From the moment you land on this kind of post, you can tell: there’s no way someone will write about this kind of thing if they haven’t lived through it. It’s just not a topic you carelessly dab into, hoping to make someone feel better or increase your website’s traction. It’s just not possible.
Therefore, it’s safe to say I’ve become an expert at surviving this horrible event, and I’ve learned plenty of things along the way. Before I established Mom’s Den as my Internet haven, I casually blogged at the Goldfish Rant (one of my startup projects that didn’t go as planned!), where I wrote the full story about my son’s stay in the hospital. Before dwelling into this post, I highly suggest checking that one out – it’s the reason why I decided not to deactivate that blog. I didn’t want to just move the post to Mom’s Den, since I’m still finding it too difficult to read through it and make it suitable for this blog.
The reason why I decided it was needed for me to write this post is seeing one of my friend’s Instagram posts about the same thing my family had gone through. I felt her pain, I understood her hardships, and I realized that, more than anything, I want to help other moms and dads go through it with less pain.
Don’t get me wrong – there will be pain. It’s simply not natural to skip it in those circumstances. However, there are some small things you can do to preserve your sanity – here’s what I learned during our stay.
Don’t stop communicating with friends and family.
If you’re in a hospital with your little one, chances are, plenty of your friends and family members know about it (unless you decided to be private about it). People will prioritize picking up the phone when you’re calling or texting – take advantage of it and don’t feel guilty. You simply need a support system, even if it’s out of hospital. It’s one of the best ways for you to kill the time and feel slightly better.
Find comfort in your favorite food.
I’m not a great advocate of stress-eating, but when you’re at the hospital, there aren’t that many things to look forward to. The food being offered is probably not your favorite, so have your family members bring the homemade food and some of your favorite snacks. It won’t do much to fix the situation you’re in, but you’ll find it comforting – trust me.
Sleep when your baby sleeps.
This is probably super difficult, considering all the stress you’re feeling, but give it a try. There’s not a whole lot to do, and the time will (at least seemingly) go by faster. Also, there aren’t that many distractions of the outside world, which is a good opportunity to catch up on much needed rest.
Look after yourself.
I know, I know. This is the last thing on your mind right now, but you need to look after yourself in order to be able to look after your little patients. Don’t skip the meals, showers, or drinking water. It keeps you going, and that’s what your little one needs.
Bring a distraction.
If you can’t sleep during nap time, don’t just sit around, waiting to feel better. Read a book, play a game on your phone, watch a movie, anything you normally don’t have time for. Short escapes from the harsh reality can do wonders.
You’re probably stressed, scared, and stretched to the maximum of your capacity. Feeling tired and having a headache is the last thing you need right now! If you’re used to having coffee in the morning, now is not the time to skip it. Even if there are hospital rules about when you can leave the room and get it, go to great lengths to make sure you always have your favorite drink around.
Use this time for bonding.
Hospital stays are terrible, but they’re also blessings in disguise. Being secluded means spending a lot more time with your little one, since that’s the only thing you really need to do. Enjoy the extra cuddles, try to teach your baby some new words and gestures, and spend more time watching her during sleep. It’ll relax your peanut and you will one day remember those moments as the ones that helped you get through all this.
As hard as it may be, don’t distance yourself from the staff. Make sure to ask questions about your child’s well-being regularly, offer your insight (regardless of them being doctors, you’re the expert when it comes to your child), and ask if there’s any way for you to help. If the staff is using medical jargon, ask about every unfamiliar word!
Cry if you have to.
Don’t go crazy trying to hold every emotion in. If you need to cry, do it, and don’t feel too guilty about doing it in front of your baby. You know how they say – it gets worse before it gets better. Crying is the same; it’ll make you feel better after you’re done.
Start (and end) your days properly.
If you’re used to wearing PJ’s at night and putting on makeup and day clothes in the morning, stick to your routine. It’ll make you more responsive, and you’ll feel better knowing you’re keeping some sort of structured life going.
Be nice to the staff.
This is the advice I desperately needed during our stay at the hospital – impulsive as I am, I had plenty of conflicts during my son’s recovery that only made everything worse. That being said, don’t be like me. Good relationships with staff can make your stay slightly more comfortable.
If you’re reading this because you’re going through your child’s hospital stay right now, all I can wish for you and your baby is a fast and complete recovery. Stay safe, and be well!
If you’ve discovered some other tips on how to make the hospital stay more bearable, write it in the comments, because it will be an invaluable resource to anyone looking for them!