Feathering the Nest
Helping a Friend
Twins List FAQs
Helping a Friend on bedrest
An acquaintance of mine just found out she has to go on bedrest. She's at 29 weeks. I'd really like to help her out, but I don't know her that well. Do you have any suggestions?
While she's on bedrest, she'll have many needs-- both physical (cleaning house, running errands, picking up the older kids from school) and emotional (just having someone, anyone, to talk to). On the other hand, many people find it difficult to ask for help-- and almost as hard to accept it. You might want to start with something small, so she'll know it's not an imposition. For instance, call her before your next shopping trip, and ask if you can pick up a few things while you're there. Then you can talk for a few minutes when you drop off the groceries.
Another very common suggestion is to bring food. If you know the family and their tastes reasonably well, you can bring a home-cooked meal. If you're not as familiar with their eating habits, find out from a mutual acquaintance what restaurants they like, and order from there. Gift certificates (especially from a place that delivers!) are also quite useful.
A woman on bedrest may feel like her house is falling apart around her, and she's powerless to stop it. Offer to come over and clean house. You could arrange a cleaning party, with a few friends, so the cleaning is done faster, and she'll have several people to talk to. She may, however, feel embarrassed or uncomfortable having friends and acquaintainces cleaning up. If that's the case, you might be able to arrange a visit from a housecleaning service.
She may also appreciate a manicure or massage. You can chip in with a few friends if it's a bit pricy. (Just be sure the masseuse is familiar with massage during pregnancy.) Or arrange a Tupperware or Mary Kay party at her house. She'll get to see a few new faces, and probably a hostess gift.
But whatever you do, the most important thing is knowing she has someone she can count on. As one bedrest survivor said, "The biggest help to me were friends who recognized this as an essential, but stressful, experience (rather than a "rest" or "break" that some people saw it as)."
I was on bedrest for 4 months. Being so helpless really took getting used to. The neatest things people did for me: getting take out food from my favorite resturant, coming to visit and talk (you get awfully lonely), getting my cookbooks and making some of our favorite meals, checking out books from the library, a nurse friend did medicial research on TTTS for me, and taking lots of poloraids of my older child at school functions. My sister-in-law sent me a wonderful box of all sorts of things I could do on the sofa - she even tied pretty ribbons on them all (kleenex, nail hardener, peelable facial mask, crosswords, easy cross-stitch, fun magazines, etc). I also had an out-of-state friend send me a "pampering" kit, wrapped in a diaper( get it?) with lotion, bath oil, godiva chocolates and a great novel.
I was on bedrest for 6 weeks, and luckily, it was a time my husband was able to be home with me a majority of the time.
A few things that really helped:
1) When people brought over dishes that DH only needed to heat up. He had been cooking meals every day, morning, noon, and night. This gave him a nice break.
2) Great suggestion on the lawn mowing. There is enough to worry about without thinking of the lawn, which at this time of year, could also include raking, weeding, etc.
3) If they don't have a baby monitor, get them one now. We had a 3 story house, with the bedrooms upstairs. My DH would often spend a part of the day downstairs, and if I ever needed anything, would just talk quietly into the baby monitor. He had it set up downstairs, and knew whenever I needed help.
4) Buy her a few calling cards. The hardest thing for me to justify was spending MORE money by calling family and friends to occupy my time while on bedrest, but it was one of the things I was able to do.
5) Buy her a diary. Although it was difficult for me to write when I was laying on my side the whole day, I had much time to write to the girls about what the pregnancy was like, what I was feeling, how things were going, etc. It will keep her busy for awhile during the day, and she'll have something to share with her twins once they are old enough.
6) Rent her some classic movies, whether its Officer and a Gentleman or What About Bob........pop some popcorn, and have a movie party. She'll enjoy the movies, and the company, and if you don't know each other too well, there won't be many uncomfortable silences.
Well, those are my suggestions. Wish her luck. It gets very long, but is well worth it.
I went into early labor with my son and wound up on two months of strict bedrest with heavy meds (only allowed to the toilet and had to eat laying down). Then I had one month where I was off the meds and mandated bedrest, but it took me a few weeks to be able to move around again... I think I survived the first few weeks because I was able to have my husband set up the computer right next to me and telecommute for a couple of weeks from my horizontal position (albeit very scattered hours). This is one thing I would recommend to anyone going on bedrest that has a project or two with loose deadlines and can be done with scaled back hours. Usefulness is a life saver.
The main thing that thrilled me was a surprise dinner party that my husband and some of my co-workers planned. I was expecting a cousin-in law over and had used a toilet run to change my bed over to the sofa when a dozen or so folks showed up at my door with my husband. They worked together to make a huge dinner and I cheated, sitting up for the meal. It was so wonderful seeing all these people having snuck around just to make me feel part of a whole again.
The one thing I was hesitant to ask for was HELP! I really didn't want to bother anyone. Luckily my insurance co. considered me high risk, and immediately sent someone to check on me 3 days a week. (They offered daily - but I felt "selfish"). She cleaned house, cooked, did laundry, took my vital signs, and kept me company. That was what I really needed most. And my friends at work knew what a picky eater my husband is, so they pitched in and bought us dinner out a couple of times. They knew he liked barbecue (he's a "plain-janer" with all food). That was really a treat!
But I insisted on folding my laundry, so she would do the wash, and bring in to me and we'd fold together. Luckily I was only "stuck" in bed for four weeks, but those last two weeks I could barely move since the babies had gotten so heavy!