Nesting: Is It Real? A Story From A Dettol Obsessed Mom
If there is one thing I am certain of in this life it is that half of the story’s you hear about pregnancy are false. Like the glow, you know? I never had that shit. Utter bollocks.
The nesting instinct is another. That’s the kind of crap I thought you only read about in books, the same books that promise the elusive glow. The rubbish ones that genuinely make you feel a bit shit. That is until it happened to me with my forth and final child, Edward. (no, not the glow. We have established I did not f*cking glow!)
I’ve spoken before about how little Ed is so different from my other children and his pregnancy was no exception. Sure, with the other three I felt the need to clean the house to lessen the load when the babies arrived but nothing compared to the rabid insanity that was the cleaning mechine I became when pregnant with Ed.
It started off around the 34 week mark when I was suddenly alerted to how glorious Dettol smelt. We always have a bottle of it in the bathroom, it’s actually pretty excellent for a super cleansing bath (it is also used to prevent prickly heat too, apparently) but I’d never acknowledged it’s scent before. I remember picking up a nearly empty bottle off the shelf and having a sniff.
I was smitten. It was almost like falling in love for the first time all over again, like I’d finally found what I’d been looking for my entire life without even realising I needed it. And this is where the nesting started. I had an overwhelming urge to clean. Everything.
I started buying bottles and bottles of the stuff. Gradually, the bottles got bigger in volume until I was buying the ones that cost the same as a small car. A bottle a day become two. Two became three…
Anything that could be cleaned was cleaned with Dettol, I even poured it into handy spray bottles so I could use it as air freshener. I cleaned the bathroom with it, the mirrors, skirting, wardrobe doors, floors, windows, furniture, the kitchen, the cooker. Everything. My entire house basically smelt like a giant toilet, smack bang in the middle of a pine forest.
I still haven’t figured out if my cleaning frenzy was due to a serious (very real) nesting instinct or because I was genuinely obsessed with the smell of Dettol. I craved it that much (literally craved!) that I’d buy extra bottles just to breathe in the scent. I remember locking myself in the bathroom, allowing it to fill up with steam whilst I sniffed the bottle like a rabid drug addict desperate for my next fix. It filled me with joy and the kind of euphoria you only got from hot, pleasurable sex. It was the single most, weirdest experience of my life. Even more strange than my craving for ice cream on toast in my second pregnancy.
But still, the cleaning continued, I’m certain if those hygiene people from the health and safety council were to have come round and inspected my home for germs, they wouldn’t have found a single strand of DNA of any living organism imaginable. It was that clean. It wasn’t just the scrub-cleaning or the Dettol obsession that took over though, I also had to organise everything in and out of sight.
I was borderline OCD about the order of cupboards and wardrobes, everything had to have a place. I’d often stay up late into the night ripping out the contents of my kitchen and putting everything back just so. Poor Tommy, he must have gone through hell. He’s not excatly the neatest person in the world and his tardiness was often grounds for me to end the relationship right there and then:
“why can’t you just clean as you go? Why have you left a spoon out? The cheese doesn’t go there, it goes here; precisely two inches to the left. That’s it! If you’re going to be such a slob, you can leave.”
Yes. Poor Tommy indeed. I was a complete, irrational knob.
So yes, the Nesting Instinct is most definitely very real. It isn’t just made up stories for the shit books, although the books paint a much nicer, less insane picture of what the reality is really like. However, the outcome is still the same; cleaning and organising become an almost obsessive pass time, something that simply has to be done as you can not function until it’s finished. That spec of dust on the fireplace will bug you for days if it isn’t sorted immediately and what example are you setting for your unborn child if you don’t go Marie Kondoon your sock drawer?
Another thing that is clearly very real is an obsessive addiction to cleaning products and cravings for certain scents. Obviously this isn’t mentioned in the shit parenting – “you’re gonna glow” – books because then I’d be normal. And there is absolutely nothing normal about sniffing Dettol alone in a locked, steamed up bathroom.
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FYI: Edward is now nearly 3 years old. And guess what? I now f*cking hate the smell of Dettol!