Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Bedrest and the Live-In Mother

Mothers are wonderful.  If you have to rely on someone to take care of you and your family while on bedrest won’t you choose your mother?  I was delighted when my mother told me she would move in to help and greatly anticipated her arrival.  She sacrificed so much to leave her own home and husband to cook and clean for me.  But there were many issues that arose that I had not anticipated that made having her there another trial of being on bedrest. The first two weeks were the hardest of my four long months of bedrest.  Here are a few of the things I struggled with:

– Having my mother move into our home changed everything.  Mom brought her life, visits from her husband (my stepdad whom I’d only lived with for one summer), visits from her stepchildren (whom I don’t know well), and her habits with her, and privacy became extremely limited for both of us.  My mother and I had both changed a lot since I left home (me getting married and my mother remarrying for one thing) and our relationship was just different, which I had not anticipated.

– After a few weeks of me being in bed my toddler began to run to my mom when she got hurt instead of me and my mom was the one who got to hug and kiss her and rock her to sleep and play with her all day long.  (This was the single most horrible thing at first.  It broke my heart that my 2-year old stopped running to me for hugs and for comfort.  This was compounded by the fact that my toddler was a preemie and she and I had spent the past two years quarantined indoors together.  We had hardly ever been separated and we did everything together.)

– Our home routine and organization went through a regression.  It’s kind of interesting, and seems like a small thing, but there were some habits I had grown up with that I worked hard to change over the years, and those habits entered our home again when my mom arrived.  For example, not hand-washing our wood-handled knives and using metal spatulas on non-stick cookware, etc.  Who cares, you say?  We should just be grateful for the service she was providing?  Well, of course we were eternally grateful, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some things we disagreed on.  In fact, that kind of sums up the basic overlying difficulty of someone moving in to help you.  You know you need to be grateful for everything they do because of the sacrifice they’re making, but if they do something that drives you nuts or bothers you how can you make the situation better without making them feel under-appreciated or taken for granted?  It’s a difficult thing.

Basically, when you’re on strict bedrest (I could only get up to use the restroom), you have to give up control of EVERYTHING:  how your home is cleaned, how often things get cleaned, how your kitchenware is used, how your furniture is treated, how your kids are disciplined, how your kids are fed, your daily routine, your priorities, etc.  Physically, I obviously couldn’t be a homemaker for the time being, but mentally it was very difficult to let go.  My tendency was to tell my mom how and when to do everything, so I worked very hard to simply detach myself from everything and not care or not pay attention to things around me that I was incapable of changing.  It was so hard!  But, I survived, and I learned new skills and found things to do to occupy myself while I waited for time to pass.  Isn’t it so difficult when your problem can only be fixed with time?

Anyway, it was quite the experience having my mother move in to our little condo with us for four months.  I’m sure having a mother-in-law move in would be a bit more of a struggle because of your unfamiliarity with each other.  Either way, it is wonderful and it is difficult at the same time to accept live-in help from someone.

How have your experiences differed from mine?  Do you agree with my perspective on the situation or disagree?  I would love to hear about it!

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.

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