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 5 weeks at home and 2 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:
1. Visitors. 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.
2. Netflix. 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.
5. Hobby. 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.
6. Books/Magazines. 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!
7. Puzzles/Games. 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. (Check out this post with 8 Tips for Helping Your Older Child Adjust to New Siblings!)
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 7:30AM, order breakfast each day at 8AM, read 2 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 anyways. On those most rare days when I had just had too much and felt batsh*t, 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 towards 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.
How to Avoid the Epic Meltdown: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Duh, duh, duh….the dreaded meltdown. With one kid, this can bring the strongest mommy to her knees. With multiples, well…the word “epic” takes on a completely new meaning. In the worst possible way.
Moral of the story? A little organization and forethought can go a long way. Considering WHY my kids were throwing tantrums and then exploring what I could do to prevent them before they started has saved me a million tears. Like I said, it’s not a perfect system. But every little bit helps.
How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Every day I pick up my children from day care to hear “They are such great kids! They had a blast today and are some of the best listeners we’ve ever had. They’re so well-behaved!” Yay, Mama win! And then we go home and they act like total demon-infested, hell-raising psychos and won’t listen to a word I say. Weekends can be brutal and I sometimes find myself praising Jesus that I decided to keep working and not stay-at-home.
sweet kids from day care?
Best Thing I Ever Did: I went to pick the kids up one day and they were enjoying themselves, so I decided to just sit and watch for a bit and let them play. Funny thing happened. I started listening to how the day care teachers communicated with my children and how they responded. And the light bulb went off. I don’t know how to speak the language my kids understand.
I started listening harder. And then I came back the next day and did it again. Now, every time I drop off or pick up, I listen. How are they talking to my kids? What are they saying? How are the kids responding? And then I mimick it at home.
Major win!!! My kids are starting to see an extension of their daily routine back into the home and it’s making sense. I say certain words they’re used to hearing and like magic, they listen. Not every time (which I suspect also happens at day care), but the majority of time. Major improvement. We are starting to speak the same language.
Sometimes I forget (or refuse to admit) that I am not my children’s primary care provider. For those of us that work outside the home, most often our kids spend the majority of their time somewhere other than with us. Sometimes, being reminded of that hurts. A lot. But truth is, they develop routines, cues and references that we’re not familiar with. We need to learn the language they are used to hearing every day so that we can communicate our needs in a way they understand. I need to speak my children’s language.
Phrase Adjustments that Worked for Me:
- “Walk away please” instead of “No!” or “Don’t Touch!”
- “Are you using your listening ears?” instead of “Listen to me!”
- “I’m going to go to work for awhile, but Mommies always come back!” instead of “Say bye to Mommy. I have to go to work.”
11 Alternatives to Self Harm: Emily Speaks
If you’re just connecting with the Emily Speaks series, be sure to check out her first post, Cyber Bullying and Self-Harm, to catch up. Today, Emily will be sharing 11 alternatives to self harm to help those hurting to make healthier choices to cope with emotional struggles.
I know it can be hard not to self-harm if you’re being bullied, but you need to try to think of other ways to deal with the pain. Cutting leaves angry scars on your body. You should try to deal with your hurt in other ways. Here are 11 good examples that will hopefully help you out a little bit.
1. Try talking to somebody about what’s going on so that you can get it out of your system.
2. Go outside where nobody is around and just scream as loud as you can for as long as you want.
3. Take a rubber band and keep it on your wrist so whenever you feel like cutting you can just take that rubber band and snap it on your wrist (softly – not to where it harms you).
4. Get an old teddy bear or stuffed animal that you don’t want and take your anger out on that.
5. Go on a jog or go out and ride your bike or long board or whatever you have and just ride around to calm yourself down.
6. Go hang out with your friend(s) and get your mind off things that would make you want to cut or do anything else to harm yourself.
7. Sleep it out and take a long nap and see how you’re feeling when you wake up.
8. Go hang out with your family and just relax.
9. Listen to some music.
10. Read a book.
11. Get an art journal and draw out your feelings. You can paint, draw pictures, even just scribble hard.
These are some of the ways that I stop myself from cutting, because I do still think about it when things get rough. When that happens, I try to do these instead and it helps. It does! You need to do anything that would take your mind off of any bad thoughts you are having and make you want to hurt yourself. This might not be the best list of ideas, but if you take a chance and try them out, they might end up working for you. You’re not only helping yourself, but you’re helping everyone else around you by making a better choice to not self-harm.