A lot of my posts seem to be Facebook inspired these days... clearly I spend far too much time on there (note to self... get a life!). Anyhow, I noticed a thread about a “friend” posting that she hate's when pregnant women don't enjoy pregnancy because they should just be grateful. Other “friends” joined in with, “yeah I was nauseous but just got on with it” and “yeah I hate moaners too” and other equally obnoxious comments.
Well as I mentioned in my last post most stuff in life is on a spectrum and appreciating that is a valuable skill to acquire if you strive to be a “nice person”.
But what makes these comments really hurt us hyperemesis sufferers is that they don't take into account how much we WANTED to enjoy pregnancy and how ROBBED we are of the pleasant pregnancy experience.
I always wanted children and looked forward to pregnancy from as soon as I was old enough to understand what it was. I was terrified of not being able to have children and my heart bleeds for women who can't experience it for whatever reason. But I also mourn my own loss because I never got to enjoy pregnancy, I just had to endure it.
What people need to understand is that women with hyperemesis are incredibly grateful for their ability to be pregnant but that it is literally 9 months of torture and misery and physical pain and mental anguish.
Imagine for a moment lying on the side of your bed with acid running from your mouth into a bowl. Your lips are crunchy from dehydration yet you mouth is over producing saliva which when swallowed comes back mixed with acid and blood from your torn oesophagus, it hurts. The smell of your clean bedsheets is dizzyingly disgusting and the light flickering through the curtains makes your head spin more. You haven't seen anyone other than your partner for three weeks and is at work from 7 am until 7 pm so you are alone everyday. Attempts to go downstairs are risky as you are dizzy and they induce 30 minutes of violent retching and vomiting anyway. You're 8 weeks pregnant with a baby you tried for 11 months to conceive. You've lost 2 stone in weight. You're scared for your baby but also yourself... you feel like you are dying. Because without the IV fluids you'll be admitted for tomorrow and the medication which will only just control it if you lie very still, you could actually die from this. But those medications are scary and when you sleep you have nightmares about deformities because friends and relatives keep questioning their safety and if you should be taking them.
You know at best you have at least another four weeks of this because everyone says you'll be better at 12 weeks. But in reality you have another four months of it at this severity and probably another 7 months of throwing up two or three times a day and constant nausea which makes leaving the house difficult. You're worried you'll lose your job and don't know how you'll pay your mortgage, you know your partner is worried too.
On top of all that you feel guilty because you aren't enjoying it and have horrid thoughts about miscarriage or terminating your precious baby. You feel guilty because you know you best friend is going through IVF and would swap places with you in the blink of an eye. And you feel angry because NO ONE understands how ill you feel... it's not just that they don't understand, they don't even attempt to.
But you know what... you're right, we are just selfish moaners who should just suck up the nausea, nibble some ginger biscuits and get on with it. And God forbid we should use our social networking sites to reach out to ourfriends in a time of desperate need. How dare we moan about this beautiful, precious and enjoyable process which is literally killing us. How dare we not enjoy the pain and suffering for our children (by the way, do you know how painful it is to spew up acid along an oesophagus with cuts and tears all the way up it? Do you know how painful a torn stomach muscle is?). How dare we ruin someone else’s day by talking about the downside of pregnancy.
Do you know what I hate? People that are so damn arrogant that they think they know what everyone else in the world experiences and are so stupid that they believe everything they read in pregnancy books about the glowing and blooming and people that think they know better than doctors because the cure for hyperemesis is ginger and positive thinking. Those people need to grow up and realise that pregnancy is not all happy and light for everyone and that their friend needs support and understanding and sympathy and kindness to survive this life threatening condition.
But if it's already too late for that, then to those people remember this - sometime in the future when you are suffering some horrible, debilitating, miserable condition that leaves you housebound, in pain, lonely and scared. Then, when the one person that visits you is the friend that suffered hyperemesis, and she comes round and tidies up and keeps you company and gets some supplies in and helps with the kids. And she texts you each day, defends you publicly and advocates for you, When she sympathises with you and doesn't question your suffering or add to your guilt or make you feel inadequate or useless or selfish... Don't forget to say “I'm sorry”.