As anyone who’s done it can confirm, the word “rest” in the term “bed rest” is kind of misleading. Those who haven’t been on bed rest might think it sounds relaxing. But as a mom who has endured two high-risk pregnancies and spent months on the couch and in the hospital, I can assure you there’s nothing restful or relaxing about being on bed rest.
For many moms, days or weeks stuck in bed or on the couch are filled with fear for their babies, resentment about losing freedom of movement and isolation. Far from being restful, bed rest is a time of intense stress. To help deal with these negative emotions swirling around, I’ve gathered these tips.
Ask for help
While this can be a hard thing to do, it’s the best way to reduce your stress. When asking for help, be specific on the help you and your family needs. Is it meal preparation, laundry, picking up kids, cleaning, rides to appointments or a combination? Send an email to everyone you know listing the various ways they can help. Don’t be shy about telling them you truly need support due to your condition. It’s also a great way of responding to the “let me know if I can help” comment by providing specific ways people can help.
Set up a routine
Watching Netflix all day can take its toll. Establish a routine to give you a sense of being normal. Map out your day like you would do when you’re not pregnant and incubating. Set up a schedule that can include time for reading a book, taking a course, working on or learning a hobby, writing in a journal and spending time online. By breaking up your day into blocks of time with a variety of activities, it can reduce some of the boredom.
Book time for friends to call/visit
Make sure you set up a time for friends to call, and share this information with them. This set time will actually help you stay more connected. I found when I didn’t set up this time; no one called, as my friends were afraid of disturbing me. But once I set aside time for phone calls, friends started calling, as they weren’t afraid of waking me. The same goes for setting a time for visitors to drop by.
Isolation can take its toll and lead to depression. Now, more than ever, you need to connect with family and friends. Take a pre-natal course so you can meet other moms (who you can hopefully continue to meet with after baby is born).
And finally, don’t beat yourself up or let the feelings of guilt or sadness take over. Remember that every hour, every day you give your baby incubating in your belly is a blessing.
Find out more tips from Cynthia in her book "Bed Rest Mom."