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Advice from a Bedridden Mom on How to Conquer Isolation Anguish

How Bed Rest Prepared Me for Self-Quarantine

How hard can it be? It’s just like a vacation, right? My brother-in-law asked me that as I counted the tape strips still stuck to the ceiling tiles for the 256th time that day.

I didn’t blame him. If all you have to do is lie down for 22 hours a day for four months, it shouldn’t be that hard, right?

But the thing about bed rest during pregnancy is that it wasn’t just lying down. It’s lying down and taking meds to literally keep the baby in. It’s being alone with your thoughts each night, dreading more bad news. 

But in those weeks, I learned and grew so much, and I never thought I’d apply those lessons so soon and in such a different circumstance. 

Staying home and quarantining is nothing like being on bed rest, but so many of my takeaways from the latter have been immensely helpful in coping with the loneliness I sometimes feel being socially isolated from family and friends. 

I hope that by sharing what I learned can somehow help you, too, if you’re feeling a little blue these days.

One day at a time. This was my optimist of a  husband’s mantra every day that we were in the hospital. 

When we look so far out into the future and can’t see an end in sight, it becomes easier for us to get sucked into feelings of hopelessness and anguish. 

But if you focus on just getting through one day; on making the best of that day–it makes such a difference.

Space out activities. This allowed me to not go stir crazy most of the time (I did have my moments where I just had to be sad or unproductive, but it’s important to give time for that, too).

Now, I take my time to truly be present in whatever activity I choose to do instead of rushing to do everything right away, whether it’s indulging in a bath or cooking for the family.

Appreciate the little things. There were so many things I was deprived of while away from my family and my home. 

So when my dog got to visit, I was over the moon. If I had any doubts about the healing power of pets, they were all dispelled after that. 

And one night when my daughter got to sleep over, I relished in her snuggles and snores. 

Looking back on all that makes me appreciate all the things I can still do–shower upright, playtime with kids, neighborhood walks.

Value the helpers. My husband worked from my room everyday, logging in hourly as the hospital wi-fi kicked him out. I don’t think I could ever articulate how much I appreciated him because his company literally saved me from depression. 

The nurses who befriended me, who provided me with medical and mental care, my friends and family visited, FaceTimed, and brought me food–they saved me from loneliness.

I now return the favor by checking in even when they say they’re okay. I know how valuable it is to feel heard and seen and remembered. 

I also never take the front liners for granted–a decent conversation can be so healing.

See the light. Each day I woke with baby in my belly was a win. Now, every day that my family is safe and uninfected is cause for celebration.

I learned it’s a waste of energy to blame others, and it’s more productive to focus on self-care and self-improvement.

Taking five minutes to myself has been so good for my well-being. I can’t always focus on just my breath, but that it’s okay. Meditation allows me to hear the background noise but observe it from a distance as I take my time to be with my own thoughts. 

Those few precious minutes allow me to be a more centered, patient, and thoughtful person. 

Knowing it was in my capacity to save not just one life was enough for me to understand that the sacrifices I make are necessary and invaluable.

Valuing structure. It was maddening to be tethered to my bed, but that was the only way to prevent my baby from coming out prematurely. 

Had I not heeded my doctor’s and nurses’ advice, I would not have not just risked my life, but my baby’s, too. 

Knowing it was in my capacity to save not just one life was enough for me to understand that the sacrifices I make are necessary and invaluable.

The weight of that responsibility was not lost on me nor should it be lost on any one of us, especially now. 

So many times, I wanted to ask to be discharged because I couldn’t bear being away from my family. But knowing I was exactly where I needed to be to keep my family safe was enough impetus to stay the course.

It’s never easy being alone. But like all things, this will come to pass, too, and we’ll all emerge the better for it because we all did our parts to see this trying time through.

How are you coping with being away from friends and family? We would love to see you share your tips in the comments!

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