A letter to my pregnant self
Thank you so much to all those who nominated me for the MAD Blog awards. Sadly it seems that because I have not been pregnant in the last year I am not eligible for the category of Best Pregnancy Blog despite being a blog entirely about pregnancy from personal experience. Shame, as it rather discriminates against women with HG who are unable to post to the same degree as other pregnant bloggers during pregnancy – picking my battles and moving on though... It has however given me a moment to reflect on my own experience and how much hindsight I have been able to gain since my third and final child was born, nearly two years ago. It has prompted this letter to myself of the past, to myself while I was suffering and stuck in the miserable cycle of vomiting, retching and constant nausea, to me at a time when I could not see a future with lovely children and new friends... This is to me and to all those who are suffering now, written with the benefit of hindsight.
To my pregnant self,
The three children you have produced are your greatest achievement. They make you proud every day. They also make you cross and happy, frustrated and challenged, worried and confused and they make you laugh, a lot. They are intelligent, funny, beautiful, kind, helpful(ish), sociable, loud and sometime a bit weird (and yes, they like talking about poo and wee a lot!)
I know the vomiting is intense and painful and humiliating and scary, but if you could see them now you would know how worth every moment of pain has been. You are worried you won't bond with the baby but you don't need to worry, the nausea lifts the moment they are out and you will feel great. You love being a parent and the new born phase is easy and fun compared to now.
And it's not just the children that have come from the suffering you are going through. You have new friends and colleagues, not just around the UK but in Washington, New York, New Zealand and all around the world. Although the truth is you will also loose some friends as you realise they will not come through for you when you need them. It may seem impossible now but you will learn to let go of the resentment you are feeling and move on from them... to better friends. Hyperemesis is changing you, giving you perspective and insight. Some people, no matter how close you thought you were will never be able to understand what you are going through.
Your marriage is stronger because you survived hyperemesis three times together as a team. And because you go on to have more pregnancies Rob is a confident father with a close relationship with the boys... he looks after them on his own when you are sick again with their sibling. He is proud of you.
You are a much stronger, more confident and happier person then you were before and that is largely down to the suffering you are going through now. You appreciate feeling well every single day and when you are ill it never seems as bad as you know it will only last a short time. The illness you are suffering made you realise that as long as you have your health you can do anything you set you mind to... including making the world a better place for other hyperemesis sufferers.
During pregnancy you are suffering immeasurably and it is impossible to imagine that anything good can come from it other than the baby, but it does... it really does.
Don't feel guilty about the dark thoughts on black days... they are natural and understandable. Take one day at a time, occupy yourself online, play solitaire and lie still... the end will come and the black cloud will lift... wellness will overwhelm you and you will feel better than you ever have before.
And you will have your children, Alfie, Patrick and Órla. And you will travel the world with them, and your hero, and you will be strong and happy... thanks to hyperemesis gravidarum.
With love and care