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Nine Months and Nesting

Many pregnancy information websites and books suggest the nesting instinct is a sure sign of impending labor. While not all women experience the nesting instinct, it’s typically described as a sudden distinctive urge to clean, tidy, and organize in preparation for baby’s arrival.

I’m nine months pregnant.

My house is a mess.

Where is my nesting instinct?

My daughters might say I’ve been a bit more insistent that they keep their rooms picked up and the clutter under control. However, pointing out shoes left in odd places, wet towels on the bathroom floor, or dirty clothes dropped three feet from the hamper isn’t something new. And trying to keep up with the inundation of 14,000 pieces of paper sent home from two different schools is an annual event.

So where is my nesting instinct? Why hasn’t it happened yet?

August proved to be quite a stressful month for me at the office, with numerous important projects piled up one after another, overlapping each other with exhibits, receptions, presentations, and an unexpected oral history opportunity thrown into the mix. All of this took place within seven working days, and scheduling the preparation for them in the three weeks prior proved daunting.

Did that count as my nesting?

I doubted it. I usually thrive on that type of adrenaline-inducing panic, even when I’m not pregnant. I don’t schedule it on purpose, but when it happens I kick it into high gear and somehow it all turns out okay.

Last night I was resting on the couch, hand piecing a bit of the baby’s quilt, wondering why I had no interest in cleaning the bathroom or organizing the medicine cabinet. My husband sat down beside me and asked me what I’m doing at the office all day, now that these big projects are over.

And it occurred to me, as I described my September “to-do” list, that my nesting instinct is taking place at the office and not at home. I’m bustling through a lengthy stack of little things that must be done before I take maternity leave. Tying up loose ends. Weeding out overstuffed files. Creating long notes for my assistant, so she knows what to do if someone calls about this or that while I’m on maternity leave. Answering correspondence. Dotting i’s and crossing t’s. Getting all my ducks in a row.

So yes, it appears that I do have a nesting instinct. By settling up my accounts at the office, I’ll be able to better focus on enjoying the time I’ll have at home with my newborn.

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