10 things your friend on bedrest wished you knew

When I was 29 weeks pregnant with my second born, I was admitted to the hospital then placed on bedrest for the remainder of the pregnancy. Thankfully, it was a “modified” bedrest which meant I could be on bedrest at home rather than in the hospital; however, the official hospital discharge report said, “Modified bedrest; up for restroom only.” My doctor assured me I could still get up to take a shower and head to the kitchen to get something to eat {yippee!}. Other than that, it meant that I only left the house to go to the doctor. I was not to do any house work, take any trips to the store, nor could I care for my toddler.

Sounds like a vacation, right?! Au contraire, my friends. It was probably one of the more stressful times in my life. I am thankful that my son and I healthily made it to the other side, but I’d be lying if I said it was easy.

If you are currently on bedrest, I’m with you, sister. Bedrest is not for the mentally weak. And if you have a friend or loved one who has been placed on bedrest, here are some things I bet she wished you knew.

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1. At first, it’s awesome.

Acquittal of all chores and child care?! No cooking, cleaning, or lifting my 25 lb toddler?! Awesome! My job was to sit back, relax, and let that baby cook. Seemed easy enough.

2. But then, it sucks.

I think my bedrest high lasted a maximum of 2 days. Then, I realized the limitations bestowed upon me. I was missing out on both everyday life as well as special occasions. I wanted to play with my toddler, but for my health and for the unborn baby’s, I could not. I tried to work from home, but found that my blood pressure skyrocketed from the challenges of working remotely. I yearned to see my daughter be a flower girl for the first time at an out-of-town wedding, but could not.

3. She doesn’t want to hear that bedrest is nice.

I didn’t ask to be confined to my bed/sofa for the foreseeable future. I was placed there to avoid a potential health risk for myself and my unborn child. The thought of that wasn’t very “nice.”

4. She doesn’t want to hear unsolicited health advice.

Many well-meaning people who did not know about preeclampsia tried to offer health advice. Try to relax. Don’t eat this or that… Y’all. It’s biological. My blood pressure and other vitals would still be crap even if I were to eat, breathe, and live flawlessly like Beyoncé.

5. Weekly doctor appointments are the highlight of the week.

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Since there was no happy-houring, brunching, or getting out of the house, doctors’ visits were a welcomed change of scenery. I actually put on real clothes, brushed my hair, and maybe even some lipstick when I left the house for these appointments. My care team of the most amazing OB ever and all the fantastic nurses and medical assistants became my new tribe.

6. She might be panicking and living in fear.

Being on bedrest left me with a heightened awareness of my physical state. The breadth of my thoughts greatly narrowed to my health. Could anything happen at any moment that would send me into triage? Then, what if I were to deliver a pre-term baby? We are supposed to make it to at least 34 weeks! What if my blood pressure is so high that I have a seizure? Etc…

7. She feels lonely.

Being an extrovert, I thrive in community. I still had the privilege to be around family as they regularly came to the house. And thank goodness I had unlimited texting so that I could stay in touch with the outside world! But it’s nothing like being in another’s presence and seeing their smile. I missed seeing my friends’ eye rolls as we sh!t talked. I missed my coworkers’ side glances in meetings as we thought, “Did that just happen?” I missed shaking a fellow parishioner’s hand to share some peace. Humans are tribal creatures, and my tribe was rapidly reduced in a short amount of time.

8. She feels guilty.

Even though my only job was to stay healthy and pregnant, old habits died hard. I felt like I wasn’t pulling my own weight, and I felt guilty as I watched my husband do everything from load the washer with dirty cloth diapers to cooking another week’s worth of “hypoallergenic” meals for our toddler. Replay the same emotions as I watched my mother care for my toddler during the weekdays.

9. She needs help but probably won’t ask for it.

I had to accept that my dishwasher would look like this while I was on bedrest. On a scale from 1-10 (10 being batsh!t), how crazy does this picture make you feel?

I had to accept that my dishwasher would look like this while I was on bedrest. On a scale from 1-10 {10 being batsh!t}, how crazy does this picture make you feel? Thankfully, my BFF knew the site of this pained me and rectified the situation.

I have really ace friends and family who knew how to see through my strong answers of, “Yeah, we’re good! Thanks!” And because of that, they knew that my independent {translated… stubborn} nature would not permit me to ask for support. It was so relieving to hear, “When can I bring you a meal? Can I bring you a coffee?” vs. “Let me know what I can do to help!” It really alleviated the awkwardness I felt when accepting help.

10. She’s so grateful.

And of course there’s a silver lining. Bedrest made me realize how grateful I am for the amazing support structure I have in place :: spouse, family, friends, health care providers. It really does take a village.

Whew. That was a lot of emotions. Even though bedrest was the pits at times, it allowed me time to be mindful. I was mindful to own my emotions and did not let them own me. I was mindful that I was not {and still not} sure if I will be pregnant again. I treated bedrest as an opportunity to really enjoy every kick from within the belly. Plus, thanks to some tips on how to stay sane on bedrest, I was able to knock-out some projects I would normally never make time for.

With those thoughts and perspective in mind, if you find it in your heart to help someone on bedrest, there are some great tips here.

2 Responses to 10 things your friend on bedrest wished you knew

  1. Andrea S November 25, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    Very good point to ask specifics when offering help, like “when can I bring a meal” instead of “how can I help” so you don’t feel awkward. Good advice, I’ll use!

  2. Monica December 15, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

    I was on “modified” bed rest for 9 weeks…we were in a car accident that pinched s nerve that sitting up put pressure on and caused contractions. We had to move in with my MIL because we couldn’t afford for me to quit working almost 3 months earlier than expected. With two loud teenaged BILs. It was great to have the support, but I was 5 hours away from my family, scared to death, and had no friends nearby. It sucked, because this was 11 years ago. ..no texting or Internet! He’s worth it, but I’ve never wanted to repeat the experience!

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