I had a wonderful comment on one of my other posts regarding what I would recommend for parents who have medical challenges or for parents of micro-preemies who with the flu session and Winter need to stay home for several Winter seasons in a row.
It really is challenging to get a good mindset about it all. One important thing I would like to say right off the bat is that this is a time to shore up your own inner work, your own prayer and meditation life, your own personal development. These situations can really push one to grow.
I was on bedrest with my second child, and it was one of the most challenging experiences of my whole life (because as many of you know I am a rather busy little soul). However, I think I would handle it much, much better today. There is a really good thread here over at the Berkeley Parents Network regarding bedrest, does it really work and is it worth it, how to handle it, etc: http://parents.berkeley.edu/advice/pregnancy/bedrest.html
There is an organization devoted to mothers experiencing bedrest and high-risk, complicated pregnancies here: http://www.sidelines.org/
I think one of the main things with bedrest is to have people available to talk to who can understand your feelings. If you are on bedrest with an older child, I think it can quickly dissolve into the fact that you cannot mother your older child the way you want, and you feel as if you are failing the baby inside of you as well. If you have multiple older children, it also the sheer logistics of caring for everyone, being stretched as a couple, perhaps having family members come and stay for weeks on end (which can be challenging). There is a lot to think about and plan, so I highly suggest those above links.
As far as being homebound with children who are medically fragile for the Winter, I do understand how hard this can be for parents! It seems especially difficult when one has to do this for the second Winter season in a row after having some freedom in the Spring and Summer. For many parents, it was hard enough to slow down for the first Winter season!
I would invite you, though, to close your eyes and imagine your little micro-preemie or medically fragile child as healthy and whole due to staying home. Imagine them thriving due to a healthy rhythm, lots of rest and sleep and time to just be.
That being said, here are a few suggestions:
- Every family dealing with a second season of isolation due to RSV season has their own way of doing things – some allow family members to visit, some have their child avoid contact with children who are in day care, some avoid indoor places and only go to outdoor places. Some are on complete and utter “lock-down” at home. I think it is very important to dialogue with your health care team as to what is right for your individual child and to decide as a family how you will handle this. I think it also helps to know how many cases of RSV are out there in your own state, you can check here: http://www.cdc.gov/surveillance/nrevss/rsv/state.html
- Try to have a rhythm of when you might bundle up and go outside if that is a possibility, even if it is just to walk around your own yard, when to do finger plays, when to do some work around the house, rest and sleep times, bodily care. This post may actually assist you: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/01/06/waldorf-in-the-home-with-the-one-and-two-year-old/ Rhythm is especially important for children who were premature as this helps the child’s sense of balance in life and flexibility.
- The entire focus of the day should not be hovering over your small child anxiously….the focus should be in creating a warm, peaceful, home with peaceful mother hen energy where you as the parent are setting the tone of your home. You have important work to do in your home that your child can help with and imitate. You have more to do than just sitting there looking at your child. This will help their development more than anything!
- Think about how to nourish the caregiver. When can Mommy go out on her own to run errands? How about something you enjoy doing that you could do at night once your wee one is asleep?
- Do you have the support of your local place of worship? Do they know what you are experiencing? Can they be of support to you?
- Do you have anyone locally you can get support from either in-person or on the phone? I have heard of some parents of micro-preemies meeting up on meetup.com or the like…perhaps over the Winter, one could not meet in person but one could keep in touch and support each other over the phone.
- Who else could help with running errands for you or could you order things on-line? What is your plan if you have a traveling spouse or your child does actually get sick? Do you have some meals frozen?
- What can you do to experience nature indoors if you cannot go out? Can you set up bird feeders, can you have a fish tank, can you start a potted herb garden or plant bulbs?
- Depending upon the age of your child, can you have lots of holiday craft supplies on hand? Music and songs to sing and learn?
- What about the child’s gross motor abilities? Can you have an under the bed box full of sand and sand toys and put a tarp under it? Water play? Can you hang a swing somewhere?
These are just a few suggestions, take what resonates with you. Also, if you are a mother who has survived bedrest or staying in a season, please leave your ideas and suggestions for other mothers below. You could be a real blessing to someone today!
Love your children and live big,