Lessons in Isolation and Gratitude From a Mom Who Spent Months on Bed Rest – Twice

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Maryam Moraveji spent many months on bed rest during both of her pregnancies. (Courtesy Maryam Moraveji)

Maryam Moraveji was pregnant with her second child when her doctors told her she was at very high risk of losing her baby.

"You are at a point where this child will probably come around 26 weeks, which is very dangerous for a baby," she recalled her doctor telling her that summer day in 2017.

Moraveji, who until recently lived in the East Bay, was no stranger to difficult pregnancies. She'd already spent her first pregnancy four years earlier on strict bed rest for seven whole months.

Sitting in the doctor's office that day with her own mom beside her, she started to doubt whether she could go through it again.

"And I remember in that moment I looked in my mother's eyes and I just got this surge of confidence and trust," Moraveji said. "It really changed how I looked at what the situation was. And in that moment, I accepted whatever the universe was gonna give me. And I decided to go forward with the pregnancy."

It’s hard not to think about how dramatically life has changed over the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To help make sense of the widespread feelings of isolation and confinement many of us have felt, KQED sought stories and wisdom from Moraveji and a few other people who are well versed in coping with feelings of extreme isolation or confinement.

Moraveji spent six-and-a-half months confined to her bed during her second pregnancy. For both of the times she learned she had to go on bed rest, she didn’t really think about how she was going to deal with it.

"I went into survival mode," she said. "Similar to COVID-19, a medical crisis, where people's lives are at stake, it was a very similar feeling for me, where I felt like a life is at stake here."

And then after a while, she said new feelings started to emerge.

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"I started feeling like if I had to lay down and be confined to a bed for six months, seven months, even the entire nine months, to bring a healthy, happy child to this Earth, it just brought a lot of gratitude for me," Moraveji said. "There are a lot of women that don't even get the chance to get pregnant, or even be given the heads up that, 'Hey, you know what, your baby's life is at risk.' That really changed the way I went about the pregnancy and just being confined."

During both of her pregnancies, Moraveji had to stay in her bed 24 hours a day, only getting up to go to the bathroom. She said she felt grateful to have friends and family around. And as time went on, she settled into a sense of peace and started paying attention to her immediate surroundings.

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"When you're in a situation where everything is significantly slower for you, you start noticing things in a way that you typically may not, because of the business of day to day," she said. "I made it a point to pay closer attention to those things."

Moraveji said we have to get out of our heads if we want to get through challenging situations.

"If there is something that I feel like I can't do, it’s my mind really telling me that I can't do it," she said. "I think we're adaptable beings."

Moraveji's second child was born prematurely at 31 weeks. She said her doctors doubted she would bring a healthy child into the world.

"They told me he wasn't gonna breathe on his own; they told me that he’s not going to cry when he comes out; he’s not going to do this, he’s not going to do that," she said, laughing. "But he came out screaming his lungs out."

Moraveji's story is part of Inspiration/Isolation, a new interactive audio feature created by reporters and producers at KQED.

To experience Isolation/Inspiration on Alexa, say “Alexa, open Isolation Inspiration.” You can also find it here on Amazon.

To experience Isolation/Inspiration on Google Assistant, say “Hey Google, talk to Isolation Inspiration.” You can also find it here in the Actions Directory.