What to do on bedrest: Cara’s tips

by Whitney Moss on December 27, 2012

in Pregnancy,Prenatal

Cara is a contributor to our other blog, {510} Families, and is fast becoming an expert not on “what to do with (and without!) your baby,” but rather, “what to do while pregnant and on bedrest when you have another child.”  She offered to share her lessons learned with us.

At exactly 26 weeks pregnant, I had pre-term contractions. Thankfully with medicine and IV hydration, they slowed and eventually stopped.  However, I have been on bed rest ever since (almost 6 weeks now) and will be until I reach 36 weeks.  So how does one keep from going crazy while on bed rest and with a 4 year old?  The biggest credit goes to my awesome husband  for adjusting his work schedule (he’s a PhD student and is teaching this semester) as much as possible, so he is here almost every hour that my daughter isn’t in preschool.  Lifesaver!

Here are the rest of the ways I keep from losing my mind and going completely stir crazy about the fact that I haven’t been outside my house in a month other than for doctor’s appointments.

Try not to think about the fact that you haven’t been outside your house in a month.

Write a guest post for one of your favorite blogs. (Editor’s note: Yes!)

Shop online.  The combination of bed rest with holiday shopping and deals has been a bad, bad combo over here.  My neighbor recently said, “I have a box show up every day with all this holiday shopping!” and my husband and I just laughed, since we have many boxes showing up every day. It keeps me entertained! (This is my favorite site for finding the best deals)

Catch up on photo albums/scrapbooking. When my daughter was born, I began using a scrapbooking system called Project Life.  It makes documenting every day (or less often if you wish) totally easy and yet, not surprisingly, I had fallen way behind.  I am seizing this opportunity to print hundreds of photos to fill in the gaps on 4 years’ of life and get them all into the album, as well as captioning them. It has been a much-needed emotional boost as I see all the fun my daughter and I had when she was tiny and I imagine what this little guy I’m working so hard to keep inside will do.

Journal.   Most of my writing has been catching up on my Project Life albums, but I have also done some writing in a pregnancy journal as well as writing letters to my little guy.

Play with your kids.  When my 4-year-old daughter is at home, I try to do things with her other than watching TV. Just because Mommy has to stay in bed, that doesn’t mean I can’t do anything good. My daughter and I have done LOTS of coloring, paper dolls, crafting, reading, game-playing, and movie-watching. The key to our sanity is ensuring that she go stir-crazy, so my husband takes her on lots of outings and we’ve kept her enrolled in activities, just like I normally would during the week (I’m a stay-at-home mom).

Watch a lot of movies/TV shows.  Netflix streaming is a must if you are on bedrest.  You’ll thank me, I promise. When nobody is home, I power through television like nobody’s business. Among other things, I’ve watched almost three full seasons of Cheers (often while working on photo albums) and a handful of documentaries.

Do crafty things. I already liked hands-on projects so I made an advent calendar, sewed Christmas ornaments, and have colored in a coloring book a LOT.

Read and read and read and read.  A friend loaned me four books, and when I returned them a week later she said, “Wow, you do have a lot of time on your hands!” And that wasn’t even the sum total of what I read that week!  I’ve read both fun books and more “serious” books since I have the time.

Take your friends up on their offers of help.  People are SO willing to help, seriously.  I don’t ever like feeling like a burden.  I like doing things myself and helping others, so this one was a little hard at first, but then I realized that people were offering because they cared and really wanted to help.  So yeah, I’ll let you watch my daughter while my husband and I go to the doctor.  And, yes, please do come knock on my door and invite my daughter out to play with your kids.  And chocolate cupcakes delivered to my door?  Thank you!  One friend offered to bring me lunch — when you’re on bedrest and experiencing cravings from restaurants, this is a delightful offer.

Stay social. Thank goodness for e-mail, the phone, and Facebook to keep from feeling completely isolated from the outside world.  I’ve also read many more news articles and blogs than I normally do, letting myself follow the rabbit trails that an article posted on Facebook takes me down.

Crossword puzzles.  I like crossword puzzles (and all those kinds of word and logic puzzles) and always buy a magazine of them when I travel, so I have many on hand that are only partially completed — it’s a way to keep my brain stimulated. (Editor’s note: A book of puzzles is a nice, specific response for those who ask “What can I bring you?”)

Blog.   The grandparents would disagree, I’m sure, but I’ve tried to keep up with our private family blog a bit better while I’m on bedrest. Yeah, I’m failing, but my heart is in the right place.

Let yourself feel just a little bit bad for yourself every once in a while.  It’s okay to feel a little bummed out that this is happening.  It’s a bummer.  It isn’t normal, and that’s always a little hard.

Live vicariously through others.  After telling me about her dinner plans, my mom said “I’m not trying to make you feel bad about not getting out of the house!”  Hardly!  I wanted to know all the details of where they were going and had fun living vicariously and looking forward to the day when my husband and I will celebrate either my being off bedrest or our little guy’s arrival with a dinner out…maybe just at Rubio’s or something quick and cheap, but still OUT!

Enjoy the restful/alone times while they last.  This is the one I’ve tried to stay focused on. While it can be boring and crazy-making, it is also a really restful time in my life.  Those moments when my daughter is at preschool and my husband is at work, I can play music, read, nap, or watch something with no internal guilt over “I should be DOING something.”  Those busy days will come again. There will be a newborn and I will be washing dishes, doing laundry, cooking and cleaning again — for now, I rest.

Thank you, Cara! Heather wrote about finding the fun in bedrest in the past but she was totally speculating.

Were any of you on bedrest during your pregnancy? If you’re on bedrest right now, be sure to say “hello”!

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.

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