Nesting with an Empty Womb

June 30, 2010

in Life Lessons, Relationships

© 2010 Neil Greenberg

I am being obsessive and maybe a little crazy.

There is this uncontrollable urge in me to clean and purge. I started to worry, but then I found a great article in Parenting Weekly to assuage my fears. I discovered this obsession is completely natural. Here’s a quote explaining what is happening to me right now:

“Females of the animal kingdom are all equipped with this same need. It is a primal instinct. Just as you see birds making their nests, mothers-to-be do exactly the same thing. The act of nesting puts you in control and gives a sense of accomplishment toward birth.”

Except I am not pregnant.

So maybe I am crazy.

Actually, I don’t think I am crazy. I just think this is the natural process for someone approaching the end of a marriage. The divorce is almost final and I have this need to get everything in order before we finalize. It might seem odd, but if you have been divorced, you are probably shaking your head with a knowing smile on your face.

Yes, it is time to clean house. I will be treading water for awhile longer, but I find there is so much to do while I wait for the end of this long, emotionally-painful process.¬†Yesterday involved a trip to Salvation Army with furniture and 6 large trash bags full of items to donate. Last week I organized the safe (yeah, that is on the top of everyone’s list of things to do, right?). The file cabinet has been reorganized, files re-labeled, and papers purged. Tons of books are being donated to the library this week. And, I am happy to report the large garbage bin is full each day we have trash pick-up.

An article in Associated Content stated:

“It is a primal instinct but many pregnant women may look a little crazy when they get swept up in the syndrome.”

Notice the quote states “look” a little crazy. It does not state these women are, in fact, crazy. Since I believe this is quite normal, I am embracing it. And laughing about it. And, loving lists as I do, I made one as a quick reference for others who might think they are crazy, but are simply getting a divorce.

Ten Signs your Divorce is Almost Final:

  1. You have a panic attack when your label maker runs out of tape.
  2. Salvation Army workers know you by name.
  3. Staples has replaced Target as your favorite store.
  4. Soon-to-be-Ex is getting weekly deliveries of things he/she didn’t want, but were left in the marital home.
  5. Kids start hiding things for fear mommy will throw it out.
  6. Monthly expense on cleaning supplies increases significantly.
  7. Children won’t make eye contact for fear they will be asked to help organize.
  8. Child states while handing you something, “Mommy, I am not sure where this goes anymore.”
  9. Ebay replaces Facebook as your favorite site.
  10. You are too busy cleaning to cry.

There was a moment I felt I would refute my own notion that my behavior is normal and a form of nesting. For a moment I felt that it does not make sense for this to be nesting because divorce is a death, not a birth. It is the end of a marriage and a family unified and under one roof. This thought was fleeting as I recognized what it truly means to me.

It is a birth.

It is a life filled with new possibilities.

I am starting anew.

© 2010 Neil Greenberg


Alex@LateEnough June 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm

As I have seen with others, I think that you are right on. It is a birth. With a long and difficult labor. But a renewal nonetheless. It’s just time to get that stuff OUT (whether in your home or in your head).
Alex@LateEnough recently posted..She May Need That Skill When The Zombies ArriveMy Profile

Life with Kaishon July 1, 2010 at 9:53 am

Oh my. I am so sorry you are going thru a divorce. I wish I could say something more profound than that. I am very, very sorry.

I laughed about the list.

I can tell just from reading this one post that you will be fine…but you already know that.
Life with Kaishon recently posted..a list of ten thingsMy Profile

Naked Girl in a Dress July 8, 2010 at 10:02 am

Alex and Life with Kaishon: Thank you for your encouraging words. I am working through everything in my head and my house and it feels so good to purge! I tackled another room in the house this week and it felt great.

Simple Dude October 2, 2010 at 8:51 am

Sounds like it’s all part of the natural healing process. I have not been divorced, but have many friends who have – and a brother who is on his third marriage. So I have been on the ‘outside looking in’ a handful of times and know that everyone has to get through it and deal with it in their own ways.

Seems like you’re doing a great job… thanks for sharing!

Simple Dude recently posted..Thought Award Season Was In The SpringMy Profile

Naked Girl in a Dress October 2, 2010 at 9:26 am

Thanks for visiting SD. IT is a process each must get through in their own way; I completely agree.

CDG October 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I’m so very sorry for the pain and difficulty, but the last bit, about your divorce also being a birth?

That you can see that is wonderful.

Carry on with your purging! And the writing, which is lovely.
CDG recently posted..Matchbox QuicksandMy Profile

Naked Girl in a Dress October 3, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Thank you CDG. I wrote this piece in June; it is now October. I am still purging and still close to being finished with the divorce. I believe we are close to finalizing though, which feels good and sad at the same time.

Stacey @ Entropified October 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Wow. A powerful post.
Stacey @ Entropified recently posted..The Cutest Smaller EditionsMy Profile

Carrie October 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Good luck with the nesting/renewal. From what I have seen of divorce it is definitely just another form of labour. Except at the end you don’t have to keep the “child” you send him on his way to run his own life :)
Carrie recently posted..Red Writing Hood- A DisappearanceMy Profile

Naked Girl in a Dress October 3, 2010 at 3:50 pm


I love that! It is a birth and I don’t have to care for the other.

Amy October 2, 2010 at 3:43 pm

May the Divorce Gods be with you! The promise of you being okay? At least you can still write. All of us who have been through it are with you in spades.

Naked Girl in a Dress October 3, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Thanks for the support Amy!

Karen Peterson October 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm

This is definitely, totally normal. I’ve seen plenty of friends go through it.

Heck, last year when I was rather coldly and suddenly dumped by a guy I wasn’t even living with, I went through it, too. There’s something about purging old and useless stuff that is cleansing for the mind and the soul.
Karen Peterson recently posted..Karens Blog of the Week- Write Stuff!My Profile

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: