It turns out that Hollywood has totally
misconstrued my entire understanding of pregnancy. This is how I thought it
worked… you do a test & depending if comedy or romance – you’re reaction is
either joy or shock (mine was the latter). Quite unobtrusively and only in the
mornings, there will be random bouts of throwing up, whereby you are forced to
empty your stomach into nearby plant pots before carrying on with your day as
though all is well with the world.
Here’s the reality:
‘Morning’ sickness is a complete
misrepresentation. Yes, if nausea is going to strike, it may well get you in
the morning, as well as the afternoon, the evening and at sporadic intervals
throughout the night. I would personally like to see ‘morning sickness’
rebranded, as to avoid any misunderstanding, to just ‘sickness’. Or, if a
literal translation was entirely necessary, I’d rename it ‘all consuming
relentless constant sickness’ or ARCS for short.
It’s fair to say that I was struck by ARCS
pretty hard. Within days of taking the test up until 14 weeks. The best
comparison I can find to describe it is to think back to one of the worst
hangovers you have ever had. The kind that renders you entirely useless, with
the only motivation to drag your weary self out of bed is to throw up and spend
the rest of the day in the fetal position on the bathroom floor. Not everyone
gets it this bad but then there are others who not only can get hospitalised
from the condition, formally known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum, some can have it
for the entire 9 months! I was lucky!
Here are a few tips that I found really
helped me, if you find yourself suffering from sickness during your pregnancy:
- Dry biscuits. Doesn’t sound all that
appealing but they work. I kept them by the bed as it was the only way I found
that helped me to get out of the bed in the morning. And don’t stop eating. I
know it seems counter productive, but keeping your blood sugar regulated does
help. Ginger biscuits were particularly effective.
-Tell your boss that you are struggling. We
decided to keep our pregnancy quiet until our 12 week scan. However, I had no
option but to tell my colleagues (the morning I took the test was my first
day!) earlier than everyone else, just to explain my behaviour. Not only was it
a huge relief, but they were also extremely understanding and allowed me to
work from home on the days when the daily commute was too much to handle.
- Rest when you can. Don’t feel like a
failure or try to be a martyr. Your body is working really hard creating the
right environment to grow another life. It can really take it out of you. If a
day in front of the TV is what you feel like doing, it’s probably what you
should do. You can catch up on emails and do the washing later.
-Don’t let it beat you. There were days
when my husband would come home from an entire day at work to find me exactly
as he had left me in the morning. In my pyjamas with my head down the toilet.
I’d complain that I wasn’t good at being pregnant, that I couldn’t do it and if
I couldn’t even handle being pregnant, how on earth could I be a mother!? I’m
sure hormones, exhaustion and dehydration played a part in this, but once I
decided that I could do it, that it was only temporary and that it was all for
my baby, I started to feel a bit better. Nothing like a positive attitude to
help turn a bad situation around.
-Sea Bands. I wore them pretty much
constantly and they definitely eased the symptoms a little. I was willing to
give anything a try though.
-Your husband/boyfriend/partner will not
understand and it’s not really his fault. I found this one particularly
challenging. Here I am, struggling to make it through the day, unable to walk
the dog without publically vomiting and he has the audacity to say (and I
quote) ‘I think you are being a bit dramatic now’. Not only had I mentally
signed the divorce papers, but I also worried myself with the internal rage
that burned inside of me. I can imagine
it’s a bit of a drag trying to support someone who can’t go an hour without being
ill, especially when it’s something you are biologically unable to ever
experience. My suggestion of coping with
unsympathetic partners is to give them some information to read, so they
understand that you are not being ‘dramatic’ for the sake of it and not to call
the family lawyer. Once you feel better, you will forgive him. I promise.