I've been cleaning out the house. They call this "nesting," which makes it sound sweet and romantic, like a mama cat dragging dish towels to the hidey hole under the stairs. I guess I'm doing all the behaviors that one would call nesting, but it doesn't feel like motherly hormones. It feels like panic, like holy crap, we are not ready for this life upheaval mentally, emotionally, or financially, but at least I can get rid of some of this junk we have lying around. It's sorta like when you have a big paper due, and suddenly cleaning your room is the most important thing.
Pregnancy symptoms in general have not been what I'd hoped. While I would've preferred to have what I imagined were serene nesting instincts, at least stuff is getting done. We built a gate for our fence, the siding is being patched, and someone came to prune our trees. Our Goodwill pile is huge.
The room that we are turning into a nursery was previously our junk room. We always seem to have a junk room, or as a visiting friend once called it, Grandma's Room. We are not full-blown hoarders, but we are definitely accumulators.
A lot of what we have is aspirational or conservation clutter. So much stuff devoted to Someday. This clock is so cool, I will fix it. This fabric is really nice, I will make something out of it. This stationery is lovely, I will write poignant letters on it. This book is important, I will read it and be wise.
My to-read pile is in the nursery. By pile, I mean three bookshelves. I have made huge strides, as the last one used to be two deep. But even so, it makes me sad to look at them all and think that there are some that I will never ever get to. I've been reading hard, even to the detriment to my comprehension sometimes. I post my summaries, you can vouch for me - I read a lot! But it's just not enough.
As we age, our possibilities vanish. At age 7, there still existed a possible future for me as an astronaut. But at some point, that future disappeared because I chose a different one. We take a path to the exclusion of others we might have gone down. This is unavoidable. Some paths disappear just by our aging, and not picking a path is still picking one.
My husband and I have chosen the path of parenting. As paths go, it's highly recommended. People who are farther down this path look back at those at the crossroads and wonder what they're waiting for. Maybe by this time next year, so will we.
Right now, it just seems really uncertain and abstract. I feel like I'm giving up so many of my possible futures for the future of someone I've never met. So when I'm going through another pile of junk and having to decide what to let go, I resent the baby for forcing me to make the choice. And then when I hold something up to my husband to ask if he really needs it, he resents me. This nesting stuff sucks.
I know that this is total selfishness. It's not like I'm sad because the baby is taking away from my time feeding the homeless. The things I am clinging to are just things, and those unfulfilled futures are way less abstract than the being head-butting me in the gut right now. I have had an amazing amount of freedom in my life, a freedom that would be unheard of the vast majority of humans in history. I didn't even use it all that well. I know all that.
I'm just trying to transition from a life where I only had to decide for myself to one where I have to think about someone else first, all the time. I felt ambivalent about having children before I got pregnant. I guess I expected to feel more excited by now. One more pregnancy symptom that's not all it's cracked up to be.