Bedrest and Children
How do you cope when life throws you unexpected curves? This summer had one giant unexpected curve and I have been chasing my tail ever since! I had planned to drive to Boston from Austin with my kids, stopping to visit and stay with friends and family along the way. I had planned for a fun-filled month in Boston before leisurely driving to North Carolina for my family reunion and then dropping my kids off with their father for their summer visit. But just 2 days after I arrived in Boston, I received a call that my mother in law passed away. We rushed back to my mother in laws funeral, driving a frantic 981 miles in 2 days. I spent a weekend with my ex-inlaws (need I say more) and from that point on, my leisurely schedule was completely blown out of the water. And while I did accomplish most of what I had planned to do this summer, I feel completed wiped out and in need of a “vacation from my vacation.”
I thought of you all often. Bedrest is a similar curve thrown into the middle of your pregnancy, obliterating all your pregnancy plans. So how do you cope when life throws you such an unexpected curve?
I found for myself, focusing on the essentials was key. This is a similar sentiment shared by not only many of the Mamas on Bedrest in our book, “From Mamas to Mamas: The Essential Guide to Surviving Bedrest”, but it was also echoed by the dads. As one dad put it,
“I had to focus on what was really important and then let everything else go.”
He is so right! This summer, after my plans and timing went askew, I had to focus on doing what needed to be done. For me, that meant keeping things steady and fun for my kids (this was the first death of a close relative that they had ever experienced) and keeping my own spirits up and taking really good care of myself so that I can take care of those around me. But what are the essential things Mamas on Bedrest need to focus on during this time of upheavel?
1. Take exquisite care of yourself! Most Mamas on Bedrest want to focus on their babies, but Mamas, the best thing you can do for your baby is to be in the best possible health yourself. Be very vigilant with your diet feeding your body nutrient dense foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, leans cuts of protein and lots of water. The more nutrients your body has to work with the more it will be able to be in service to you and your baby! Nature has designed it that your baby will get what it needs from your body to grow and develop. Let’s be sure that your body has enough nutrient supply so that the baby can have what he/she needs without depleting your body and leaving you at risk for illness, injury or disease. Also get plenty of good restorative sleep and check in with your doctor to see what are safe ways to move your body while on bed rest.
2. Make sure the essential needs of your family are met. If you have other children at home, you and your partner will need to make sure that their routines remain as regular as possible, and that they have plenty of love and support from both of you as well as from friends and family. The honest truth is that you and your partner will be stressed and stretched during this time. If friends and family are available to help out, take them up on their offers for childcare and household help. These “gifts” are invaluable.
3. Make sure you and your partner stay connected. This is a frantic time for Dads. They have to stand by while the women they love do some serious work to bring their babies into this world. For men to not be able to “fix it” can be truly frustrating as well as humbling. Also, Dads are feeling the stress of the pregnancy as much as moms-albeit in a very different way. Make sure to stay connected during this time. Take time to be together, to talk, share and yes, cuddle. Sex is usually prohibited during bedrest, but hugging, kissing and cuddling are not and those intimacies can make a world of difference for Mamas, Dads and babies!!!
4. Release Obligation. Bedrest has a hidden blessing: You are no longer held to the myriad of obligations you are committed to. To that end, take a bit of time while on bed rest to really ask yourself, “Do I really need to do all those work and community activities? Which ones really fill you and which ones are “Shoulds”? Which activities should you not only suspend due to bed rest, but indefinitely? Take this time to sort these out.
5. Stay positive an have fun. Bedrest is hard and most women will tell you that the mental/emotional battles were the worst! If you can stay positive and focus on the joy of your baby, you will do well navigating Bedrest. It’s not easy. Difficult tests and complications will sometimes bring you down. But if you can surround yourself with friends, family and things you love, you will make it though.
Have these tips helped you? Find these and more in our book, “From Mamas to Mamas, The Essential Guide to Surviving Bedrest” available for immediate download now on Amazon.com
Have a particular question you’d like to ask and have answered? Join us for our Free Third Thursday Teleseminar on August 21, 2014 from Noon – 1pm ET. Bedrest Coach Darline Turner will be ansering questions live from callers as well as answering questions submitted via e-mail. Register for the Free seminar to receive call in information. If you prefer to submit your question anonymously, send an e-mail to Info@mamasonbedrest.com by 5pm ET on Wednesday, August 20,2014.
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It’s video Wednesday!! In today’s vlog post, I discuss and offer tangible ways that loved ones can help Mamas on Bedrest & their families. This post was actually inspired by a “former” mama on bed rest who delivered, but now her little one is in the NICU and she has 4 other children at home. As you can imagine, she is one busy mama!! I have no doubt that friends and family members are standing at the ready to help, but some truly may not know what to do. So in this vlog, I give some very specific things that they can do. This is by no means exhaustive, but a great place to start to help a mama and her family in need.
We’re talking about spacing your pregnancies. I know this sounds absolutely absurd given that you are already pregnant and on bed rest. But I had the great fortune to listen in on a very well done webinar presented by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals and I feel compelled to share some of the information.
We all know pregnancy ushers in a whole host of hormonal, physiologic, psychologic and emotional changes for women. But what some of you may not know is that when women have pregnancies close together, they deny their bodies much needed time to readjust to the rigors of pregnancy, labor and delivery and their new role as mama. An immediate repeat pregnancy may result in fatigue, anemia, preterm labor, and other physical problems. The second infant may be born prematurely, at a low birth weight, be small for size/age and have other developmental problems. Finally, pregnancies close together shorten the bonding time the first infant has with mama.
We all know life happens. But pregnancies don’t have to happen. In most areas of the US and in most industrialized nations, women have access to a wide range of birth control methods. There’s a lot out there to choose from and I review many of these methods here. And let’s be clear, I am not trying to tell anyone what to do, I merely seek to inform and to educate. And FYI, The literature on spacing pregnancies suggests women space pregnancies at least 18 months, but no more than 5 years apart, with an optimal range of about 2-3 years.