Thursday, July 19, 2012


I had heard about and experienced my own version of "nesting" many months ago. Back then it manifested as wanting to paint the nursery, organize baby clothes etc. It is also a phenomenon late in the pregnancy when you're suddenly overcome by the urge to clean and tidy the house just before baby's arrival. I wasn't feeling the slightest desire to clean at first but after going through a period of fatigue I did have a sudden surge of energy and began a mega organization/decluttering kick. I emptied out my cold cellar. My ex had "organized" it for me while he was living here, basically Tetris-ed boxes and containers neatly like puzzle pieces stacked floor to ceiling. He meant well I suppose -- at least in that instance, in others, not so much! -- Unfortunately he buried the things that I needed access to and kept a lot of things I don't need/want at all and I should have thrown out years ago. So I reorganized it (yes Mom, I had to lift a few heavy boxes and containers by my lonesome! I'm a stubborn bull, deal with it!) in a way that makes more sense so I can get what I need. I also got rid of the empty boxes and clutter which were just taking up space unnecessarily.

It felt so good to get rid of things! It's very cleansing for the spirit, very Feng Shui to remove dead energy that's weighing you down and to have space to breathe again. I filled several bags with trash, several with donations for thrift shops and some with items I'll either keep or try to sell. The remaining storage items were put back in the cold cellar in an orderly fashion that allows me to get what I need and the things that I won't need any time soon are tucked away in the back. I know that M was trying to help (considering he stayed at home while I was out working hard for 12 hour shifts he had to do something to feel remotely useful) but it's really hard to organize someone else's things because you really don't know what's important to them and you'll probably get it wrong.

So in the throes of my organization mission, in 40 degree celsius heat, I loaded up the car with my bags for the thrift store. I filled the trunk and back seats. I had called ahead to make sure they were accepting donations and that there wasn't a limit. I told him I'm 9 months pregnant "Oh, you're nesting!" he replied warmly. "Oh yeah!" I agreed. He said that someone would come out to help me unload when I got there.

When I showed up there was nowhere nearby to park. I waddled in with the first two bags, sweating, panting, holding my belly. The cashier was having a conversation with a couple of customers. I finally got her attention and she asked with concern "You're not going into labour, are you?!" "No," pant "but can I please," wheeze "get some help?" gasp. My lungs aren't what they used to be. I'm easily winded. Add exertion and heat to the mix and it's a miracle I can breathe at all! A nice older man came out and loaded a cart with the bags for me. Once my car was empty, I felt lighter. It was like a burden was lifted off my shoulders.

It felt good to clear things out and to have the basement tidy for a change. It had been in a state of disarray for a while and I just kept putting off doing anything about it. I saw a very disturbing episode of "Hoarding: Buried Alive" the other day which inspired me. It featured a man who was a level 5 hoarder, basically as bad as it gets. He had filled a one bedroom apartment with enough debris to fill three large trucks. There was an absolute sea of belongings, piled so high that as they walked on top of it, they could touch the ceiling! You couldn't even tell what the rooms were anymore because they were buried. It was overwhelming. Somehow they managed to get through it. He had purchased a new house and the show ended with him in his new place, turning over a new leaf. In his case, and in most cases of hoarders, it stemmed from depression, loss, loneliness and the urge to fill a void in his life. It's an addiction to things. Like any other addiction, carried to excess, it destroys you. You get your fix and feel happy for the moment but it's never enough. You need more and more. Before you know it, you're out of control and drowning in the mess you've made of your life.

