If you feel the sudden urge to clean out your pantry and re-organize your closet, you are not alone. Spring is in full swing with new foliage on the trees and flowers in full colorful bloom, we often feel the inspiration and indescribable need to re-order our houses, manicure our lawn bushes and change out our winter wardrobe. This time of year we are surrounded by Spring Cleaning and Declutter magazines at every turn of the grocery cart. What you may feel as an expecting woman, however, is this Spring Cleaning incentive is especially super charged as it is coupled with your innate desire for nesting as you approach your due date.
The nesting urge is a very normal instinct in many animals including cats, dogs, birds and even hamsters. We humans are no exception to this primitive survival instinct to prepare in advance for a safe and thriving environment for our baby to ensure their health and comfort. We intuitively know that we will be completely swamped and physically recuperating from our baby’s delivery in the days and weeks following our baby’s birth. If you have other young children this “nesting” affect may be multiplied to see to it that their living spaces, logistics and meals are all in order as well. There is no accident that pregnant women are often considered a little hormonal or neurotic as their due date approaches and luckily society cuts us a little slack to indulge our cravings and open a few doors for us and smile kindly at our nesting urges, even if our boss thinks we should be doing overtime to make up for the maternity leave we are about to embark on.
So what do you do to deal with the nesting cravings and elevate your swollen feet at the same time? For one, delegate. There is a lot you can do on the phone and computer to rally the troupes for your days and weeks ahead when you will be busy with your newborn and recovering from your delivery. Go ahead and do that grocery shopping for non-perishables and cook ahead anything you can freeze as you get close to your due date. Soups and stews, chili, meat-loaf and lasagnas are all great choices to make ahead. It really will make life easier.
An added benefit is that literally anything will taste good, that’s right, anything. If you were plagued with morning sickness for nine months of pregnancy, you will find it dissipates pretty much the moment you have your baby. Suddenly those scrambled eggs look and taste good and your body is in need to all the protein it can get to strengthen you. If you are nursing, you may find that you have double your appetite but the good news is that you are burning through those extra calories with your milk production. So, enjoy it while you can!
Another bit of advice is go head and tell your friends and neighbors your due date and any specific help you might need to those who offer. If you have younger kids that need carpooling, then by all means get those rides setup and all those contacts on your phone (and on your husband’s phone and emergency list with notes about who does what). Gladly accept any meals offered to you during your recovery and if someone wants to help with the tidying up, check your pride on the doorstep and let them help, particularly if they are not the judgmental type. Generally most people will cut a new mom and dad a lot of slack on pickup and house cleanliness in the weeks and months after a newborn is brought home, particularly if they themselves have kids.
If you can afford a cleaning service then treat yourself to one before your due date and book one a few weeks after you have your baby (you can even tell them to quote you a price on skipping certain rooms if you don’t want to wake the baby or leave your bed). It is well worth the extra money for your peace of mind. If you need help on meals, look into a meal service or nearby take out and delivery restaurants, put together a list for yourself and your husband. It’s not your new way of life, just a way to allow you to focus and save energy on what’s important, your baby and your health.
Finally have your hospital bag packed well in advance with everything you will need for your stay including an outfit for the trip home and a baby sleeper for your newborn. Remember you will most likely need to wear maternity clothing home as you will not be in your pre-pregnancy state days after having your baby! You will also want something nonrestrictive in case you have a C-Section and plenty of room in the bust as that part of you will likely only get bigger. If you are nursing, you will want to pack a nursing top with plenty of belly coverage as it takes a little while for that postpartum belly to subside.
By all means do your Spring Cleaning with zeal and joy but do not go climbing up any ladders or test your balancing skills to get to those hard to reach places. You can outsource that dusting of the top of the kitchen cabinets to your hubby or any tall person who happens to be visiting your house in the next few weeks, they will understand when they see your nine month belly!