Preparing a Place
All mamas want to have a place to have their baby and to put their baby after birth. We call it “the nesting instinct”. In fact, all mammals do it, and though we don’t think of it very often, we are mammalian! Humans have live babies, and nourish them with milk, just like elephants and cats do!
Now, I have been a doula for moms who take nesting to a whole new level: having a pristine nursery that has the best of the best in gadgets and questionably “necessary” things, things, things for baby. Truthfully, babies don’t need a lot of things. The basic needs, to be warm, fed, loved and safe are the most important.
I have also been a doula for a mom who was quite afraid to prepare a place for baby, in case she did not bring baby home. Fear of something terrible happening held her back from her natural instinct of getting what we used to call a “layette”* ready. We spent a lot of time in prenatal visits talking this through. Eventually she did have the basics, and her mom to help her, which made a huge difference.
*(though we don’t use this archaic term much anymore, here is a link to what Wikipedia includes in a basic layette: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Layette)
Some of the basic tendencies of moms-to-be in the last trimester are seemingly mundane and even boring, but there is an inner checklist that pops up in mama’s brain to check off before she can relax and let baby come. Things such as cleaning, cooking, shopping to restock the fridge, laundering baby clothes, packing her bag for the hospital, etc. etc. If you haven’t got the urge to nest in the last few weeks before birth, begin anyway! Try to take a week off before your due date (if possible) to have that quality time to just putter, to prepare, and to pray.
Honestly, one has to take one’s hat off to Mary, Jesus’ mother, for winging it when it came to a place to have her baby! All that St. Luke tells us in his gospel, a few short words for a huge event, is this:
“When they arrived in Bethlehem, Mary went into labour, and there she gave birth to her firstborn son. After wrapping the newborn baby in strips of cloth, they laid him in a feeding through since there was no available space in any upper room in the village”. (Luke 2:6-7, The Passion Translation)
Yikes! Now that’s a bare minimum layette!
Did you know that Jesus himself said he was going to prepare a place for us? It’s in John 14:1-3
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms…. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you with me that you may also be where I am.
What a beautiful thought, that Jesus is ‘nesting’ in heaven for us, preparing a place for us to go when we are reborn in to his heavenly kingdom. What a great thing to meditate on: Jesus as a loving parent is telling us this so we won’t be troubled, anxious or worried in this life here.
It’s a luxury to have time off for some moms to nest and rest late in pregnancy. If at all possible, try to take at least a few days off before your due date, to prepare mentally, spiritually and practically for baby. And say ‘YES’ to offers of help! Have friends make food for your freezer, to your preference and dietary needs, and even do some grocery shopping for you. Take naps and listen to soothing music, preparing your heart and mind for the big event. Prepare a place…. It’s in you to do, and natural too.