Bed rest survival tips

Here’s what I wish someone had told me about how to manage bed rest during pregnancy:

Routine matters

Bed rest can be mind-numbing because you’re alone with your thoughts and the days seem endless. After one or two practice runs during my first couple of pregnancies, I realised that having a routine would help me stay sane. I had regular meal times, activity times - like reading, watching a movie, or crafts - and rest times. Setting a routine meant that I didn’t spend the day sleeping or eat an entire packet of chocolate biscuits in one sitting.

Accept help

I hate asking anyone for help. I’d rather lie in a pool of my own blood or crawl to the phone myself than ask someone to call an ambulance. I just don’t want to trouble other people. Bed rest forces you to accept help. Friends or family can fetch your other kids from school, bring meals round and even clean your house. And generally, they’re searching for a way to help. Let them.

Be specific

Sometimes, I needed someone to go to the shop for me to stock up on food. Other times, I needed more reading material or something other than those dreadful TV soaps to watch. If someone says that you can call them anytime if you need anything, take advantage of the offer and be specific.

Set boundaries

Now that you’ve accepted help from all your friends, set boundaries around when and how it happens. I love my privacy and one of the worst things about bed rest was everyone assuming that I was available all the time. I had to learn a fast lesson in saying “no” sometimes, because being available at all times was stressing me out. Eventually, my friends learned to call ahead of time to find out whether it was a good time, which saved me from sticky situations like having to entertain my boss and my gynaecologist simultaneously.

Not everyone knows what to say

‘You’re so lucky! I wish I could spend a few weeks in bed.’ ‘At least you get to catch up on your reading.’ ‘It must feel like a holiday from your other kids!’ All semi-true, but thoughtless nonetheless. No, it’s not a holiday. I was anxious about whether the pregnancy could be saved, stressed out about the job I’d left in the lurch, and worried about my kids being taken to and fetched from school by a different person every day.

Learn to gloss over comments like this: your friends mean well, and they’re just trying to encourage you through a difficult situation.

How did you cope with a high risk pregnancy?

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