Angelique Serrano 7 months pregnant

Nesting Helped Me See My High-Risk Pregnancy as a Positive Experience

Expecting parents can receive a lot of unsolicited advice. While I was pregnant with my second baby, I found myself on the receiving end of quite a bit. And there’s one suggestion that I wish I would have taken.

During one morning commute, on my way to my New York City publishing job, a friend mentioned to me the idea of having a sprinkle. I was familiar with baby showers, but less so with sprinkles; it was explained to me that a sprinkle is a sort of smaller baby shower. I immediately shrugged it off, explaining that another baby shower for my second child wasn’t necessary. I said that I already had plenty of baby supplies and that I would hate to ask anyone for anything more.

Today, while I still feel those feelings, I also realize that I underestimated how special any kind of baby shower or celebration can be. More than just an occasion to open gifts, it can be a really special milestone in expectancy. It can contribute to the excitement, positivity, and joy surrounding pregnancy and welcoming a new baby.

After dealing with months of worries during my second high-risk pregnancy, during which we were dealing with complications and symptoms like prolonged morning sickness, taking part in a little celebration would have been a beautiful boost to our spirits. No gifts, just hugs. If that bit of advice helps anyone now, I’ll be very glad.

Though it was true, from a practical standpoint, I was very grateful to have kept so many of my 2-year-old girl’s items from infancy. Whether it was Mamaroo swinging chairs or onesies by the dozen, I had kept clothes to dress my newborn, toys to keep him entertained, and contraptions to keep him swaddled and soothed. And so I pulled out the bottle sterilizer and dug out the bouncy chair from the basement in preparation for his arrival.

But while we felt ready with enough baby supplies, there was a big piece of the puzzle missing: the nursery. My husband and I had moved into our first house a year or so before this pregnancy and were thrilled to have a room ready to convert. But I’d yet to do anything to it. Over the past few months, I’d simply open the room door, shove in a box of clothes, a chair, a garbage bag full of stuffies, then shut the door closed again. But now, in my third trimester, I felt the pressure to prepare.

Decorating the nursery was actually my favorite part of the “nesting” stage when I was pregnant with my first child, Liv. The simplest act of tying together a bunch of colored pencils with burlap ribbon and setting it inside a shadow box made my soul warm. This time around, preparing the nursery felt like a chore, another task I had to do. And I felt guilty about feeling that way.

This time around, preparing the nursery felt like a chore, another task I had to do. And I felt guilty about feeling that way.

One weekend I found myself roaming the aisles of a home decor store. The nursery needed curtains, and we weren’t thrilled with the first set that I’d bought on a whim. I’d come back to the store to return them and see what else I could find.

That’s when I spotted them, the sweetest pair of white sheer panels dotted with small, baby-blue pom-poms. They were subtle, soft, and they made me so happy. I drove home and bounded up the stairs to the nursery. I carefully climbed a little step ladder and hung them up. For the first time, I felt excitement—and not the typical excitement mingled with worry and fear that I’d often felt during this pregnancy. This was pure, undiluted excitement.

Shortly after that, I had to take down the curtains because it was time to paint the room. I'd picked a trio of soft chalky white, bright white, and dusty blue, and my family painted walls and moldings in one weekend. I laid down a wool area rug while my husband built the new crib (two of our few big purchases for the baby). Even Liv helped add her own touches to the room, with her little paint brushes, wash cloths, and shared stuffies.

The visual impact of this bright, happy room filled my eyeballs and then my heart with happiness. The room made me feel lighter.

The transformation honestly had a huge hand in lifting my mood during that third trimester. After all of my anxiety balancing work and doctor’s appointments to check the progression of my pregnancy, I had become worn down. The visual impact of this bright, happy room filled my eyeballs and then my heart with happiness. The room made me feel lighter.

Over the following weeks, I slowly put together the rest of the room. I’d repurposed an old bedroom dresser by drilling a changing table into the top of it, and the piece worked perfectly. I displayed baskets of diapers and creams and filled drawers with Liv’s old pajamas, mittens, and soft blankets. My parents got us a three-month supply of diapers, and I happily arranged them on shelves in the baby’s closet.

The first time around, the nesting, prepping, and decorating were fun. This time around, they were something more. The acts helped turn my focus onto the positive aspects of anticipation. The room itself sparked joyful conversations about my growing baby and helped train my brain to start thinking about him in a real way, like a person that would soon be among us.

I never realized how all of those moments, from baby showers to nursery decorating, could help keep a mind more focused on positive thoughts. I now tell my friends these stories, in the hopes that they'll help them along in their own journeys to parenthood. But I only share this advice when asked.

By Angelique Serrano
Angelique Serrano is an independent journalist, award-nominated writer, reporter, and editor. She specializes in beauty, wellness, and lifestyle content, and has expanded into parenting, family, and health. Her work has been published in many publications, both print and digital.