Mamas on Bedrest: Come Read With Us!

August 24th, 2012

Walker Karra, Perinatal Mental Health Advocate

Walker Karra is an awesome perinatal mental health advocate and someone whom I greatly respect! When Walker “speaks” (or tweets or posts on her FB page) I sit up and notice. Recently on my FB newsreel, Walker posted a link regarding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Posted by the United States Department of Veterans affairs, the link shares resources for disaster survivors.

You may be thinking, “I’m simply on bed rest. I’ve not experienced a traumatic experience.” Well, from the numerous women that I have spoken to as well as the numerous studies I’ve had the opportunity to read, bed rest is a very traumatic experience for many women, encompassing feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, fear for one’s own health as well as the health of one’s baby.  According to Dr. Diane Sanford, women who have been on bed rest during their pregnancies are at an 8 fold increased risk of developing post partum depression. Clearly bed rest has its risks!

It is so important to manage stress. I think in our culture, we minimize the effect that acute or chronic stress has on our overall health and as a result, I believe that we as a culture are suffering from  some major health issues and diseases as a result. When I think about stress management, I think about exquisite self care. I think about eating really healthy, nutritious foods. I think about getting restorative sleep. I take a long, hot relaxing bath. And one of my most potent stress busters is exercise. A long walk out in nature or a 20-25 mile bike ride clears my head and restores my body like nothing else.

As I reviewed in my mind my ways of relieving stress, I realized that several of these modalities are simply not possible for Mamas on Bedrest. Being pregnant and on bed rest, a long hot relaxing bath is out of the question. The same is true for the walk in nature or bike riding. So what are Mamas on Bedrest to do?

In my discussions with Mamas on Bedrest, the most difficult aspect of bed rest is the isolation and the boredom. How does one combat being alone for hours on end? How does one stay mentally engaged and upbeat when several of the normal modalities (exercise, a walk or other type of external/physical activity) are temporarily impossible?

From what I have been able to observe and read in the literature, for Mamas on Bedrest, social interaction is critical. Thankfully, we live in an era when technology makes social interaction easier than ever. There are numerous websites (Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond and others) that offer vibrant, interactive communities. I cannot stress enough the importance of becoming involved in these communities. According to the PTSD  literature, validating your feelings and honoring them are important steps in healing from traumatic experiences.  While friends and family are all doing their best to be supportive, sometimes the best support comes from someone who has been where you are-or is currently there.

In an effort to expand our growing community of mamas while also helping to beat the boredom, Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond is starting a book club. While our first title has yet to be decided (What do you think we should read and discuss first???) we are setting the discussion for the week of September 16th on our Facebook page.  This is how it will work:

  • We’ll choose a title (soon) and have about 3 weeks to read the book. I know that many of you will finish sooner, but I want to give folks amply time to participate.
  • Beginning September 17th, we’ll begin posting our comments on the Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond Facebook Page
  • The discussion will run for the week
  • Towards the end of the week, we’ll begin floating ideas for the next title. I’ll set the next discussion date for approximately 3 weeks.

This is but one  way that we can become engaged and combat the bed rest boredom. Of course, mamas are welcome to interact on the page sharing other ideas, tips and information for combatting bed rest boredom.

We hope you’ll join us and do share your ideas for great books to read below in our comments section on on our Facebook page!

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