Entertaining children whilst spewing
A common question I get asked is how on earth do hyperemesis sufferers look after and pass the time with their toddler when pregnant again. It's a commonly cited reason for not having another hyperemesis pregnancy. I believe strongly that the key to surviving subsequent hyperemesis pregnancies is in the planning and preparation and the planning for your children is just as important as planning your medication and treatment. So let me introduce my friend and colleague, hyperemesis survivor Emma Edwards who has developed an incredible resource for women suffering with toddlers at home...
How exciting - My first ever guest post!
For those that don’t know me I am Emma, author of the Adventures of Adam blog. I am Mummy to 22 month old Adam and we recently took part in a 100 day play challenge.
In 2011/2012 when I was pregnant with Adam I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum. Unfortunately my story is typicalof many sufferers – hospitalisations, medication, isolation... I also added breathing difficulties and pre-eclampsia to the mix. It wasn’t a great 9 months to say the least! Throughout my pregnancy as I lay there being ill I would think about the adventures Adam and I would have together. I made a promise to myself that once the hyperemesis was over I would value each day. Hence we took part in the play challenge and started our blog.
It was during the play challenge that it really hit home to me - how am I going to look after Adam during my next pregnancy? The idea of being separated from him for nine months petrifies me. In my last pregnancy I couldn’t look after myself for 9 months let alone an active young child. Although I can live in hope, there is an 86% chance that I will suffer from HG again.
I am the administrator for the Pregnancy Sickness Support Forum and I regularly see the concerns of members who are planning another pregnancy or are currently suffering from HG. How do you entertain your other children whilst you are so ill? How do you entertain your other children whilst you are so ill for up to nine months? The guilt they feel is immense.
I asked my HG friend, who is towards the end of her second HG pregnancy, what it is like to go through HG with a toddler. This was her response:
“In a way, the few weeks leading up to getting pregnant were the very worst and most upsetting... dreading the separation, dreading missing having kisses and cuddles and stories and playtime, etc... then at least once I got a positive pregnancy test and became sick soon after, I could be on countdown to being well again and being able to be a proper Mummy to my little boy again.
In the first few months full-time childcare was essential. There was just no WAY I could have taken care of him, at all. Sometimes I couldn't speak to him without vomiting. We had to juggle between two nurseries, close friends and hired a cleaner and an ironing company.
Since the sickness improved (at the midway-point-ish) I have better and worse days. On no days do I ever feel normal, or am able to function at a normal level, but on my better days I am able to interact a bit with my boy and do some (limited) activities/play with him (almost always in the house as travelling, etc. is very difficult).
The nausea is always there but vomiting is under control so long as I don't do too much. On my worse days I need to lie still mostly and have had to rely heavily on CBeebies!”
So I decided to find some sort of solution – a way that could help HG sufferers entertain their children. During my play challenge I started to look for activities which didn’t need any preparation and that a child could play with independently. Minimum preparation for maximum distraction. At Adventures of Adam there is a dedicated section for play activities that are suitable for HG sufferers.
When putting together the activities suitable for HG sufferers there had to be some criteria for the activities to be deemed HG friendly. There is no point doing an activity which involves food or has an odour as these are bound to trigger vomiting. Even the smell of playdough can cause a sufferer to reach for the sick bowl. The activity also had to be mess free - an HG suffer will hardly be in any state to clear away a messy activity.
Please note though that the things which can trigger HG will vary from person to person. These activities are also not meant for HG sufferer at the very early stages of pregnancy. At that stage an HG sufferer will be focused solely on getting through each day and childcare will be a must for their other children.
Adam and I will continue doing a daily play activity and each week we will add at least one play activity which is suitable for a HG sufferer and her child. These activities could also be used for women post pregnancy during feeding time to entertain their older child.
One day I hope to be brave enough to go through hyperemesiss again. For the time being I will savour every moment I have with Adam.
I would like to thank Caitlin to share here today. It has been a privilege x