I can sympathize. My Mom was always a shop-a-holic, packrat and I inherited a little of the tendency. I have to be careful. When I like something I tend to like it too much. I can go overboard. (The ocean theme for instance, has taken over my house. But I love it!) I have a number of collections. (Barbies, bears when I was younger. I don't collect them anymore but I am fond of those I have. They were in my guest room. They were relocated to the basement when M moved in. He demanded a space for his office. It was meant to be because when he left the room was free to transform into the nursery.) I think the important thing about collecting is to know when to stop, to keep it organized and aesthetically pleasing. I knew other Barbie collectors back in the day who kept their dolls in the box, stacked in closets and under the bed. What is the point of a collection you don't enjoy? It's not just about amassing things. It's about appreciating the beauty of the items, as works of art. My dolls are in glass cabinets where I can admire them. The designer dolls are my favourites. I haven't collected for years (buying a house pretty much did away with any disposable income I had in my youth!) but I still enjoy seeing them and remembering that period in my life (I used to attend conventions and was even in a Barbie club with a bunch of gay men. We got together once a month, went on field trips etc. It was a riot.) I always want my home to look like a home, not a storage unit for collectibles. As your tastes change over time, you just have to be willing to let things go. Out with the old, in with the new. I went through a Victorian/gothic phase but I love modern decor now and have let a lot of the fussy and frilly items go.

I'm feeling more positive and more driven than I have in a while. It's a good thing. Bringing order to chaos is empowering. It helps me to feel in control. Instead of just waiting around for labour (something which I can't control), I'm taking action, doing something constructive. I feel better when things are organized. Clutter drains me. It hurts my soul. I breathe better, feel happier when energy can flow through the house. When everything looks beautiful and tidy. A harmonious physical space leads to a peaceful spiritual space. Shows like Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive show the psychological damage that clutter creates. It's a vicious cycle. The mess is borne out of pain, loss, loneliness and desperation and perpetuates those feelings -- causing more pain, greater loss, isolation, hopelessness. People literally bury themselves in their problems until they can't see a way out.

Knowing that my baby is coming home is the best motivation to clear out things that I don't want or need, that don't add anything to my life or my home. A lot of it was stuff that I hadn't unpacked since I moved here in 2005. I probably shouldn't have even moved it. At the time it was hard to let go so I just left things in boxes and bags. They were just taking up space. If you haven't wanted/needed something in 7 years, it's probably safe to get rid of it! Letting go is therapeutic. It's saying goodbye to the past and making room for the present and the future.

I cleared out the garage too. I got sick of seeing things piled up out there. I cut/crushed the cardboard boxes. Got rid of waste. Relocated things that I will actually use. It's a great feeling of relief (for a control freak!) when everything is in its place. Cleanliness is next to godliness after all. Perfect divine order.

I guess "nesting" can take different forms for everyone. It's basically feathering the nest, getting your home ready for baby. For some it's scrubbing grout. For me it was mostly decluttering. I love when things are organized. And I certainly don't want to be tripping over, bumping into things when I bring baby home. I will need extra room for baby gear and toys as well.

Apparently most pregnant animals (birds, mammals, humans) have the nesting instinct, the urge to prepare a home for their newborn. Kangaroos are one exception. They don't feel the need because they already have a built-in nest attached to them (their pouches) that is a cozy perfect home for their new baby. I feel a bit like a kangaroo these days carrying my baby around in my massive pouch! And little Roo is kicking around in there as much as ever. You'd think she would have run out of room by now! I read that they refer to bonding with your newborn as "kangaroo care." Close physical contact, breastfeeding, holding your baby, especially against your bare chest helps to form a bond that makes them feel safe and loved. It's so important to give a baby this nurturing because it will be imprinted in them for life. It is the most important thing you can teach a child -- how to love and be loved, how to get close to another human. Not having that nurturing early in life can have disastrous effects, can render them incapable of ever having healthy human relationships. Just look at my ex...

My mother (and this is the same woman who guilted me into cleaning weeks ago when I had no energy at all) tells me to be careful and not overdo it. She thinks I should conserve my energy and get lots of sleep because soon I may not get any. I figure the best thing is to go with the flow, to listen to my body and the baby. When I'm exhausted, I'll rest. When I have energy, I'm using it! There is a lot to do and it only makes sense to do it when I'm motivated to move. Once I have the baby at home with me it would be much more difficult (if not impossible) to get these things done.

