Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Katy Blevins’ blog, Chaos and Kiddos. It has been republished here with permission.
Per the doctor’s orders, I was put on modified bed rest just shy of 27 weeks due to a constant pattern of contractions. This is not unusual in a multiples’ pregnancy, and I’d been mentally preparing myself to slow down right around that time, so that direction from the doctor came as no big surprise.
Almost five weeks at home and two weeks in the hospital later, I delivered at 34 weeks. During that period of time, I shed many tears, had lots of anxiety and was bored beyond reason. Here are 10 tips to bed rest sanity that really helped me along the way:
I needed to see people frequently. Hear different voices, anticipate visits. The important thing to note was I did this when I felt up to it and when it worked best for me. Sometimes I didn’t want to see anybody. And that was OK. When they did come, many of them helped with cleaning around the house. Even hearing them clean helped my OCD (I really struggled with anxiety hearing the house “live” around me without any input or control. Yup, I’m a nut.). And I admit, visitors were required to bring food. Ha. I lived vicariously through the awesome snacks they brought me since I couldn’t cook for myself.
Did you know there are 120 episodes of “Lost”? I watched episode 120 the morning before I was admitted to the hospital for the last two weeks of bed rest. Netflix is THE. BOMB. The first thing husband did when I got put on bed rest was to buy me a new Blu-Ray player that had Netflix (and Amazon Prime) already in it. He set me up like a Queen!
3. Social Media/Blog
Social media is the obvious connection to the outside world. It’s a lot easier to keep up and stay connected than back in the dark ages when they put the pregnant chick in a back room in the castle with the windows covered up. Share your journey! It will feel good. You’ll need the pep talks from around the world!
4. Mini Fridge
This one probably should have claimed the number 1 spot. We had a fantastic friend offer one to us (she even delivered!) and it was such a major asset. The husband would stock it up every morning on his way to work and I had everything I needed for the day within arm’s reach by the bed.
Being a photographer, I had the great luxury of plenty of creative work at my disposal to pass the time. I’ve heard of people who took up knitting and knit a million sweaters or cross-stitch or any other hands-on hobby that kept their brains busy and the hands moving.
My Kindle Fire is my best friend. I went through so many awesome books during my time on bed rest. And then I asked visiting friends to bring over their favorite books and I read those too. It was neat to see what different people brought and I learned some more about their personalities and style too! I joined Goodreads to keep up with my progress and find new books to read. Super cool!
Having other children while on bed rest is super tough. Not only is it frustrating to you to not feel like you can provide the care for them that you would like, it is frustrating for them to feel your “absence” in their own daily routine. Setting aside time when they come home from school to sit on the bed and play a board game with you or do some other activity together can brighten your day and help them still feel connected and important.
8. Develop a Routine
In those darker bed rest moments, you can sometimes feel yourself falling into the abyss of boredom and in truth, a little bit depressed. Feeling so sedentary can have some major negative effects if you’re not careful. Establish a routine! In the hospital, I made a point to try and wake up by 7:30 a.m., order breakfast each day at 8 a.m., read two chapters of my book, then watch an episode of whatever show I was on. Even the stupid stuff. I made it my routine. I gave my time and day value.
9. Skype. FaceTime. Google Hangout
Praise God for technology! Sometimes you need to see a face that’s far away. We’re blessed with the tools to do so.
10. Stay Ordered And Clean
There were so many mornings that I just didn’t feel like brushing my hair or getting dressed. I made myself do it anyway. On those most rare days when I had just had too much, cabin fever, about to go psycho, crazy and didn’t do those simple human tasks? Well, those days got worse. Even when I didn’t want to do it, making sure I made an effort to stay clean and ordered, I felt better for it afterwards. It was important to still try and feel like a woman, even with the most minimalist efforts. Ya know?
There will be super highs and super lows on bed rest. You have one job … baby grower. Embrace that and do your best to find peace in your heart. It won’t always be easily identified, but work to stay calm and focused on keeping the best mental state for your little babe (or babes!) as they grow inside you. Every second spent on bed rest allows them to take one step closer toward full development. It is worth every bit of hard work, energy and dark moments to know that each day you’ve passed a new milestone and given them a better chance at the best life. Every day counts.
Bonus Tip! Enjoy the slower pace.
While quite literally bored to tears while on bed rest, I sometimes find myself looking back on those days among the chaos of twin toddlers, sleepless nights, epic tantrums and indescribable moments of filth and boy nasty, and go “Man, those were the days.” I wouldn’t trade my chaotic little piece of heaven for the world, but I sure would like a week, jeez … an hour! of time where I had to do absolutely nothing but lay in bed. Ahhh … even now, I am dreaming of it. One day.