Nesting revisioned

Posted on June 5, 2012


By Clarissa

“Make a little birdhouse in your soul” is a line of an old They Might Be Giants song. The song is weird, like most of their music, but this one line came floating back to me from the vault of college music listening memories. It has become the theme music for the current chapter of the story God is writing across the tablet of my life.

New urges are emerging in me. I’ve always enjoyed cultivating the different spheres of “home life,” but domestic inclination are at an all time high.

Nesting instinct refers to an instinct or urge in pregnant animals to prepare a home for the upcoming newborn, or in humans specifically, it is commonly characterized by a strong urge to clean and organize one’s home and is one reason why women who are expecting a baby often reorganize, arrange, and clean the house and surroundings. (wikipedia)

Every woman experiences this phenomenon differently, and some barely at all. Even in developing countries where picking out nursery colors and rearranging the tupperware drawer are foreign concepts, the urge is still channeled into cleaning and preparing the humble space they do have. There is a multimillion dollar industry in the US aimed to capitalize off this maternal instinct. Entire sections of department stores are dedicated to nursery furniture and baby room decor. There is even a company called “Nesting” which prides itself on being, “The premier destination for baby and children’s interior design.”

Even if we were not moving to Kenya, we would likely never be able to afford most of the baby room ensembles that I regularly see posted to Pinterest. My baby will never have a matching furniture set, let alone anything from Pottery Barn Kids. And I am totally ok with that. However, our current situation prevents me from doing any kind of nesting. We are in transitional housing, have been living out of a few large suitcases for the past 4 months and will continue this vagabond-like existence for a few more months yet, hauling our belongings with us as we move about in the process of settling to life in Kenya. While the simplicity of it is somewhat freeing, nesting within these circumstances is practically impossible. My urge to nest is like a golden retriever who, having been cooped up all day and  let into a big field to run about, soon discovers he is on a very short leash. Ugh.

Like the golden retriever, I keep pulling on my leash, aching to fulfill these nesting desires, but alas, I can only repack and reorganize our suitcases so many times!

The Author of this story has had something else in mind for me. A few weeks ago, He began to wisper to me, through various things I was reading, that He had a different kind of nesting in mind for me. Rather than funnel my energy into cultivating our living space, it is my heart that needs renovations and preparations for Baby Girl. God is making it clear to me that while it is not wrong to desire to prepare a home for our baby, at this juncture in our lives what our baby really needs is a mama who is not clinging to having control over her life. She needs a mama who can experience peace in unexpected circumstances. She needs a mama who trusts that even in the midst of sleepless nights and unfamiliar surroundings, and 19 hours of airline travel at 7 mo pregnant, that all things are being worked out for her good.

After we arrive in Kenya in the middle of July, we will be immersed in a month orientation away from the city. When we return from that, there is about 5 weeks until Baby Girl’s due date. It all feels like a whirlwind and I know that without the nesting that needs to happen in my heart, I am destined to be frustrated, anxious and overall neither happy or pleasant to be around.

I am so thankful that such renovations can take place as I remember the Good News and cling to it.