I've also been busy getting other things in order like my finances which have been a huge source of stress. I've had to rethink a lot of things. I sat down with a very nice girl at the bank and went over my options. We came up with a plan that's a little more liveable for me. You just never know how your life is going to change and you have to adapt accordingly. I was panicked for a while there but I'm trying to stay positive. There is always a solution. It just may not be the one you expect. I never thought I'd be a single Mom but here I am. I am grateful and excited about the baby. She is worth any sacrifice I have to make. She is my priority now.
I know that we will be OK because we have to be. I just have to be more careful with my money than ever. I've become a little more blunt with telemarketers. I have even less time or patience for marketing spiels these days. I usually tell them "I'm a single Mom on a tight budget! Whatever you're selling, I'm not buying!" and then there's nothing they can say.

With so much on my mind sometimes it's nice to just zone out and escape into a fantasy world for a while. My friend kindly treated me to a matinee of "The Amazing Spiderman." It was amazing! I loved it! I always like superhero movies. The outcast turned hero formula has always been close to my heart. The special effects were incredible. The only embarassing thing was that I cried several times throughout the movie. I think I'm the only one who did. I'm so emotional these days. I was pulling out my tissue again and again. Then in the middle of the movie, in one of the action scenes where Spiderman is battling Lizard Man, I started to feel something happening down below. Uh oh. Pain. Pressure. More than the Braxton Hicks. I got a little scared. Please don't let me go into labour at the movies! My back was aching. It felt like a lead weight was pressing on my uterus and colon. Either the baby was dropping or had just gotten much heavier. Maybe I'd nibbled too much popcorn. Something was definitely going on. Maybe I just had to go to the bathroom. If this was Nature calling, it was more urgent than ever. I hate going to the bathroom in the middle of a movie but I didn't really have a choice. So out I waddled. At least I was alone in the washroom, thank goodness because I had a rather explosive (and noisy) episode in my stall. Sorry, I know, TMI! I had my own action movie going on in there! My body was battling the popcorn. The popcorn was winning...It was a relief to know that it was just my bowels and not the baby. I still got to see the tail end of the Spider-Lizard melee when I returned. Somehow in my absence they moved the fight from the sewer to the school.

It was strange coming out of the theatre afterward. Movies always transport me into another world. It's pure escapism. For those two hours in the dark I forget my own life for a while (until Nature calls to remind me!) Then you leave the dark cold theatre and head out to the hot sunny day and the world looks a little bit surreal. It's somewhat disorienting. I am grateful to my friend for suggesting the movie. Sometimes I need to take a break, mentally and physically from all that I have going on. The movie made me think how the world needs more heroes. There are some of course. You'll hear on the news about a Good Samaritan who rushes to save a stranger. People who stand up for what's right, try to make a difference. It's always good to know that there are good people out there, honest, kind, generous people with integrity. (Then there are people like my ex...Oh well. He did one good thing at least, even though that was accidental -- he gave me this unexpected gift, the miracle of this baby. So I am grateful to him for that.)

I am happy to report that chivalry may not be entirely dead. I've had several guys hold doors open for me lately, step aside to let me through, offer to help me with things. Strangers have been extra nice it seems. One even called me a "pretty Mama" (mind you that was a woman!) I guess my belly is so big now that people see me coming from miles away. I almost feel like a celebrity. "Look at the huge pregnant lady! She might give birth right now!" Or maybe because I've been feeling happier and more energetic I'm radiating a more positive energy and so attracting more favourable responses. I finally managed to get the item I had stood in line for that time at Canadian Tire (I mentioned my little episode of the endless customer service line in "Worrying, waddling, weeping: The Worst Trimester." Things were looking pretty bleak when I wrote that post but it seems everything has turned around now. I'm happier, have a lot more energy and things seem to be working out in my favour.) Even some random positive things and surprises have been happening -- I got my driveway sealed at no charge because they had the wrong address! They couldn't make me pay for it when it was their mistake so now I have a superblack driveway for free! I don't think the asphalt was that dark even when it was first paved. It's something I never would have done myself (I'll be on a very tight budget and cosmetic things for the house would be the very bottom of my priority list. Baby is at the top!) Still it's nice to get an unexpected gift. Those are the best.

