Nesting has got to be one of my favorite pre-birth phenomenon! I am always giddy to hear about my clients’ hours of stuff purging, fanatical organizing, and the undeniable urge to deep clean ev-er-y-thing. Better still is a few afternoons devoted to meal prep, packing your pantry, and freezer feeding for easy, homemade eats after baby’s birth. This instinctual urge can be a sign that labor is nearing and it often drives expectant parents to ready their nest for baby’s arrival.
Birds do it, primates do it, and many other mammals nest as well. And guess what?! Your doula nests too!
After attending my first few births as a doula I started catching onto my own, intrinsic pre and post-birth rituals. I found that in the weeks leading up to a client’s estimated due date I am devoting a bit more time to tidying and housework (we don’t live in a pigsty but, I’m definitely not the most domestic of divas). The laundry is under better control than usual; I am sure to not let the pantry get too skimpy and meals are planned, often prepped, and leftovers are packed to grab and go. The bathroom is clean… and, trust me, this is a big one if you’re nesting nesting as the bathroom is a great place to hang during labor!
At the root of this doula nesting is a desire, much like expectant parents experience, to feel as well prepared as possible. A tangible and functional way to help ready the household and make the coming transitions (be they big ones like welcoming a new member of the family or less transformative, albeit kind of disruptive, ones like mom being away for perhaps 24+ hours) as seamless as possible. Honestly there’s a bit of self-preservation mixed in too- I don’t need our awesome childcare wondering what the heck that smell is.
My nesting before a client’s birth also offers a little added calm, allowing me to be even more present mentally and emotionally for my wonderful clients. I’m not worried about whether baby B has enough clean diapers or if my husband will be able to find something healthy and relatively easy to prepare for the family to eat. I wonder if nesting prior to birth offers this same, sometimes subconscious peace of mind? I think that knowing we’ve prepped a bit might allow us to sink a bit more effortlessly and gracefully into that sacred birthing head space. A space that requires we not be concerned about that which is ultimately not all that important to the miraculous task at hand.