“Do you have your nursery ready?” This question has always confused me. I was raised in a Jewish family and Jewish custom is that you do not have a baby shower or prepare a nursery until a baby is born. I couldn’t imagine putting a nursery together. My mother had two preemies. I knew that things could go wrong. Somewhere deep inside, I didn’t want to bring on the jinx of the early nursery.
Then I had a baby at 26 weeks and the idea of an early nursery became absurd. Ridiculous, really. My daughter’s nursery was the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for 100 days. All I had ready was a Wisconsin Badger onesie, bought in a moment of possibility. I decorated her isolette with pictures of my husband and me. My best friend sewed little black and white toys for Miss Girly to look at when she wasn’t wearing her bilirubin sunglasses.
When my daughter finally came home, she slept next to me, hooked up to an apnea monitor. That was the nursery décor. It blinked all night long. How do I know? Because I was awake all night watching her breathe and watching the monitor. A nursery? Please. I just hoped she lived through the night.
What I learned is that you don’t really need anything for a nursery before a baby comes home. That probably makes a party pooper. Remember I talk all day with people who have had miscarriages, stillborn babies, and preemies. Many have been through years of infertility treatment. My clients fear counting their chickens before they’ve hatched. After you have had a pregnancy that is out of the norm, decorating a space for a baby who may never come home may bring the jinx of the early nursery too close for comfort. I know that many people spend hours on Pinterest enjoying how that nursery can look. I have seen many. They are beautiful, cute, and sophisticated. My clients whisper to me about what they see on Pinterest because they don’t want to jinx anything. I get it. I really do.
Finding balance in pregnancy after loss or other disasters is tricky. I have written before about Hope and Hesitation in Pregnancy After Loss. People want to find hope and feel excited about bringing a baby home to a special space. That is certainly what I want for people, too. I often am the one person in the room who can hold hope for possibility. But too often there is a story of the closed nursery door that haunts parents.
I tell people all day to trust their intuition. I mean it. If you want to decorate, I support you 100%. I hope that it is beautiful and that things go really well for you. If you’d rather pretend that the space for a baby is just another room until that baby is squawking, that’s super okay, too. Don’t let people pressure you either way. Take your time. Think it through. A later nursery works just fine.