I spent the last ten weeks prior to delivering quadruplets on strict home bed rest. What began as a “vacation” eventually began to feel isolating, monotonous, and humbling. At first, it was hard accepting the fact that I was almost totally dependent upon others to manage the many things I was accustomed to doing. Furthermore, relinquishing control of little things sometimes created anxiety for me. Despite the challenging days, I would repeat the experience in a heartbeat for the sake of my children. During my bedrest stint, I discovered several things that helped me cope with my temporary normal.
1. Set Goals
Use a visible calendar to mark certain milestones (e.g. viability, 28 weeks, 30 weeks, etc) and reward yourself as you reach them. When you see this, you’ll feel empowered to take on the day.
2. Get Dressed
It seems a little silly to change clothes when you are going to stay in bed all day, but trust me on this one. Changing into fresh clothes helps you feel put together and signals that it’s daytime instead of bedtime. You may be wearing something that could pass as pajamas such as a comfy tee shirt and yoga pants, but you’ll know you are dressed.
3. Make a Simple To-Do List
After waking up, think of a couple of things you’d like to accomplish during the day. Perhaps you want to finish reading a couple chapters of your favorite book, or maybe you need to make a few phone calls. Whatever the case, make sure your list isn’t overwhelming or unrealistic since it should help you feel productive.
4. Meditation/ Prayer
Once you are dressed and have plans for the day, taking a few minutes to clear your mind with prayer or meditation can help you relax and remember why you are on bed rest.
Bedrest is the perfect opportunity binge watch a favorite TV show or devour a book series. You may also enjoy a stack of magazines or games such as Sudoku and crossword puzzles. Online games that can be played on a tablet or smartphone (e.g. Words with Friends) can be a fun way to interact with your friends while occupying your mind. If you are crafty, an activity such as knitting or an adult coloring book may be relaxing.
6. Keep Everything Within Reach
Chances are if you are on bedrest, you shouldn’t be getting in and out of bed all day. It’s wise to keep whatever you need during the day within an arm’s reach. Before going to bed, you may want to ask someone else to help you gather things for the next day such as fresh snacks or a new book.
Twiniversity tip: Invest in a grabber such as the Ettore Grip ‘n Grab to help reach for things while on bed rest.
7. Allow Visitors
If friends, family, or neighbors would like to drop by, invite them in. If answering the door is complicated, consider getting a realtor’s lockbox for your house key. Visitors can help the time pass and keep things upbeat. Don’t worry if your house is messy or if you aren’t dressed to the nines. They don’t expect you to entertain them; they are coming to support you.
8. Accept Help
If you have the occasional visitor, take them up on offers to help you. Some people may pitch in by doing a simple chore, and others can be a huge help by doing things like refilling your water or letting the dog go outside. Some moms find it helpful to keep a list of household chores handy and then allowing visitors to choose something from the list to tackle.
9. Social Media
Take advantage of social media to stay in tune with the outside world. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will keep you in the loop with your own circles and give tell what’s trending. Plus, there are many online support groups for parents of multiples that are quite helpful.
10. Bring Creature Comforts
If you are on bedrest at the hospital, ask a friend or family member to bring creature comforts to your room. Wall hangings or pictures can help the room feel more inviting and cozy. Having your own toiletries and linens may help you feel comfortable too. To detract unwanted visitors, and to get better rest, an eye mask and earplugs will help filter the outside noises and bright lights.
11. Join a Local Mothers of Multiples Group
Chances are there’s a local Mothers of Multiples group available for you to join. These groups can be extremely helpful to expectant parents as they offer insight into what to expect, host informational meetings, may provide meals before or after the babies are born, may visit mothers on bedrest, often lend preemie clothes to babies in the NICU, and typically have an online forum available to join. Plugging in with others who relate to expecting and parenting multiples can be extremely helpful. Plus, once your babies arrive, there are often fun family activities and playgroups awaiting you.
If you are new to the bedrest scene, there can be trying days, but in the scheme of things your time spent on bedrest will soon be a thing of the past.
Amber Shawver and her husband, George, are the proud parents of girl-boy-girl-boy quadruplets who debuted in 2012. Amber draws from her experiences working in childcare settings and as a school based behavioral consultant to manage raising quadruplets at home. Amber continues to practice school psychology part-time in an urban school district. She chronicles life raising quadruplets at www.fourtoadore.com You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. For more articles on Twiniversity by Amber, click here.
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