I need to address something. I’m going to sound horrible. I’m fairly certain that this post is going to be flagged by CPS and that everyone in the world is going to think that I’m a cold, frigid, ice queen of a woman. They will fear for the fetuses still protected from my indifference by the thick walls of my uterus. Were we in sixteenth century Germany, I would certainly be chased through the town with pitchforks and burned at one stake or another. Heaven knows those people wouldn’t be caught dead without a stake at the ready.
That being said: Nesting. It’s supposed to be an instinct. I may be a cynic, but I’m not a believer in the premise that humans actually have instincts. Not the way that animals have instincts. Not anymore. It basically comes down to an argument between nature and nurture and, while I understand that babies exhibit reflexive behaviors, I think that we begin to exhibit responses based on learning and experience from the early days of infancy.
So why does everyone still believe that humans have “instincts?” Why does everyone insist that I have a “mothering instinct?”
Oh, don’t worry, they’ll say. You may not think you’ll know what to do, but your mothering instincts will kick in the moment you’re holding your little baby in your arms. Now, I realize that I’m going to lose some support here in the next few sentences, but…um…bullshit. That’s right. I’m calling bullshit on the blind faith in the fact that some previously dormant neuron in my brain will activate immediately upon the expulsion of my children from my body. Argument for human instinct has the same strength of premise as argument for the existence of “God.”
Uh oh. Bye bye, believers. I tend to chase them off fairly quickly. But please understand that it’s not that I dislike people who believe in things like instinct and “God” and reiki and bigfoot and UOs. Hell, I love thinking about all of those things. And I get why people believe in them. Trust me, skepticism is not for the weak-at-heart. Accepting that uncertainty is the only certainty is like jumping in the ocean for a float wearing a chum suit and no life vest while your boat drifts away into the sunset. It would make anyone a bit mad. Shit, I’m sure it’s made me a bit mad. But in the end, for me, it’s the saner option because at least I know that I don’t believe in anything falsely.
Okay. Too philosophical. Whether or not you believe in instinct is really the question here and, if you do, then you’re going to find this entire post flawed based on my initial premise that humans do not possess instincts. So if you’re not on board at this point then there’s really no point to keep reading. If you’re still hanging in there, then come with me one step farther down the rabbit hole.
So. Yesterday, I posted a status update on Facebook that I had finally gotten off my ass and done some laundry, dishes, and started dinner. The first response was from someone suggesting that I was “nesting.” Ugh. Gag. I fucking hate that term to begin with. I used to smoke Camel cigarettes and stay up all night watching slasher movies. Okay? I used to snort painkillers and hang out with felons. Seriously. I’m not bragging. I’m saying that my lifestyle was not one that included washing and rewashing baby clothes because of some hardwired desire for my child to be born into perfection. It was a bad lifestyle. I’m glad I no longer live that way. But the idea of me “nesting” is still one that I find abhorrent, no matter how reformed I’ve become. It makes me feel icky. I don’t want people thinking I’m that girl.
That girl. Let me tell you about that girl. That girl puts diapers on a stuffed monkey, dresses said primate in her unborn child’s infant clothing, then poses the poor creature in the crib and stroller and changing table, takes pictures, and posts them on Facebook. Okay. Now I love that girl. That girl is a real girl who is on my friends list, and she’s a darling, sweet, kindhearted girl who has since had her child and no longer plays dress up with stuffed animals. But that, folks, is nesting. It’s absolute crazy sauce. My day of tackling the laundry pile that prevents me from accessing my downstairs bathroom, my washing of Mount Dirty Dishes on the plains of Kitchen Counter, that is not nesting.
And I explained this to the person who suggested that it was. No, I said, I was not nesting I was just trying to make up for the laziness that had preceded my actions. I’d been up since six in the morning and had done fuck nothing since that time. I had lounged on the sofa and watched Netflix and drunk of Seven Up and basically jerked my entire day right off. Guilt was setting in. My husband had been working eight hours and he still had two more to go and here I sat, in the only nest I knew anything about – a nest of pillows arranged strategically against one arm of my sofa. Not cool.
But my protest fell like a piece of dandruff on a city street – unheard and unacknowledged. More comments came in. One from my best friend in the whole world, who just had her son about a month ago. Another from the mother of the girl I said dressed a stuffed monkey and posed it like a newborn for Facebook pictures. They insisted that I was nesting. What’s more, they were completely ignoring the fact that I was telling them…I was telling them…DIRECTLY…that I was not nesting. I was the subject of the conversation, and I was being completely ignored!
Do you know how frustrating it is to have someone tell you what’s going on in your own body and/or mind, while you’re standing right there, and just blatantly ignore what you’re telling them? If a biologist wanted to study a particular fish…and that fish were capable of directly answering questions about its own biology and motivations…would the biologist simply say, “shut the fuck up, fish, I know you better than you know yourself?” Perhaps. Humans are haughty, and scientists can be some of the worst. But what is it about having been pregnant that makes one an expert on everyone else’s pregnancy? Just curious. Because I’m really looking forward to becoming a more reliable resource on the next pregnant woman than the pregnant woman herself. That’s going to be good times. Telling her what she’s feeling and what she’s doing and why. Yeah! Knowing more about her than she knows about herself and completely dismissing her own feelings and beliefs on the situation. I’m so, so on board for that, definitely.
Am I legitimately irritated or just being hormonal? Please, tell me. I know you know the answer better than me anyway. 😉
Update: Also, this.