Coping With Bedrest When There Are Other Children In The Home
When you are put on bed rest, much of your life simply stops. No more exercise, no more shopping, no more work or cleaning the house. While you must follow your doctor's orders, bedrest can affect your entire family. Writer Amy E Tracy, author of The Pregnancy Bed Rest Book, has some tips to make the transition to bedrest a smooth one! How to cope
When Deborah Simmons, of Golden Valley, Minnesota, was put on bed rest for preterm labor, she wondered how her immobility would affect her family. "I knew I needed to take care of my unborn baby, but I was also concerned how my bed rest would affect my daughter, who was almost three, and my husband, who had to take over most of the household work."
Now a licensed family and marriage counselor who counsels families coping with high-risk pregnancy, Simmons says that coming together as a team to battle the difficulties of bed rest can actually be a positive experience. Fathers often form closer bonds with their children during Mom's confinement.
Children develop independence and confidence by helping their parents, and they often experience less jealousy when the baby is born. Many families take pride in overcoming obstacles together, as well as helping to "grow" their new baby. In fact, many say that when bed rest is over, the reward is not only a healthy baby but also a closer family.
Here are some suggestions to help your family take on bed rest together:
- Explain your special pregnancy. When talking to young children, avoid using words like "sick," which can add more concern. Instead, explain that you need to lie down so the baby can keep growing. If you're hospitalized, explain that you and the baby need extra care from the nurses and doctors.
- Track the time. Children often have a hard time understanding that bed rest is temporary. Checking off each day and week of your pregnancy on a calendar can help. At the end of each week, celebrate with a special treat, such as playing a game or watching a video.
- Stick to a schedule. Maintaining your family's routine (meals, bedtimes and activities) can help your children feel more secure. This won't always be easy, so don't hesitate to ask for help.
- Delegate. Giving your children responsibilities during your bed rest will help them feel more in control.Young children can bring you items, help with easy food preparations, even rub your tummy and talk to the baby. Older children can handle age-appropriate tasks, but don't assign big jobs that require supervision.
- Rally up the troops. At the beginning of each week, discuss the week's agenda and how each person will contribute. This is a good time to discuss concerns and feelings, too.
- Have some fun. If you are up to it, make some invitations and
invite your children and spouse to a pizza-and-movie night. Have
a Friday night "campout" and tell ghost stories under the sheets. Play lots of games and read many books together.