Shortlisted by Tesco
I got a call last week... I'd been nominated for the Tesco Mum of the Year award for my work raising awareness about hyperemesis gravidarum and developing support in the UK for the condition. Not only had I been nominated but I've made it to the shortlist of 26 from 3,500 nomination! And... not only had I been shortlisted but Tesco are donating £1,000 to Pregnancy Sickness Support on my behalf!
I actually can't believe it and burst into tears in the shop when I took the call (alas I wasn't in Tesco, but will probably make more effort to shop there now!). You see I don't really see what I do as amazing or recognition worthy. The women who deserve recognition are all the women battling hyperemesis; the women I speak to every day whose doctors are refusing them safe and effective medication due to ignorance and prejudice; the women who are struggling to enjoy their lives because they are so deeply traumatised by this horrendous condition; the women who don't have their babies because the support wasn't there; the women whose lives are now complicated by long term physical complications from HG.
It is for them that I do all of this. It is for them that I actually don't consider myself a particularly good mum... I fob my kids off on friends and childcare so that I can do what I do and I comfort myself that in the future they'll be proud, cos at the moment they really don't get why I work so much. I comfort myself that for Orla's generation of reproducers the experience of HG will not be a lonely, isolated nightmare of mute suffering... That's her on the left.
I've been covering the Pregnancy Sickness Support helpline a lot over the last couple of months since we returned from travelling, and I've had a huge increase in emails via the blog since the book came out. And it's impossible not to hear how much the support network we developed and this blog I write helps others, and they are my inspiration. They are my heroes. Ironically it has lost me a few friends along the way, but I guess they are necessary sacrifices when you're breaking down stigmas and misconceptions. My voice when I was pregnant was weak and feeble, as is the voice of the sick women I talk to who can't understand why they are unable to advocate for themselves with their doctors and bosses and even their family and friends. And I explain that I was the same, despite how I talk about it now, when I was where they are now I too could not speak, could not fight, could not defend myself. They feel relief and I reassure them that we are giving them a voice, slowly but surely the volume is growing and we will be heard.
I've been so busy lately trying to secure the future of the charity and the UK support network along with promoting the book, that I've struggled to blog regularly. So over the next couple of weeks I'm going to use this platform to give other HG sufferers a voice to tell their stories with guest posts. You'll notice common themes such as isolation and trauma and you'll see how depressingly similar so many stories are. But hopefully, through the stories you'll find support, encouragement and hope... hope that with our voices united and channelled effectively we can make a difference, together, as HG Sisters, survivors, mums of the decade. And in the next decade the stories will be different, sure there will still be nausea and vomiting the occasional ignorant comment... but the isolation and trauma will be reduced, because we, the women of now are speaking up and changing the world.
If you would like to submit your story for consideration please use the form on the contact me page.