Why is it when a couple finds themselves pregnant they decide that while they’re in the midst of creating another human being it also makes perfect sense to move? Or remodel their homes? Or take a new job that’s halfway across the country? In every class that I’ve ever taught there is at least one, but often two or three, couples who find themselves in this exact situation. Some reasons are super obvious – all of a sudden your cozy one bedroom studio apartment looks incredibly cramped and it’s hard to imagine how another human being can fit, no matter how tiny they are at the beginning.
I’m even guilty of a remodel during my first pregnancy! But let me be quick to point out that my reason was real and necessary: I had to pee! You might have heard that pregnant folks pee more than the average bear, but you have no idea. The actual amount of pee that is produced per bathroom break is not that much – it’s just that you have to go all the time! It kind of takes over your life.
My husband and I live in a house that’s over 100 years old. There was only one bathroom in our place – downstairs – and we slept upstairs. No big deal when we first moved in! But after we got pregnant? It meant that every night, sometimes 2-3 times or more, I would have to walk downstairs to go to the bathroom and then walk back upstairs to go back to bed. At about three months into the pregnancy I decided that we absolutely had to put in a 2nd bathroom upstairs. In our bedroom… three feet away from our bed.
And that’s how the decision to move or remodel gets done during pregnancy. Something that before you thought would eventually get done has to get done – now. Because there’s a baby coming, that’s why! Doesn’t everyone see the immediacy of this situation?! Our thoughts circle around this central idea: “The baby’s coming – we need a new job, a bigger house, more money. We need to live closer to family, farther away from family. We need a 2nd bathroom – now. Because the baby is coming, everything is going to change and – we’re not ready.” It is, at its heart, an extreme form of nesting. A desire on the couple’s part to be ready, to try and make their home feel ready. That it will be enough. That they will be enough.
Sometimes these “moves” are less of a big deal. Like mine – we didn’t ever leave the house, we just slept downstairs in the guest room until the upstairs was complete (which was fine by me as I was closer to that bathroom, anyway!) But last month I met a couple who will be moving from Portland, Oregon to Florida in about 4 weeks for a new job. We spent a lot of time discussing how to set themselves up for a successful postpartum period. Consider what it’s like for a new family, away from everything that is familiar and comfortable. They used to know where to shop, where to get their coffee, and their friends with kids used to live nearby, and then – poof – it’s all gone! They have a brand new baby and they’re in a completely different city. I feel for these parents, I really do. I couldn’t imagine not having the familiar to comfort me, and my community to hold me up through this huge life transition.
So sometimes, it makes me wonder: What’s the reason for the move during this pregnancy? And, in the end will it be worth it? A larger house is something that most couples find useful as their family expands – but at what cost? Is it possible to remodel, or share rooms and stay put within your familiar?
Sometimes all the moving around distracts you from the real focus of this pregnancy: a baby is coming – and soon. Nine months sounds like such a long time (until you are pregnant!) But in reality, it moves at breakneck speed!
During those 40 weeks of pregnancy, maybe the emphasis should not be on moving out or moving away to bigger and better – but instead, moving in, moving toward the here and now and what already is.
This transformation from couple to family is a big one. It’s scary for most people. And that’s okay. Making decisions about bigger houses, jobs that will provide, a 2nd bathroom are all responsible and important decisions that can have a positive impact on this pregnancy and birth. But make sure to also move toward those feelings of being scared. Maybe move a little closer to each other. Share those thoughts and feelings as they come up – not just the fun ones, but the not-so-fun ones, too. Make time in your life to move together so that you can create space within yourselves and within your relationship for this new little person to arrive.
And you just might find that when you move in this way, that the house is already enough, the job is already enough.
You are already enough.
When you were pregnant the first time, did you remodel, move or take on a new job?