By Heather Barrow
The last places on Earth I would want to spend Christmas or any other holiday is in jail or the hospital. While staying out of jail is completely within your control, being admitted to the hospital is not. On a great day, being confined to a hospital bed or room can be difficult. On a holiday like Christmas, it can be depressing for even the most upbeat patient. While there are millions of people who will be spending the holidays in the hospital, HRH bed rest moms and NICU families are on my mind this holiday season. I want to make sure their hospital celebration is just as special and memorable as if they were at home. If you or a loved one is spending this Christmas or New Year’s confined to a hospital bed, here are five tips to ensure your hospital holiday is a great one:
1. Decorate the hospital room. If you are like me and go overboard decorating during the holidays, being in the hospital does not excuse you from your Clark W. Griswold duties. True, Christmas is almost here but you can still decorate and leave them up through New Year’s, just like you do at home. From a Christmas tree to festive lights, you can turn your room into THE place for hospital staff to see, which will lift your spirits and visitor count. I love the idea of punching holes in Christmas cards to make garland to hang around your room, its easy to do and can decorate a whole room.
2. Bring your traditions to the hospital. You can do almost anything from your hospital room, from decorating holiday cookies to tracking Santa to having your very own Elf On The Shelf. Every holiday tradition should be relocated to your hospital room to ensure you don’t miss out on your favorites. I was on hospital bed rest during Easter and my daughter Claire decorated eggs, and did an egg hunt in my room. While I still cringe at the ones hid in my bedside commode, it was the best Easter egg hunt ever.
3.Exchange gifts with hospital staff. When you are not in the hospital, and you make your gift list, who is usually right after your family? In my house, it’s the people that do the most for our family during the year, like our children’s teachers. When you are on hospital bed rest or in the NICU, those people are your doctors, nurses and hospital staff. Think of something thoughtful you can give your favorites, keeping in mind you don’t have to spend a fortune. You could give them a card with a thoughtful message, some of the Christmas cookies you decorated or homemade ornaments. In this situation, it really is the thought that counts.
4. Make extra food for your neighbors. If you are lucky enough to have a family who prepares a holiday hospital feast for you, have them make extra for others who aren’t as fortunate. Whether you share with the hospital staff who sacrifice spending time with their family to take care of you, or a hospital neighbor whose family can’t make it to see them, your gift will come back to you and your baby. The best way to cheer you up is to cheer someone else up, trust me it works every time!
5. Put things in perspective. While it is easy to fall down the slippery slope of self-pity during the holidays, remember there is always someone worse off than you. If you are on hospital bed rest, celebrate that you are still pregnant for this holiday and your baby has more time to grow stronger. If your baby is in the NICU, be thankful that your beautiful blessing is receiving excellent care and was not born one day earlier.
Every HRH mom and baby is in my thoughts and prayers this Christmas, and I can’t wait to celebrate with you next year when everyone is home and healthy, which is the best gift ever. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!