Bed rest may sound nice to a busy mom. Who doesn’t dream of being told to lay around and watch TV and read all day?
The answer will usually be a mom who has to be on bed rest. The novelty wears off very quickly, and the reality of the struggle hits hard.
When mom is on bed rest, families must ask for help taking care of her responsibilities. I spent five weeks on bed rest before the birth of our triplets. It was an emotionally exhausting and humbling experience. If you would like to help a mom on bed rest, here are some ideas.
There are many reasons, but most moms are put on bed rest because they are going into preterm labour. This causes a lot of stress and anxiety. A long talk can be very therapeutic. When you visit, listen attentively and offer your support. A short email or text shows you care while leaving it in her hands to respond when it’s most convenient.
Visit the hospital
Hospital bed rest can be very lonely, and a visitor can really brighten mom’s day. Offer to deliver fast food or homemade meals to her. A care package with movies, magazines, and treats is also nice when stuck in bed.
Help with the older kids
During bed rest, mom may feel like she is letting down her older kids because she cannot be her normal, active self. Show support by offering to pick up the kids, even if it’s just for a couple of hours. Driving the kids to school or activities is also a big help. Keeping the kids in their regularly scheduled activities helps lessen the anxiety they feel with the changes at home.
Stop by the store
Offer to pick up a few things the family needs if you will be out running errands. Many grocery stores now offer drive-through pickup. Have the family order and pay for groceries online, then pick them up and deliver them. Offering to help put them away is appreciated.
It’s also likely mom can get out if she stays in a wheelchair. Offer to drive her to the store and assist as she tries to get her shopping done. This serves two purposes: it helps her with her responsibilities and provides a welcome change of scenery.
Provide a meal
Providing meals while mom is on bed rest is a huge help. The family, including mom, needs to eat three meals a day. Bring easy to heat up casseroles and freezer meals or stock the pantry with quick fix meals and snacks. Also consider simple-to-prepare food for lunch and breakfast.
Set up a train
If she is on bed rest for an extended amount of time, try setting up a meal train. Discuss with the family the most convenient dates and times to deliver meals and solicit friends to fill all the open spots. Social media is a great place to recruit people you might not think to ask.
Help around the house
It is often difficult for mom to know what would be helpful when asked. Sweep the floor, fold loads of laundry, vacuum, do dishes. Even a little bit of tidying up can make a big difference. Consider hiring a cleaning service for the family until mom is back on her feet.
When a mother is on bed rest, she can feel overwhelmed with the things she is missing, including time with her spouse and other children, her work, and normal daily responsibilities. By assisting with the basic needs of the family like cooking, cleaning, and errands, you will be a huge help to a mom on bed rest.
Writer Sarah Lyons spent five weeks on bed rest during her triplet pregnancy. She says that even though it was a difficult time, it was worth it to let the babies continue to grow before their birth, six weeks premature.