Some time ago I received a unique memoir to review along with a companion book for children. The topic of One Recumbent Mommy is bedrest and the book is written in a friendly, conversational, and personal style that has potential to bring an air of sisterhood to women experiencing the same challenge and make them feel less alone. The book is based on the author’s blog and a casual, breezy, lighthearted style comes through strongly. The author writes:
I was on hospital bedrest with incompetent cervix for about 16 weeks and while there, I kept a blog chronicling the ups and down of day to day life in the hospital. That blog was published and is entitled, One Recumbent Mommy: A Humorous Encounter With Bedrest. I wrote a children’s companion book as well, entitled Wherever I Am, I Will Love You Still: A Book About An Extended Hospital Stay. This book was written from my 2 year old son’s point of view. I was trying to get at a way of explaining the situation in terms that a young child could understand.
The companion children’s book: Where I Am, I Will Love You Still, is friendly and sweet and the illustrations are engaging. This book would be a very useful addition to a family whose mother is experiencing a hospital stay. While the book’s conclusion includes the new baby sister coming home, it definitely has the potential to be applied to non-maternity-related hospital stays as well. Do note that bottle feeding is portrayed in the book.
While I was somewhat disappointed by the very conventional medical model of care in One Recumbent Mommy and the seemingly unquestioning acceptance of it by the author (especially considering that bedrest has come under serious scrutiny as to its actual effectiveness at preventing pregnancy loss), as well as the apparently overlooked irony of the baby’s birth then being induced, I appreciated the reminder that for many women pregnancy is anything but a joyful, flower-strewn walk through a miraculous meadow of belly casts and earth-goddesses. My writing and my posts often trend to a Happy Birth Dance! mode of writing about birth and was beneficial to me to remember that this model can feel very isolating, discouraging, and depressing to women whose experiences of pregnancy and birth are different from my own.
Along this same line of thought, I was reminded of recent writings from beautiful blogger Leonie Dawson about her experiences with severe hyperemesis gravidarum (requiring multiple hospitalizations):
And despite everything – despite it all –
Love is calling me forward.
As ancient as the beginning of time, love calls upon us to do what we could not do without.
Love asks of us great things…
As I read One Recumbent Mommy and my priestess/ceremonialist self came to fore however, I also found myself wishing this mama had had some kind of beautiful hospital blessing ceremony to honor her commitment to her baby or that someone had offered her a nurturing prayer, poem, or blessing for her as a Bedrest Warrior doing what had to be done to protect her baby. Could there be a place for a Happy Bedrest Birth Dance mode of writing and experiencing as well? I gratefully welcome additions to this post of ideas for rituals, poems, prayers, or resources that can be offered to bedrest mamas who are doing their best to welcome a healthy, full-term baby into their lives!