Recently, I have started to waddle a little when I walk throughout the house. Along with this typical, end-of-pregnancy symptom, I have noticed a few other tell-tale signs that my pregnancy is drawing to a close. If you’ve ever been pregnant, chances are high you’ve experienced what I am going through, too. It’s called nesting and it’s characterized by a weird urge to tidy and clean in preparation for a brand new baby and is often accompanied by some out of character or extremely domestic behavior.
Not all pregnant women experience nesting, but those of us who do know that the urge often gets stronger and stronger the closer we get to our due date. I’ve joked with my friends that my crazy nesting comes in phases, and only intensifies over time. Perhaps you have also experienced these 7 phases of nesting?
The loss of a single puzzle piece is a sure sign you are the worst mom in the world.
1. The “Who am I? What have I become? ” phase
For those of us who are naturally on the messier side (raises hand), the first few days of nesting are strangely obvious. All of sudden, you are making your bed more than once a week and your dirty socks are landing somewhere near the hamper instead of gathering on the bathroom floor. Typically, this first phase of nesting includes the shock of experiencing an enjoyment of picking up after yourself or others for the first time ever.
2. The socially acceptable phase
During this phase of nesting, mom learns to channel her weird itch to clean and organize into expected behaviors like decorating the nursery and washing and folding baby clothes. Onlookers may notice an increased frequency of nursery inspiration being posted on your Pinterest and spouses should intervene upon hearing the words “annual baby blowout sale.”
3. The KonMari phase
Once mom’s belly starts to get obnoxiously large, she may experience this phase a friend of mine dubbed the KonMari phase. Except, instead of tossing out anything that doesn’t bring you joy, you might find you are throwing away anything that requires you to perform the impossibly uncomfortable task of bending over to pick it up. Older siblings will watch carefully for this phase and keep their shit off the floor if they know what's best for them.
4. The “it’s not clean if it hasn’t had a third wipe down" phase
In a sudden change of perspective, germs transform from something kind of gross and only slightly worrisome into the arch-enemy of your unborn child. Anything you don't clean yourself is now the nemesis determined to infect your beautiful baby with hand, foot and mouth, staphylococcus aureus or the flu. This phase is characterized by obsessive wipe downs and over purchasing of Clorox products.
5. The 8-pound lasagna phase
Most likely accompanied by bulk purchases of frozen meat, DVRing "Extreme Couponing"and midnight urges to Google “101 Frozen Crockpot Meals,” this phase is best recognized by squirrel-like stockpiling of frozen meals.
6. The “I’m not a good mom if I can’t find this missing puzzle piece” phase
During this phase of nesting, things transition from a little strange to straight up alarming. One morning, in a routine reorganization of the toy box, you may notice a puzzle piece or a single block is missing. Cue a panicked search of the entire house followed by the delusional realization that your ability to parent a newborn probably rests entirely on your ability to keep track of every damn toy in your house, and the loss of a single puzzle piece is a sure sign you are the worst mom in the world.
For many moms, the nesting stops with obsessive cleaning and reorganization but it takes a truly special kind of expectant mom to reach the level of hormone-fueled, crazed nesting that causes them to seriously consider going off-the-grid before their baby arrives. Fueled by anxiety over raising a child in a corrupt world with a deteriorating environment, Mom may plant enough green beans for a small army of toddlers, try to talk her partner into using family cloth or begin researching how to use wool to create clothing for her family.