Why we are on bed rest
I’ve been on bed rest twice. There are few things as anxiety-inducing for a woman than being unable to get up and tend to herself and others. Being on bed rest made me a proponent of teen pregnancy. Because only an adolescent in the throes of a growth spurt so epic that it catapults them from Leonardo DiCaprio in Growing Pains to Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed could enjoy that much time lying around doing nothing.
Pregnancy guides advise you to use the time on bed rest to your advantage. This is precious time to:
- Start a pregnancy journal
- Start a family tree
- Organize photo albums
- Answer letters or correspondence
- Write thank-you cards if you’ve already had a baby shower; if not, start addressing the envelopes to people you know will probably give gifts
- Start a calendar of important dates to remember
- Contact your job about your maternity benefits
- Fill out health insurance paperwork for your baby
- Have your lawyer draft a new will
These are awesome tips. These are totally the things a reasonable, prudent person should do on bed rest.
As for me, I spent my time throwing Cheerios to my toddler so she could hunt and gather them out of the carpet, and watching Reba reruns. I felt guilty the whole time. I knew I should have been organizing my file cabinet; preparing my taxes; creating email folders; discovering the 119th element.
After the fact, I started asking other women what they did when they were on bed rest. Here are some answers:
- Lifetime Original Movies. Up.The.Wazoo.
- I watched Lawrence (Bore-ance) of Arabia on heavy rotation until the raid on Aqaba finally sent me into labor.
- I watched reality TV and ate chicken wings.
- I read the Harry Potter series. 48 times.
- I did Enquirer magazine crossword puzzles and ate Reddi-Wip out of the can.
No one, but no one, is doing anything remotely “productive” on bed rest (aside from creating a human being out of a speck).
And the reason why women can’t manage to alphabetize the spice rack and write a PhD dissertation while on bed rest is because we’re scared.
Scared. Because we’re on bed rest for a reason.
Our baby is at risk of being premature. We have unexplained bleeding. We have too much amniotic fluid. We have too little amniotic fluid. We have diabetes. We have an incompetent cervix (meaning it can’t do twelve time tables or read a map).
The upshot of all of these being your baby may not make it.
Bed rest isn’t a time to make that homemade bulletin board out of burlap and party balloons you saw on Pinterest; or to catch up on all those old tasks and projects. It’s a time for survival. It’s a time to follow doctor’s orders and lie still and hope. And sometimes the only way active, intelligent women can achieve that kind of surrender is by shutting down, eating Funyons, and streaming Celebrity Fit Club.