Early on in the pregnancy, I read this great article about nesting. The author suggested that if President Obama wanted to accomplish his very full agenda he needed to employ a group of third- trimester-pregnant women. These women driven by the insatiable instinct to accomplish tasks NOW would fix the economy, health care and global warming quick and dirty. At the time, I was wallowing in the first trimester and could not see past the idea of leaving the bathroom (I carried those airplane bags around with me - and I used them). This article offered me a ray of hope: eventually I was going to be functioning, not just functioning, but efficient, possibly even productive, uber-productive.
What I failed to notice in the article was that the mothers-to-be weren't just solving the nation's problems; they were doing it desperately to keep the last shards of their sanity from slipping into the abyss. Last night, I lay awake on the verge of panic. How am I going to be ready in time for the baby's arrival? She is coming in 6 weeks. But it could be earlier! She could very easily come in 4 weeks! SOMEONE PANIC WITH ME! EVERYBODY PANIC WITH ME!
Where is that gloriously productive nesting period I was so looking forward to experiencing? Instead, I am frantically composing to-do lists which include tasks like: having my iron count checked, choosing a stroller, copying & filing all of my loose recipes, and going through all of the half used paint cans in the basement to find the matching trim paint to touch up the crown molding. And it has to be done NOW. And I feel no magical boost of energy. Instead, I have a big belly that impedes my ability to bend over; I run out of breath climbing the stairs and my lovely little one is samba-dancing across my bladder.
Then my friend Kim graciously told me: THIS is the nesting instinct.
THIS is not what I had in mind. THIS is not fun. THIS feels like an anxiety attack married an obsessive compulsive disorder and decided to have a baby. [And I just realized that I have to re-organize all my kitchen cabinets, again, because they are messy which means Andrew will never find anything when he's doing the postpartum cooking and he will have to ask me where we keep the salt. And where is that anti-heartburn tea I've been saving for the third trimester? ]
I begin to understand how my friend Aminah spent the first part of her labour re-upholstering her dinning room chairs: it had to be done before the baby could be born. It wasn't that she was smoothly running on superhuman endorphins. She simply got up after each contraction, picked up her nail gun, and resumed her task because it HAD to be done.
I would love to stay and write, but I've got to get back to creating a digital address book, eating lunch and considering which organic, scent-free baby detergent is best. And of course, I need to do this NOW. Perhaps, I'll also write another letter to my old Texas Senator to remind him that universal health care should trump partisan politics and that we should seek alternative holistic approaches to improving the quality of life in Afghanistan.