Once everything was tidy and organized, I finally did give the house a thorough cleaning as well. And by thorough I mean like never before! In the kitchen for instance I usually just clean the counter and sink. This time I even polished the cupboards. Polished all the appliances (even the toaster.) Scrubbed out the microwave (you don't even want to know how bad it was in there! I think I've cleaned it maybe twice over the years!) Cleaned the inside of the fridge and even the TOP of the fridge (had to use a stepstool to get up there) which I have never done in the 6 1/2 years I've lived here! It felt good to wipe away almost 7 years worth of dust.

I figure the baby is the most important person I've ever brought home and I want everything perfect for her. Plus I know that after she comes I may not have the time or energy to do much aside from looking after her (feeding and changing every few hours from what I hear.) It's strange. A lot of it is probably biology, natural animal instinct, the body knows it's almost time and so kicks in extra reserves of strength to help you get things ready. I didn't have this much energy before I was pregnant! I was a procrastinator and had a hard time pushing myself to get things done. Now I have a massive belly and swollen feet yet I'm crouching down and stretching up to clean the nooks and crannies that I barely knew were there before.

I reorganized the kitchen counter to make room for the baby's whale bath. Most people I have seen bathe their baby by the kitchen sink. I didn't think I had room to do that but I've made room now. It's like the instinct took over and I just knew what to do. I think it's a lot easier having the bath at that level than killing my back trying to bend over in the bathtub or on the floor.

My friend told me that everyone that she knows who had that burst of energy at the end of their pregnancy and went around cleaning went into labour very shortly afterward. So she thinks I could go any time now. "Save some of your strength!" she warned "You're going to need it for labour!" I guess we'll see. Maybe my baby will be early instead of late? Maybe this weekend? Or maybe she'll be right on time on Monday. I was born on a Monday too. "Monday's child is fair of face." She might be a pale little redhaired girl like her Mama...I really don't want her to be late. At least not by more than a day or so if she has to be.

Everyone I talk to has their own pregnancy story/opinion. They even warn you in some of the pregnancy books to ignore what everyone says because there isn't just one way for things to happen. Everyone is different and someone else's experience won't necessarily be yours. One guy said to me "I don't want to scare you but..." (and pretty much anytime someone begins a sentence that way, you should just ignore them because they WILL scare you!) He proceeded to tell me that when his wife was pregnant she went two weeks late which her doctor had said was normal for a first child. So they weren't worrying until toward the end when she couldn't feel the baby move and went to the hospital to find that the baby had been left too long, had all kinds of complications, almost didn't make it and went on to have developmental problems as a result. So I'm definitely telling my doctor at my appointment that if she still thinks I'm going late, let's not leave it too long! I know there are risks to inducing but there are risks to waiting too long as well. Maybe we can pick a backup date for induction so I don't have to worry. I know that when people have a caesarian they can pick their date. I don't want a caesarian but it would be nice to know for certain what day and time it's going to happen rather than waiting and wondering helplessly.

It still boggles my mind that all this is happening. Just a few days until my due date now. It doesn't seem like nine months have gone by. It almost seems like yesterday that I took the pregnancy test and saw that shocking yes. On the other hand, it has been an amazing journey and in some ways feels like a lifetime in itself. I've come so far. I feel so different than I did back in November. And my life is completely different. I didn't know back then that I'd be going through this without a partner but it feels good to be making it on my own. (Mind you, I do have an amazing support system of family and friends that I adore and am so grateful for.)

I'm ready. The nest is ready. Now I just have to wait for my baby bird to hatch!


  1. I don't think I should read blogs before bed because last night I had a dream that I ran into you at a grocery store, you were still very pregnant & you asked if I could babysit Michelle for you on Sunday & I said, "you're not even due until Monday" & you said, "Oh, that's ok, she'll be here on Sunday" & I said, "Ok then..." Now I'm not psychic in any way, shape or form but if you go into labour on Sunday, that will be just too weird!!!

    Amidst all your nesting, don't forget to rest!

    1. Hey there. :) Well I just saw the Doc and she said there was no sign of me going into labour anytime soon. Sunday I may be out of town so hopefully your prophecy was off! She says if I miss my due date she will induce a week from Monday so at least I'll have her by the end of the month. Sigh. I can't imagine another week. Getting really tough!