August 26th, 2009

So often when I think about bed rest, I think about its effect on the mom-to-be. But bed rest affects an entire family and no one more acutely than a dad-to-be. Think about it from a guy’s perspective. You commit to a woman and she becomes pregnant. That initial joy becomes panic and anxiety as this woman that you love becomes incapacitated and perhaps even hospitalized. Not only is her health and well being at stake, the life of your unborn child is also in the precarious balance. Your focus becomes doing all that you can to make things better for the woman you love and your child.

Truly the best advice on the subject comes someone in the trenches. Scotty Schrier is an aspiring author and dad-to-be. He currently resides with his wife and pets in Tampa, Fla., and is anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first child. To see more of his writing you can go to for his archive of short stories. He posted this invaluable piece of advice for new dads on the KeepEmCookin’ website ( and is reprinted with permission by the site’s owner, Angela Davis.

By Scotty Schrier

I won’t say it has been easy. My amazing wife we’ll call her Lilcapmom has been in the hospital for almost 3 weeks now. Lilcapmom is a perpetually busy woman. She likes to be in a constant state of movement, so this bed rest has been a special level of hell for her. I have tried to make her stay in the hospital as comfortable as possible by implementing the following ideas for dads.

1. Nintendo DS
This is a must! There are so many games out there that are catering to adults now, that you aren’t going to be stuck with some kiddie title. If mama likes mysteries, then there are several titles to enjoy. Not to mention all of the brain-teaser/puzzle variety games. I also got one for myself and we can play several games together even with owning only one copy of the game.

2. Food
Comfort food. Home-cooked food. Whatever her favorite food is. Hospital food is decent at best.

3. Comfort Food
I listed it again, because nothing beats the melancholy monster quite like some ice cream.

4. Vanity-type Products
Being laid up in a hospital can be enough to make any woman feel less than beautiful!
a. Scented lotions
b. Hair ties
c. Scented room spray run this by the nurse first
There’s more you can do; these are just a few examples. You know what your lady likes. Make it happen!

5. Beauty Treatments
Arrange for a nail technician or hair-dresser to come in. I talked to the woman who cuts our hair and she was more than happy to come in and give Lilcapmom a haircut. Lilcapmom was SO excited! It really raised her mood for a couple of days afterwards. You can NOT put a price on that smile.

6. Nurses
Take care of the nurses who are taking care of your family! I cannot stress this enough! I watched the entire floor light up when I spent $5.99 on a dozen assorted doughnuts and brought them in for breakfast for our nurses. Trust me, if you show them how much you appreciate everything they do, they will work that much harder to make sure that your stay is enjoyable. You may call it bribery…I call it Goodwill Insurance. You will NOT regret it, I promise!

7. Pity Parties
If you wife is on the pity pot…LET HER! She’s going to be upset and moody… She’s pregnant and now has NO independence. Lilcapmom cried one night because she didn’t want to have to hit the nurse button just to plug her Nintendo DS in. Bed rest is NOT a vacation any more than a prison sentence is. Being treated like an invalid has a way of demoralizing a person. This is YOUR time to shine dad! Be the man that every woman wishes she had. If you act like an ass now…you will NEVER live it down. What I’m trying to say is that even if you think she’s being irrational, chances are she thinks it too…but is powerless to do anything about it. Just hold her and make sure you have tissues for her.

8. No Complaining
Do NOT complain about what a burden you think this is on you. She’s going to feel badly enough about not being able to do the normal things in life. She does NOT need to feel like she’s inconveniencing you in any way. I don’t care if you are only getting 2 hours of sleep a night, you can’t let her know how tired you are. She already feels guilty, and pregnancy-induce guilt is ten times worse than any other kind. Steer clear of it at all costs! If her bed rest happens during the “nesting” phase, be prepared for her to be upset about not being able to help finish the baby’s room.

9. Give Yourself a Break
Take some time to give yourself a break as well. Man, you are going to run your butt off and be asked to handle things that you weren’t expecting. Make sure that you aren’t running yourself into the ground needlessly. If the kitchen goes to hell while she’s in the hospital, that’s fine as long as it gets cleaned by the time she gets home. In that hour you were going to use to clean the kitchen, have a beer and relax a little. No one in their right mind could hold it against you.

10. Create a Support Team
Make sure there is a support net of some sort. Give her options of people she can vent to. That way you won’t be the focal point of ALL of her frustrations. This will lead to fewer hurt feelings and much less animosity. You also need to vent about things as well. You can’t vent on each other; otherwise you WILL end up in an argument. And you do not want to be THAT guy!

This is just a starter list. Mostly just remember that what she is doing right now is possibly the single most important moment in your child’s life. Bed rest is given for a reason. And mama is going to need every ounce of support you can give her right now.

Now go out there and be the best damned daddy you can be! It starts way earlier than the day they come out…

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