When you became a surrogate, you probably had a vision in your head of how your pregnancy would go. You’d be able to carry the intended parents’ baby nine months without a hitch, simultaneously focusing on your job and your family with only minimal adjustments.
But we all know life doesn’t go according to plan — and pregnancy can be especially surprising. If you’ve found yourself facing down the remainder of your pregnancy on bedrest, you’re not alone.
While bedrest is important for your physical health, it can also seem like a death sentence for your mental and social health. But there are some steps you can take to make your bedrest as easy as possible for you, your family and your intended parents.
1. Prepare as Much as You Can
The success of your bedrest will depend upon what steps you take to prepare yourself. Bedrest certainly isn’t easy, despite its name, and you’ll need to actively prepare for how this will affect your life moving forward.
Your surrogacy specialist and doctor will always give you suggestions, but here are just a few things to think about:
- Preparing yourself: A routine can make all the difference as you pass days with limited activity and interaction. Plan what you’ll do each day, and make sure you have everything (phone charger, laptop, fluids, snacks, etc.) close at hand. Talk to your employer to see if you can work remotely or if you’ll need to take personal leave.
- Preparing your family: You won’t be able to take care of your normal responsibilities, so work with your spouse to create a plan. Who will manage childcare while your spouse works? How will you ensure your family has well-balanced, healthy meals to eat? How will you explain your bedrest to your children?
- Preparing your intended parents: Your intended parents will be understandably worried about you if you develop a high-risk pregnancy, but try to reassure them as much as possible. Set expectations for how often you’ll update them on your well-being, and give them ideas for helping you and your family during this time.
2. Find Out What is and isn’t Allowed
Bedrest may conjure images of you stuck under the covers for weeks, with your only exercise being your walk to the bathroom. But that’s not always the case.
Like most medical prescriptions, bedrest isn’t one-size-fits-all. It’s important that you get all the important details from your doctor: Can you get out of bed to stretch and do gentle exercises? Can you still do easy chores around the house?
Bedrest in its traditional form is rarely prescribed today, but your doctor may use this term to mean a reduced amount of activity and work in your daily routine. While it’s important to play it safe for your health and for the baby’s, don’t be afraid to advocate for your needs and understand exactly what your doctor means when they use this term.
3. Get Creative with Entertainment
When we’re busy in our everyday lives, a day full of Netflix and the couch can seem like heaven. But, when it becomes the only thing you can do for weeks on end, it can quickly get old.
Women who are on bedrest should think of alternative entertainment options. You might consider:
- Buying an old gaming system to re-live the video games of your youth
- Filling out crossword puzzles and coloring books
- Finding a new hobby, like learning a new language or taking an online class
- Finally reading the stack of books on your bookshelf
As you evaluate what entertainment option is right for you in the moment, don’t forget to evaluate your mental health, too. It’s easy to get into the habit of letting the TV drone on for hours, but taking the steps to challenge yourself mentally during this time is important. You could even include your family in a family game night, hosted from your bedroom!
4. Maintain Your Social Relationships
You will likely feel stir-crazy with only your family to talk to, so don’t forget your friends! While you may not be able to do much out of bed, you could always invite your friends over for a “happy hour.” Or, you can always do the tried-and-true phone call. Talking about something other than your pregnancy can give you a good mental break.
Your friends can also be a great source of support during this time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even if it’s something as simple as a pre-made casserole or a babysitter if your usual caregiver needs a break.
5. Keep Your Intended Parents Updated
While bedrest may be more of an inconvenience for you than anything else, a high-risk pregnancy can be extremely frightening for intended parents. There’s nothing they can do to ensure a healthy delivery at this point; they’re just relying on you, so it’s important to reassure them however you can.
Take the time to update them a few times a week on your well-being, if you’re comfortable doing so. Pass along any information from your medical providers, and try to still send happy pregnancy updates (“the baby is kicking!”). While you should only do what you are comfortable doing, remember that your intended parents are putting their whole future in your hands — and they are here to help you, too.
If you need more guidance or support during your bedrest, be sure to let your surrogacy specialist know. We are always here to help.