Mamas on Bedrest: “I feel so useless”!!

April 4th, 2014

TGIF Mamas!

sidelayingAs we end another week, many of you come that much closer to ending your bed rest journeys and seeing your precious little ones. There has been a lot of activity in our community and if you haven’t already, I invite you to jump on our Facebook page and join the conversation. Mamas are sharing tips for surviving bed rest, we have lots of new to bed rest mamas and in general there is a lot of great conversations going on.

Bed rest is hard, there is no doubt about that. Being asked to stay in bed or in a chair all day when one is used to being active and full out in one’s daily life can feel like torture. But one thing I want to remind all of you is this-YOU ARE NOT USELESS!!

We live in a society where “more” is associated with better and the “more” we do, the “more” productive we are, the “more” hours we put in the better, more highly esteemed, successful we are perceived to be. Think about it, How many times have you said, “I had the greatest day!” and then proceeded to recite a laundry list of things that you accomplished that day? We are conditioned to believe that if we stop, if we rest or if we simply slow down and take things at a slower pace, we are not being productive, we are not doing anything and therefore, we are somehow unworthy of whatever may be coming our way.

But I am here to tell all of you, you are not useless! While I totally get that bed rest is maddening; it’s so easy to become bored and for your mind to wander to all manner of unpleasant places, I want to remind you that your body is performing miraculous feats! During the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy, your body became a safe and protected environment in which your baby’s entire skeleton formed and many of its organ systems began to develop. Through weeks 12-28 your baby’s organs further developed; the heart grew stronger, the lungs began to form, the digestive system began to take shape and many of the enzymes and food breakdown mechanisms began developing, the brain continued to form and develop all those complex neurological pathways your baby will need to be able to breathe, cry, see, hear, crawl, walk, talk and grow. And all the while, you body is supplying food, fluids, blood and oxygen so that all of this work can take place. Your body is functioning in a way that a non-pregnant body can’t even fathom-man or woman. Your body is making adjustments daily to support and provide not only for the growing baby, but also to meet your physical needs. YOUR BODY IS LITERALLY LIVING, BREATHING AND EXISTING FOR TWO PEOPLE!!

So I want you to consider this. I know that you have all done strenuous activities before. Some of you garden. Some of you run marathons or do triathlons. Some of you Rock Climb or sail or snorkle, or swim….Whatever you have done, you know the amount of physical exertion these activities (and many more like them) take. You know that you can’t simply run out and do them without eating properly, drinking lots of water, getting rest and conditioning your body. Pregnancy is no less strenuous and in fact, is much more taxing. Pregnancy is an endurance sport. It lasts for 10 long months (yes, pregnancy is actually 40 weeks!) and everyday of that pregnancy your body undergoes some sort of change as it accommodates for the needs of your growing baby. Is it any wonder that sometimes your body requires some extra energy?

Consider this. Rather than feeling badly and/or berating yourself for having an incompetent cervix or high blood pressure or gestational diabetes, think of these conditions as signals from your body that it needs to conserve its energy for the moment in order to be more efficient and to better take care of you and your baby. When you train for a marathon, you have rest days to allow your body time to acclimate to it’s new level of performance. If you push when your body requires rest, you risk injury and the loss of all the conditioning and momentum you have built up. Same with Gardening. Once you plant your seeds, there is some time where you do nothing to allow the seeds to take root and then sprout above ground. Think of bed rest at this “rest, growth and strengthening” time. Without you moving about, your body can take that energy and those nutrients it would use to move you about and shunt it all to your baby. If your cervix is incompetent, by staying in bed or in a chair, there is less gravity pushing down on the cervix and the baby can (in theory) stay in and grow. I could go on with the analogies, but I think you get what I am trying to say.

Mamas, you are not weak, broken or useless because you are on bed rest. Your body just requires a different regimen to make this particular baby (remember, not every pregnancy results in bed rest!). And while I know that it is difficult mentally and emotionally, at least relieve yourself of the “burden” that what you are doing right now is somehow wrong, your fault and the result of some sort of defect. You (and your baby) are just perfect and everything is proceeding in its perfect time and grace!

How do you cope with the emotional stress of bed rest? Please share your tips and tools in the comments section below. Questions? Send us an e-mail at

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