The love of a mama on bedrest

To my mamas on bedrest, I’ve been there.

The love of a mama on bedrest

To my mamas on bedrest, I’ve been where you are.

I’ve laid on the hospital bed, hooked up to monitors listening to the soothing rhythm of my baby’s heartbeat.

I have stared at the ceiling while cradling the soft swell of my belly, whispering “you will be okay.”

I too, sat at home, worrying about finances because I couldn’t work.

I know what it’s like to stare at an unfinished space hoping your baby will stay put until it resembles a baby room.

I was 26 weeks pregnant when my cousin, who happens to be a Labor and Delivery nurse, urged me to go to the hospital after I told her I had some spotting.


Aside from the constant heartburn, the body aches, and the fatigue, I felt fine. However, I knew what loss felt like, my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage.

I was standing in the middle of a dollar store in Brooklyn and looked at the text message from my cousin in horror, “The hospital? Is it that serious?”

Maybe, I realized, it was.

I contacted the OB/GYN on call and by the time the office called me back, I was a blubbering mess. I could barely describe my symptoms, I was crying so hard. I was convinced I was going to lose a baby, again.

I was admitted into the hospital over Easter weekend. Once I heard the baby’s strong heartbeat, I was slightly mollified but still skeptical. Turned out I was actively contracting and two centimeters dilated.

It was preterm labor.

I was in the hospital for a few days but it felt like a lifetime. None of the doctors could tell me why I was at risk for early labor. I dissected every movement I made prior to my hospitalization; was it my fault?

I was discharged home a few days later bedrest which was, for me, was worse than being in the hospital. I was all alone while my husband was at work and my constant companion was my mounting fears. I worried about the baby, not working, and our finances. I googled everything and stalked pregnancy boards like a jealous boyfriend. The worst part was not knowing what was around the corner. I had no idea if I was ever going to return to work or if I was going to go into labor early, so I kept packing and repacking my hospital bag.

I went back to work for almost two weeks before I was hospitalized again, that time for 11 days.

For better or worse, I was slightly more prepared during my second stay. I had my hospital bag, laptop, and a few books. I was almost 32 weeks at that point. I even had hubby bring in some comfort food so I would get a break from the monotonous hospital menu. I also learned how to hoard food and the little juices so I would always have a snack nearby.

To stave off the loneliness, I forced myself to walk the halls and interacted with the staff and the other mamas stuck in there like me. Hearing their stories made me feel less alone and in some instances, fortunate.

When I was discharged home, I had a strengthened resolve to keep the baby in until full-term. I stopped feeling guilty for being home and threw my energies into keeping us healthy.

As someone who had long prided herself on not needing anyone, bedrest exposed my vulnerabilities.

When my mother offered to clean my apartment, I had to swallow my pride and welcome her in. Although it was hard to watch her cook and clean for me, I appreciated her for coming even though I could not voice the words.

Being on bedrest gave my husband and me the pause button we needed to prepare for parenthood. Amid the frenzy of getting ready for a newborn, it reminded us to make time for what really matters, to get back to just us.

Bedrest also taught me the first lesson of motherhood: making sacrifices you might prefer not have to make—bedrest, lost sleep, saggy tummy skin. But sacrifices that are inherent in the process of becoming a mother to a precious little human.

Every time I look at my son’s chubby face, I am reminded of that. It doesn’t always look pretty or easy, but it’s worth it.

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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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