So you’re expecting a new life. Congratulations! Consider me your moving midwife, after 7 moves and 2 babies I have learned that each move, like each pregnancy, is a unique experience. Here my mover’s guide that reassuringly addresses ten expectations of movers-to-be based on my experience as a mover and a mother, from the announcement to the delivery.
- The Announcement
Baby announcements are super cute and clever these days but chances are your move announcement will be down right devastating to some people. Your decision will result in change for them that they had no choice in. Sensitivity and tact is required for who you tell and when. Most will come around and be supportive but it may take a while for them to be happy about it. It is unfair to expect people to react to the news of your move in a certain way, especially when the initial shock hits and they haven’t had time to process. One natural response to loss is avoidance so you may feel some friends start to pull away to make the break easier. Some sentimental friends may begin to smother you. Reaction to your move is more about them and their personality then it is about you. Expect that people may respond to your news of moving differently than you hoped.
- Pregnancy Brain
It is the unofficial diagnosis for any out of character behavior during your pregnancy. Pregnancy consumes your body and mind. It is the lens you see life through. The same happens when you are moving. Moving brain: it is consuming and stressful and will make you do things you wouldn’t normally do. It becomes your excuse to get out of things or to justify other things. Ordinary things become super special because it is the “last” time. You start binging on your favorite things like a pregnant woman craves pickle juice at midnight. You’ll get locked in indecision or start buying things for sentiment not necessity. You’ll have impulses to say and do things you will later regret if you act on them like the time I threw away my daughter’s favorite teddy bear because I became overwhelmed with clutter. Expect the stress of a move to affect your brain, so give yourself and others a little extra grace.
- Baby Talk
Pregnancy brain will also alter your time and tongue. You will have new vocabulary words and start measuring time in weeks and trimesters. Mover’s brain discerns time by before or after your move date. Since the move is dominating your thoughts it begins to dominate your talk. Until you got through a move, you won’t understand how challenging it is. If someone doesn’t seem sympathetic to your feelings or interested in the details of your move, it doesn’t mean they don’t care about you. Seek out and speak out with other movers for true empathy. Don’t expect everyone to understand your journey especially if they’ve never walked your path.
Your calendar starts to fill with well-wishers that want to shower you with love. People dote on you, help you, thank you and down right adore you. You exchange sentiments, memories and gifts. It’s great! Cherish in it because once you move, the attention is extremely missed in the contrast of being unknown. You go from being celebrated and appreciated to no sense of belonging or identity. It is tempting to want to cling to your friends and family to maintain that level of attention once you move away. Compare it to wanting to be back in regular jeans after a delivery but your stomach is deflated and flabby. Building relationships takes a time and energy just like rebuilding your body, it can’t happen over night. Expect a season of drought after your shower of love but trust that love will rain on you again.
When new life is on the horizon, your nesting instincts kick in. You scour realtor websites like a pregnant lady researching baby name books. You pin home décor ideas with the same fervor as nursery décor and baby registry items. But before making a new nest you have to sell and pack up your existing nest. Walking that tightrope of keeping the house show ready and living in it is exasperating. Don’t get your tail feathers in a ruffle when your realtor passes along negative feedback about your house from the latest showing instead enjoy the remaining time in your home by keeping it a safe and nurturing haven for your family. Making love in your bed is more important than keeping the bed made. Turning a box into a rocket ship with your kids is a better use of an hour than packing the box. Expect nesting instincts to soar but don’t forget what make a house a home.
The strain of a move can be exhausting. Just as a pregnant woman should eat better, sleep more, exercise reasonably, and limit unessential activities so should the moving woman. Emotionally you are dealing with loss, making major decisions, and trying to help your family to cope. If your spouse moved ahead of you, ask your friends and family to help shoulder some of the responsibilities, they will assume you have it handled unless you directly ask for help. Expect to be fatigued but don’t let yourself completely deplete, build in time and ways to rest.
When you are pregnant you tend to take better care of your health. Movers tend to go to the opposite extreme. You are eating out more due to house showing, packed up kitchens, and because it is one less thing to do and think about in the day if you just order a pizza. Poor diet and weight gain can increase the stress that accompanies a move. There are a lot of emotions that are hard to swallow when you are moving. Just as you should keep a balanced diet, balance your emotions too. Don’t eat a bowl of grief and anxiety for breakfast, lunch and dinner find some joyful anticipation, trust and faith to add to your menu. Expect digesting a move is hard, so stay nourished with healthy food and attitude.
- The Awkward Phase
This is when you are huge, ready to burst, and acquaintances tend to say things like, “still pregnant, huh?”, “You haven’t had that baby yet!”, “I bet you are ready” and so on. Movers also experience this point of awkward encounters typically a few weeks to a few days before the official move where people don’t know what to say to you anymore. They have said their peace about missing you and you don’t fit into their daily routine or future anymore. This uncomfortable phase helps us move on just as the discomfort a pregnant woman’s body prepares her to wanting the child out. Nerves begin to tighten like a contraction. You are spent and ready to just get it over with. Expect some insensitivity at the end but realize you are super sensitive at this point and most people will mean well even if it doesn’t come across well.
- That Man
At some point in your pregnancy or delivery, perhaps during the 37th day in a row of morning sickness or when the ring of fire starts to burn you look at the love of your life, your darling husband that you pledged for-better-or-worse with, the father of the child you are bearing, grit your teeth as you resentfully refer to him as “that man”. That man who did this to you, who caused you this pain, that man who really only contributed one night of pleasure while you endured 9 months of pain. Men and women experience pregnancy and moving differently. A man does a move and a woman feels a move. Beware to not let resentment and bitterness turn Your Man into That Man. Expect to experience the move differently than your husband.
- Labor and Delivery
It’s the big day. The delivery date is here, the delivery truck is packed you are in full labor and it is intense. There is a well thought out birth plan just as the mover has laid out the logistics. However once the process begins it is hard to keep complete control of the circumstances. You ultimately have to surrender to the process and try to react the best you can as the delivery unfolds. The actual move from one city to the next is an intimate affair that only your closest loved ones and perhaps a few trusted professionals should be a part of. It is a transition, from one life to the next. It is an in-between place in the birth canal where you can’t stay but you aren’t quite all the way moved forward yet. You may want to scream or cry, you need to gasp for air as you bear the pain of passage knowing it has purpose and hope at the end. You will have a new life soon and you will be a stronger more compassionate woman to enjoy it. Expect a messy transition but enjoy the hope of an emerging new life. After all H.O.P.E. is Having Only Positive Expectations.
Yes! There is a more comprehensive mover’s guide to help you through your move. Pick up your copy of the book “After the Boxes Are Unpacked” by Susan Miller or find a moving support group near you at Just Moved Ministry‘s website.