“You want me to do what to the garage? I thought we were just getting baby items ready right now.” Sound familiar? Often we think of the need to “nest” or organize and ready our living space during pregnancy in preparation for a new baby as something to do with just baby. Nope! But you’re going to support as many DIY, renovation and organization projects as possible before that baby is born because it’s extremely important. In this post, I’ll tell you why.
It Can Help With Anxiety
The more mama-to-be is feeling stressed and anxious, the higher her chances of developing anxiety attacks associated with perinatal mood and anxiety disorder while pregnant and later in postpartum (which is defined as years after birth). In general, mamas have a gigantic pre-baby to-do list rotating around in their minds so anything you can do to help alleviate some of that is huge. Something as simple as replacing an air filter and hanging a mirror — or maybe odd like painting the walls in the garage — could seem unimportant to you but matters a lot to her which makes it extremely important right now. Helping check items off mental to-do lists and reassuring her that you have her back and she has your support in all this can really help with some of the anxious feelings she’s having.
You may not be a fan of the giant workload ahead of you but when all nesting projects are done, everything is suddenly more organized and everyone feels relieved. Since nesting isn’t just about baby things, this means the project could be in your favor too! My husband wasn’t a fan of my getting rid of our giant garage wire rack shelves to paint the walls and hang up tool hooks at first, either. But when it was done, he realized how much nicer everything looked and that it was easier to grab the tools he needed (which then helped us both with the other projects I had for him). I also wanted to change out our front door lock for a Nest/Yale lock because due to pregnancy brain I had lost my keys and liked the idea of being able to let visitors in from my phone if the newborn is asleep. We’re big fans of Nest so my husband was excited to set that up, along with the Nest Hello doorbell (it has the option to turn the bell sound off in the house whenever we’d like if the baby is sleeping).
The nesting period that creeps in during the second and third trimester is extremely important — that’s why there’s a term for it, why most women experience it during pregnancy, and why so many pregnancy books talk about it. Feeling prepared and in a safe, ready space is essential to a healthy birth experience. Labor can be held up if a mother is feeling like she isn’t ready yet — there’s more to be done for her to feel supported and in a safe space and prepared for what life will be like once everything changes after the baby is born. No one wants that.
A dragged out labor might be painful and emotionally draining if mom is feeling ill-prepared. By not only getting the baby items themselves ready but getting around to organizing spaces and fixing things that haven’t been fixed yet, moms-to-be can feel prepared rather than as if those things will never get done once the baby is brought home. There’s also something therapeutic about the sense of accomplishment one feels after organizing, fixing or creating something. I was already a mom of several during my last pregnancy and worried I’d never get anything done again once the baby arrived because my tot is a non-stop tornado so it was important to me that I did everything I’d been wanting to do. This meant that I went around the house and painted all the marks on the walls, organized the pantry, added curtains to our dining room in place of the broken blinds we had on the screen door, changed the doorbell, changed the entryway hall tree, changed out the kids’ play kitchen, overhauled our garage to make an indoor rainy days play area, switched the guest room with my office and my son’s room then re-designed them … the list goes on. But, I needed to do it all to feel ready, so it was all extremely important.
How can you support your partner through the nesting phase? What’s the most unbelievable thing you were asked to do to prepare for baby?
Shari created Navigating Parenthood so that expecting, new and new parents can find helpful gentle parenting & eco-focused resources as well as virtual & in-person support, services, events, and classes. As a mom of 5, postpartum educator & doula, lactation educator counselor, breastfeeding specialist, infant massage instructor, ICST, and baby-led sleep & well-being specialist she's always learning something new. Join the journey via social at @NavigatingParenthood
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