However, Pincott cautions that although animal research may shed light on the matter, “Humans haven’t been the subjects of many nesting studies. … For humans, nesting is culturally triggered as much as it is hormonally triggered.” It’s likely that the power of suggestion from media and marketing has set off more than one closet cleanout and shopping spree in modern times—an influence with which rats and rabbits don’t typically contend.
In one human-focused study from McMaster University, researchers found that nesting serves a very similar purpose in women as it does in animals—namely as a way to control the environment before childbirth. Findings revealed nesting behaviors, characterized as bursts of energy and a compulsion to organize the house, are rooted in a need to protect and prepare for your child. Taking charge of your environment isn’t exclusive to dustpans and décor choices. The researchers also noted that many moms-to-be become more selective about who they choose to spend time with, sticking close to those they trust the most.
The moral of the story
There are bona fide, scientific reasons to explain your out-of-character behavior, and the experience is actually beneficial. Like Pincott says, “Nesting helps us psychologically brace ourselves for the upcoming change in our life. For me personally, changing my habitat was a shocking cue. Confronted with bare walls and a stocked fridge, it hit me: I’m having a baby!”
Remind yourself (and your partner) of this next time you find yourself in a compromised position on the living room floor lint-rolling your carpet. Reassure yourself that you’re not weird or crazy. You’re simply carrying out an age-old practice dictated by inherited behavior and naturally occurring chemicals in the brain. And you’re also probably a touch crazy—but at least you can blame it on the belly.