It wasn’t until I had my first baby that I truly understood why we “feather the nest” before baby arrives. Logically, it makes sense, there’s a lot to prepare and plan. Emotionally though, the process of building a nursery is as much about preparing the parents for the tsunami of change as it is preparing for the practical things, like stocking the closet with a month’s worth of diapers.
There are a lot of second time mothers who say they let the process of feathering the nest fall by the wayside the second time around. You’re running around after a toddler and sometimes you can go all day forgetting the fact that you’re carrying a baby inside you. I like to think this relaxed approach to the nursery is a direct reflection of how far we’ve come as parents. At this point, you know what you’re getting into… or you know that you can’t control the kind of baby you’re blessed with no matter how much prep work you put in.
Our second born was, in all honesty, a surprise. So, I was constantly reminding myself that this baby was, in fact, coming, whether we were prepared or not. August was almost 9 months when I found out we were pregnant and at that point, the newborn stage was still pretty fresh in our minds. I knew what I was doing, so the planning fell by the wayside and soon enough, we were 28 weeks and I realized the countdown was on. We decided to transform our office (remember the blue room?) into a nursery by changing up the color to a really fabulous hue: Privilege Green (HGSW3253).
Around 30 weeks into my pregnancy, I was hit HARD by the nesting bug. I loved how the green walls made the room feel so peaceful and rich. And once I began to buy baby girl clothes, I realized that peachy pink would be the PERFECT secondary color for this space. But at the time it was a storage space for all the clothes, toys and junk we needed to either get rid of or take to Goodwill. So I spent my time making a moodboard and planning which pieces I wanted to bring home. I went to 39 weeks with August, so I was planning for something similar with baby number two. I figured I had time to install a big storage bench (using this DIY tutorial) with an upholstered topper in a lovely fabric. I scoured the internet for gliders and took my time finding the perfect sconces. And the crib? Oh, I had all the time in the world to order that piece of furniture.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. I went into pre-labor at 31 weeks. I was in the hospital for four days and then ordered to be on bedrest until 36 weeks. So much for getting the majority of the nursery done between 30-36 weeks! I began finishing the nursery from my hospital bed; I reached out to a couple of our favorite partners that we’ve worked with in the past. I tapped School House Electric for these charming lighting sconces above the crib, they also supplied us with these beautiful botanical prints and a wonderful canvas organizer. I also reached out to The Citizenry for all things organizational and comfort-oriented. They supplied several adorable baskets, a pair of terracota vases, a rich leather ottoman, a pretty wicker hamper, and a dreamy blush throw blanket that I love to cuddle up in with Birdie. Finally, we added a touch of feminine whimsy to the space with a few hand-picked items from Pehr Designs: their Meadow nursery gift set, plus a couple bins for keeping organized.
This entire space ended up being put together by my amazing family. Joe’s parents helped clean out the room the weekend I was home from the hospital, my mom and dad came up and installed the lights and built the crib. My mom did loads upon loads of laundry and my in-laws helped Joe with August. And then at 35 weeks, I went into labor.
This little peanut came when she wanted to, regardless if her room was perfectly ready for her or not. As we prepped for the c-section, I made a running list of everything that hadn’t been done yet. I mean, we hadn’t even packed our hospital bag! I realized as hard as I tried, I wasn’t going to be ready for this baby girl on my own. It was going to take not one, not two, not even three members of my family, but almost everyone. They say it takes a village and it is true! We called our family in the middle of the night before surgery and they made plans to come up to Minneapolis. My brother, his fiance and my sister all pitched in to finish painting trim work and built the bench per my blog post (good job, guys) so when we came home, the space was thankfully not full of IKEA boxes. At first, I felt bad about hijacking everyone’s weekend, and even worse when August gave nine people the stomach flu.
As a mother, it often feels like we should bear all the burden, that all the negative or inconvenient parts of parenting should fall on our shoulders, maybe because we’re the ones physically bringing the baby into the world. For better or worse, having a preemie baby forced me to give up being the sole provider for my baby in those early weeks. From the nurses who cared for her, to the mothers who donated their breastmilk, to my husband who held her tiny hand as they whisked her out of the operating room and into the NICU. In a small way, the way the nursery came together is a reflection of how I want to raise my babies: with a strong group of people around them to support, love, and nurture them, sharing their experiences and giving them a glimpse of their world through their own eyes.
Nurseries often reflect the kind of relationship parents hope to have with their children, despite the fact that we can only control our actions and reactions, not that of our children. As the hours, days, and weeks go by, we realize all the nesting was less about preparing for the practical parts of parenthood and more about making room for the new person entering into your life. It represents both the physical, mental, and emotional space required to love somebody so unconditionally, that you’re able to give 110% to that squirming, 7 lb, pooping machine 24/7.
Now that we’re settling into our routine and I’m still on maternity leave, I’ve enjoyed finding some normalcy in our routine, out of the hospital. But every time I walk into Birdie’s nursery, I see all the people who helped bring her home.
Sources: Crib from Babyletto, Glider from West Elm, Pehr Bins, Pehr Quilted Blanket, Pehr Crib Sheet, The Citizenry Engobe Vessels Set, The Citizenry Blush Throw Pillow, The Citizenry Blush Throw Blanket, The Citizenry Storage Basket, The Citizenry Basket and Hamper, The Citizenry Leather Ottoman, Hand & Hearth by Magnolia Dollhouse, Schoolhouse Electric Scones, Schoolhouse Electric Prints, Schoolhouse Electric Mirror, Schoolhouse Electric Canvas Organizer, Urban Ears Speaker, Dolls from Mer Mag, Target, Jelly Cat, Artwork from St. Franks and Wit & Delight Shop (Coming Soon).
BY Kate Arends - February 6, 2018
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.