by Darline Turner-Lee, bedrest coach and founder of Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond
I was working in my own little funk the other day when I decided to take a break. I went over to the online message boards that I frequent to see how the mamas on bed rest are doing, how they are supporting one another and to learn any new information or tips.
One post in particular really touched my heart. A mama-to-be had finally gotten pregnant after two years of trying. Now it seems that her cervix is shortening and is a centimeter shorter than where it should be for this point in her pregnancy (second trimester about 22 or 24 weeks). She was asking anyone who read her post to please pray for her health and for the health of her baby, for her cervix to stop shrinking, for preterm labor not to occur and for her baby to be born healthy. She was starting bed rest.
Bed rest sucks! No doubt about it. But I am constantly amazed and humbled at how mamas on bed rest stay focused, stay positive and stay supportive of one another. I am honored that I get to work with and support such incredible women. The beauty that I have seen is that women on bed rest, after the initial shock and anxiety, really pull it together and make it through. At the same time they support one another, encourage one another and are invaluable resources for one another – all while on bed rest!
After reading through the responses to her post, I compiled this list of tips mamas on bed rest recommend to help keep your spirits up and to help you to press forward when your situation is scary and out of control. Strangely enough, this list can be applied to any situation that is difficult, not just being on bed rest, and I find myself drawing strength from their words. Here are words of wisdom from mamas on bed rest how about how to survive and beat bed rest.
- It’s okay to be sad. All the mamas agreed that their initial response to their bed rest prescription was anxiety and sadness. They were all very concerned about the health of their babies and sad that there was little else that they could do to make the situation better. They acknowledged the sadness but quickly moved on.
- Steel your resolve. As one mama put it, “I just told myself, whatever I have to do to get this baby here I will do!” All of these mamas fully intend to bring home healthy babies and have set their minds to do so. As so many psychologists and coaches say, “The mind directs the body. ” These kids are well on their way.
- Perk up. The mamas all recommended that you surround yourself with positive things while you are on bed rest. Make sure your “living space” is cheerful and that you have all you need handy. As much as possible engage in activities that keep your spirits up. Invite people to come and visit you. Watch movies and do crafts with your children. If it makes you happy and content, do it.
- Get Support. Along the same lines, mamas on bed rest recommend that you get support. Get help with the household duties, your children and your pets. Arrange to get those things that must be done done and forget the rest!
- It’s not over ’til it’s over! One mama said, (and I’m paraphrasing) “I am going to do all that I can to hold my baby in my arms. I’m not giving up, no way! As long as I am here and my baby is inside me, I’m going to keep going. It’s not over ’til it’s over!” We all know that sometimes things don’t turn out well for mamas on bed rest and babies don’t make it. But I really liked this mamas attitude. She wasn’t going to give in to negativity and she wasn’t going to give up until she had a clear reason to so. Now that’s strength.
These mamas on bed rest showed me that situations are what they are, but we don’t have to let them rule us. You can become very sad and give in to the fear or you can acknowledge that the situation is tough and then do all that you can to press on towards your goal. If mind over matter can be applied to mamas on bed rest, we’re going to be welcoming many babies in the very near future.
Darline Turner-Lee, Bedrest Coach, is a nationally certified physician assistant, ACSM Clinical Exercise Specialist®, perinatal fitness instructor and the owner and founder of Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond. After two miscarriages and two high-risk pregnancies, she set out to develop products and services she would have used while she was having her own children including Bedrest Fitness, an exercise DVD designed specifically for pregnant women on prescribed bed rest. Her company provides individual and group coaching support, educational information and various products and resources to support high risk pregnant women and new moms. Turner-Lee holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Tufts University and a Master of Health Science Degree from Duke University Medical Center’s Physician Assistant Program. For more information on Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond, Bedrest Fitness or to contact Darline visit www.mamasonbedrest.com.
This article is reprinted with permission and was originally published on the Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond blog February 10, 2010.