Doctor prescribes bed rest. I have a to do list!

My friend Marilyn has had a really tough pregnancy, and last week it was further complicated by a case of bronchitis. She runs her own business teaching classes on dog training (or people training, if you ask her), so she wanted to work until she gave birth — but finally, her doctor recommended that she stay on bed rest to avoid any risks.

“I have classes to teach! I have employees!” she fumed over the phone. “My to do list is a mile long! Rob can’t take care of everything on his own. It’s too much.”

Marilyn’s husband, Rob, is the nicest guy. But even superhero husband’s can’t do it all.

Since Marilyn and Rob moved here from Michigan, they don’t have family members they can count on to help get things done. I was in the same position after giving birth, since my parents took the leap and moved to Maui the year before.

I told Marilyn about the solution that worked for us: a caregiver. When I gave birth, I didn’t really want a stranger taking care of the baby, but our lives were getting a little out of hand. My husband didn’t get much paternity leave and I was totally overwhelmed and exhausted, so our fridge was empty and we were on our last roll of toilet paper by the time we took matters into our own hands and hired someone to care for us. 

If you’re anything like me, you probably think of hiring a caregiver for old people or people who are sick, but it turns out that most caregiving agencies have services for new parents too. It’s. A. Godsend. Our caregiver arrived the next day, and by the time she left a few hours later, she had picked up my prescriptions, stocked our refrigerator, and started a load of laundry. We also had enough toilet paper to last us for the next two months.

She came twice a week for the next three months, and I honestly don’t know how we would have survived without her. I can’t remember ever wanting my mom more. But since she still works and can’t get away for months at a time, the next best thing was our caregiver. In fact, we still talk to her because we just liked her so darned much.

I don’t know if Marilyn and Rob will run with the idea, but I hope they do. We plan on calling our caregiver again any time we’re out of commission — more babies, surgery, sickness. Sometimes you just need to let someone take care of you.

Have you ever been relegated to bed rest? Did you get any extra help after giving birth? I’m always dying to know how other people do it (and by “it” I mean “the impossible”!).

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