"I want my baby to be free," Tatyana Ali shares in her latest blog for PEOPLE, as her first child is due any day

By Tatyana Ali
September 08, 2016 02:00 PM
Credit: Anthony T. Rose

Tatyana Ali is pregnant!

Best known for playing Ashley Banks on the hit ’90s TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the actress and R&B singer, 37, also has multiple films — including Second Sight, which premiered in April, and Samaria, out Sept. 24. Her latest EP, 2014’s Hello, is available on iTunes.

Ali is currently expecting her first child with Dr. Vaughn Rasberry, whom she met on eHarmony, became engaged to in March and married on July 17.

The couple will welcome their baby any day now.

You can follow Ali on Facebook, as well as Instagram and Twitter @TatyanaAli.

Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Babies newsletter.

Babies enter the world with no baggage. They carry little else but full potential. Pristine, now in the womb environment — where I’ve done my best to keep my body, mind and spirit clean — kicking and tumbling, trying to find space, my little one is protected by my flesh, my actions, even my thoughts.

I want my baby to be free. I don’t want her/him to ever feel trapped by anyone or any notion, whether it’s the world’s or of his or her own making. Someone brand new will be in our care, and I want this little one to gently become aware of the surrounding world without ever losing sight of the truth of who they are. I don’t want to unwittingly pass down social suggestions or my own baggage.

I decided on an animal theme for the nursery, keeping the design gender-neutral because we have chosen to not know the sex. I selected the Larkin Set from Pottery Barn Kids in a soft gray. It was so much fun to not simply pick pink for a girl and blue for a boy. We had to get creative.

We painted a quarter circle in tangerine on the back wall and the ceiling a pale sea foam, to convey the rising and setting sun and the natural colors of the sky and ocean.

I initially wanted to go further with the animal theme, but almost every path led me to “safari” — and from there, slipping down into a colonial dreamscape seemed inevitable, so I kept the vision more metaphorical.

I used my sewing machine to make a valence with cream ribbon and seashell buttons for trim, with a matching chair cushion from a playful Malian fabric we bought in Harlem, where we spent our babymoon.

I also made curtains with a blackout liner in a soft butter yellow. I tried to keep the room innocent, to imbue the nursery with some of my Afro-Caribbean and Vaughn‘s Afro-American heritage, but with nothing that could suggest social or political context — only soothing colors, an angel baby from Lladró and pictures and paintings of animal parents and their babies.

I brought in a little glamorous grounding for my own sake, with baskets and a Moroccan-inspired rug.

Earlier today (it’s 5 a.m. now) I lay in bed wide awake, partly because of my new war with acid reflux and partly because the four main breastfeeding positions — cradle hold, football hold, side hold and … crap, can’t remember the fourth — were swimming around my brain like smiling piranha chomping at my mind (and oh my God, my breast!), but mostly because a drawer became emblematic of the baggage I refuse to pass on.

My husband (love saying that) woke to find me laid out on the bathroom floor, trying to fix the underside of a vanity drawer in the master bathroom that slid off its hinges about a year ago; it hadn’t bothered me at all until now.

It’s been a broken catch-all, with years of makeup and hairpieces from artists I’ve worked with and shoots I’ve done. The contents need to be trashed or organized. I’ve gone through this process room by room in the house. This bathroom is the last on the list.

More from Tatyana’s PEOPLE.com blog series:

Tatyana Ali’s Blog: Finding My Mom-Me SuperpowersTatyana

Ali’s Blog: The Magical Mystery of Keeping Baby’s Sex a Secret

Since our wedding, which was an absolute dream come true — friends and family flying in from all over the country and world, great music, great food, so much joy — I’ve been oscillating between countdown mode and the eternal waiting room in Tim Burton‘s Beetlejuice.

I have been assured by others that my need to decorate and organize, my obsession with cleanliness and DIY and crafting, are my “nesting instincts” kicking into full gear, all par for the course.

My best friend, a mom of two, said she cleaned her house with a toothbrush before her daughter was born. I know that sounds like a scene from Full Metal Jacket, but for her it was nothing like punishment, nor was she at any risk of cracking under pressure. There’s a joy in getting in those cracks and making it shiny and clean: clean enough to welcome something fragile and new.

Our family and friends have helped tremendously with everything, and they are preparing in their own way. My mother has begun exercising again every morning. My dad has been coming over to help hang curtains. He even bought a gauge to check electromagnetic frequencies in the nursery, after I read abut the potential hazards. Turns out the computer I’m writing on gives off more than anything in my house. Phew! Another crisis averted. My in-laws, who live a state away, are packed and ready to go when the call comes in. Even my Frenchie, Kip, has been en garde at the nursery door like a tiny mighty sentry.

I’ve heard that it takes a village to raise a child, but I am learning that a child raises up a village. It’s as if we have all woken up and been reminded that life is precious. Nothing seems mundane now. There is no getting to it later. Everything is pulsing with meaning and purpose.

The baby is reminding us that we all have that most sacred part of us that is pristine and untouched, and we’ve had it since the day we were born. How amazing would it be to live all of life energized by this kind of expectancy and dedication?

It will feel so good to have my home and my life, even my finances, organized and ready to receive (if I finish it all in time). That’s why I am up this morning, watching the sunrise from my dining room. I’m trying to make our little piece of the world pristine — a mirror of the little one who will be here … any moment now.

Tatyana Ali