bottom of the stairs in our old flat because there was no way I was going to get it upstairs, especially after a c-section.)

The fact that I’ve gone through every room and just thrown everything I don’t need or won’t use away. It makes me feel so much better, much more prepared. We rearranged the bedroom so that I can sit in the nursing chair and enjoy the sunlight and Kev doesn’t bruise his shins climbing over the cot. We ordered a nappy organiser that attachs to the cot so that we’ll have everything we need and I won’t have to bend. The fact that my kitchen windowsill is clear, or that my tea and coffe canisters are lined up neatly.

I don’t expect these skills to last me. I can hope they do, but am also determined to give myself a break given that there will be a new baby in the mix! But we’re so nearly there, we’ve bought everything for the baby, we’re getting a team in to fix up the garden, which has been falling into disrepair since the storms last winter. We’re very excited to enjoy it through the summer (in a socially distanced manner of course, but it feels very good to be supporting local people in these times!)

I have been working diligently on my mental health alongside this, particularly as I have felt the surge of calm and contentment. I want it to continue so much. Squidge and I try to enjoy a Headspace meditation together each day. She’s learnt that we are taking care of our minds so we can feel calm and happy and often requests one when she comes to sleep in my bed. It makes me so happy that she benefits too. I cannot recommend it enough. I am currently working my way through courses for Pregnancy and Pain Management because, let’s be honest, pregnancy hurts.

I have just 8 weeks to go, feel the size of a house and am really struggling to mobilise at all. I have even started to use my walker in the house, from the sofa to the kitchen, because I cannot seem to carry baby’s weight safely, staggering and feeling like I’m going to lose my balance. Until yesterday, when we finally felt safe enough to go for a socially distanced picnic at Kev’s parents so they could see us all, I hadn’t actually left the house, even for daily exercise for about 2 weeks, simply because I don’t feel safe.

And yet, the contentment has remained in my little space, because it is mine and I am making it my own more and more. I feel safe here. I really recommend the smallest of things to keep you going in times of lockdown. Buy something pretty (though don’t be like me, Amazon addiction is real in these times, though I caveat that with the fact that Amazon are a lifeline to shielders, so my guilt is less!) Read a good book. Hang a picture. Drink a cup of tea in the sun. Calm is in the smallest things. Take care of yourself.

And if you must nest, do it when you’re not seven-and-a-half months pregnant. Trust me, it’s much better to embrace it and reap its benefits when you’re not lugging a small horse around in your uterus, because if you’re contending with CP too, the incessant need to clean and tidy is likely to come back and bite you somewhere it hurts!

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