When I learned earlier this year that I was pregnant with twins, I was ecstatic, overwhelmed… and determined to prove wrong everyone who insisted that I would of course be on bed rest. You know that old adage about the universe laughing when you tell it your plans… yeah.
At 21 weeks, it was determined that I was at risk for preterm labor and I was put on home bed rest. I was allowed to use the bathroom and shower, but otherwise I was to be either reclining or laying down. 14 weeks later I have become a bed rest pro, so I thought I would share what I’ve learned in case you, a friend, or a loved one is in the same situation.
How toSurvive Bed Rest
Stick to a Schedule
Try to get up every morning and go to bed each night around the same time. This will not only keep you in sync with other people, but seeing sunlight out the window helps me feel more human.
Make a To-Do List
It’s hard to feel useful when you are stuck in bed all day. Make a list of things you can do and focus on those, even if it’s “fun” stuff like finally reading through that stack of books on your nightstand. I’ve been able to schedule appointments, order groceries (thank you Walmart pick up service), rework our budget, get our insurance re-quoted, write thank you cards, and yes — read, sew, and Netflix. Make sure to cross them off as you complete them so you can see your progress! If you don’t have any indoor hobbies, now is a good time to try some on. Use YouTube or ask a talented friend to teach you something like knitting, scrapbooking, or embroidery.
Bed rest in 2015 is wildly different than bed rest even just a few years ago. I can shop online for nursery/baby/maternity items, check out ebooks from our library, chat with friends, order delivery for dinner, and keep up with what my various groups and organizations are doing.
I’ve been blown away by the community support we have received. From hand-me-down baby toys and clothes to people offering to drop off dinner or run errands or haul heavy nursery furniture across town and upstairs. The trick is being willing to say “Yes, thank you!”
Often people want to help but they aren’t sure how, so they will offer to do “whatever you need”. Do not blow this off, instead write this down somewhere and the next time you need something random done, check your list for volunteers. Worst case scenario, they aren’t able to help and you move on. But I’ve found more often than not, they are delighted to help. Spread out the asking for favors and write a nice thank you card (or at least thank them profusely in a follow up email or text) so that no one gets taken for granted. And remember to pay it forward in the future.
Let it Go
Being stuck in bed means that you won’t know if the dishes aren’t done or the trash is piling up. It also means that things will probably get done differently than the way you would have done them. If you focus on this, you will drive yourself batty. Focus on the things you can control and try not to worry about the rest.
There is only so much that can get done in a day. Where possible, look for “cheats”. Buy the precooked chicken for salads, hire a housekeeper to keep the house in reasonable shape, get a lawn service, order delivery, focus on “easy” dinners. Find what is most likely to fall through the cracks and outsource it when you can. Remember, this is only temporary and your sanity (and that of those in your household) is important!
Create a Self-Sufficient Set Up
I am fortunate in that my husband’s office is close enough that he has always come home for lunch. But while he is at work or running errands or even just out in the yard, it’s nice to not be dependent on him for every little thing. My must haves include:
- A table near the bed with enough space to hold items you use often.
- Refillable water jug so that you have easy access to refill your cup and stay hydrated
- Mini-fridge stocked with snacks so you can keep your blood sugar steady
- Toaster to make my own breakfast while my husband gets ready for work
- Charging cables, clamped in place to ensure that the cable end never falls down out of reach
- Misc. supplies you use often. Dry snacks, craft projects, physical books, medications, etc.
Bed rest is hardly the vacation we all fantasize about, but it doesn’t have to be a prison sentence either. Stay focused on what you can do, accept the help that is offered, and you may be surprised how quickly the time passes.
Amanda is a mother to twins and has been in Huntsville long enough to remember before Bridge Street was built. A quilter, engineer, and avid podcast listener, she maintains that the best hours are the quiet ones from 10pm-12am spent with fabric, thread, and a bit of dark chocolate. She spends far too much time on Instagram (@mrsdragon) and making a list for every occasion.