Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guest Post : The Things We Lose For The Gain - Lovely Margaret

While in the NICU our paediatric cardiologist commented that so many people take pregnancy and birth for granted. This has resounded in my head for months and I thought while I was away on vacation I wold take this time to introduce you to the other side of pregnancy and to women who wish they could take the process for granted.
If you're going through a battle similar to these wonderful women, know your not alone. And if you're blessed enough to have breezed throgh pregnancy, I hope you stop and thank God for your blessings.
Margaret is a friend I made while on bedrest. She understands how hard it is to be on bedrest. She’s here to give her perspective on how we take pregnancy for granted. She did her time on bedrest and was blessed enough to make it to the end and have a healthy little one who drives her a bit crazy these days.
I admit last July I thought that the next 9 months would easy and fly by and G would be here hassle free. I however have seen the other side, and will again should we choose to have more little babE's running arond.
Enjoy this post and check out more from Margaret at The Good The Bad & The Family

The Things We Lose For The Gain
 Everyone knows that when you chose to become a parent, you will begin to live a life of sacrifice.  You know that from here on you will give up things you enjoyed for the sake of your little one- gladly.  To many expectant moms they view this change effective the moment they become pregnant.  The average pregnant woman starts right away by sacrificing her body and the lifestyle she previously lead.  She surrenders to morning sickness, doctor’s appointments, expanding pants, swelling ankles, frequent bathroom trips, no drinking or smoking, and at the end the inability to get a good night’s sleep.  But all the while, these are the things we all expected right?  So to a certain extent, they hold a bit of charm and excitement!  Okay- maybe not the morning sickness!
But what happens when the sacrifice becomes so much more than you expected during your pregnancy? 

Each year thousands of expectant moms end up on bed rest for some reason or another.  The length of bed rest varies from a day or two to months at a time.  Some women experience bed rest in the comfort of their homes while others endure hospital bed rest which is isolating but necessary to monitor their high risk pregnancy and ensure baby’s safe delivery.  These mom’s are ahead of the curve when it comes to sacrificing for their babies.  Bed rest requires an amount of physical, mental, and emotional sacrifice that the average expectant mother can’t comprehend.

Bed rest mother’s go through a variety of challenges and sacrifices to ensure a safe delivery as close to their due date as possible.  This ranges from the little things like shopping for maternity clothes to much larger things like the loss of their jobs.  It stretches the expectant mother beyond her normal mental capacity and can be an extreme emotional roller coaster the likes of which she had never prepared for.
While the average expectant mother is enjoying the normal trappings of pregnancy like shopping for maternity clothes, having people ask when you’re due, and learning to navigate things like cooking with your ever growing belly the experience is quite different for bed rest moms.  Shopping for maternity clothes is done online without a dressing room to ensure a good fit.  Additionally, bed rest moms don’t shop for style as much as they do for comfort since they are laying down all day and there is no one to impress at your house or in your hospital room!  Also, no one really asks you how far along you are since the only people you interact with are aware of your situation or are holding a chart with your information in it.  And if you’re lucky enough to make it to 36 weeks and be released to normal activity you have lost your learning curve and that big belly is a pain to navigate all of the sudden!  Trust me!  After 23 weeks of bed rest I burnt my belly twice at 36 weeks trying to cook once I came of bed rest!

Then there are the bigger sacrifices.  Quite often when women end up on bed rest for any period of time, they must struggle with employers and paperwork to utilize FMLA benefits.  If the federally regulated 12 weeks of FMLA does cover your bed rest period, it may end up cutting into maternity leave.  So this leaves the expectant parents in a bit of a crunch trying to figure out how to keep mom’s job while still being able to spend as much time with baby as possible after all that hard work to get him or her here safely.  Then there are cases where the 12 weeks of FMLA is exhausted and the employer cannot hold mom’s position until she delivers.  Many bed rest moms find themselves in a position where they don’t qualify for unemployment benefits because they are not physically available to work yet they also don’t qualify for disability benefits because they won’t be disabled for more than a year.  Therefore income is cut off at the worst time for mom.  This is a stress that no expectant mom foresees.

Then there’s your overall mental state when bed rest occurs.  While our healthy counterparts are shopping for the nursery, going to birthing classes, and having their baby showers, bed rest moms are enduring a period of isolation the likes of which they haven’t known before.  This can drain a mommy to be of her joy on the weeks or months leading up to the birth of her baby.  Bed rest moms are also saddled with the fact that their baby is in a fight for its life every day.  In my case, I hemorrhaged at 13 weeks gestation and was on bed rest from that moment until delivery.  My husband and I waited each and every day to see what my body would do and if our baby would make it.  There was also the added stress that if I hemorrhaged again, that I could also die.  It wasn’t until 36 weeks gestation that we realized that this baby could come safely and that we should really start preparing for him.  For the past 23 weeks we had prepared for trips to the NICU and figured we’d set up for baby before he came home.  We, and every other bed rest parents, were guarded.  You don’t allow yourself to attach to the pregnancy in case the worst happens.  And truthfully we didn’t really allow ourselves to really digest that we were going to take a baby home until I delivered safely!  It’s this fear coupled with the isolation that leads many bed rest mommies to gestational and post partum depression.
Yes, bed rest is a challenge that no one can really fully understand but ask any mother who endured bed rest and delivered a healthy baby if she’d do it again and she will tell you yes.  The thing that we bed rest moms share with any other pregnant woman is the instant love that happens when you see your baby for the very first time.  That baby is worth every moment of sacrifice.  So if you are a healthy expectant mommy, enjoy every day of your pregnancy.  It is a gift.  Swollen ankles, morning sickness and all!

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